Buying my first dump truck

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by queen of spades, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. queen of spades

    queen of spades LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    Okay - I'm over being outbid by folks with dump trucks. I've lost a few jobs lately because I have to bill extra for subcontracting dump loads.

    I need a smaller sized truck with a lower bed, something I can put dirt in with a bucket height of around 5-6'. Also, I need something that I can drive without a CDL. What brands & models should I look for?
  2. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    GM (Chevy or GMC don't matter) 3500hd with an 8 foot dump body on it. 2-3 yarder. It is small enough to be a "normal truck", not require a cdl, fit into most residential situations with ease, and generally has a low purchase cost whether new or used. Good all around light landscaping truck. Ford 350 will do, but I'm a GM guy so thats why I suggested it.
  3. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,095

    What are you going to be hauling? Those 3500's and F350's are decent but the legal payload on those trucks isn't very much. My suggestion would be either an F450 or the older F Superduty (15000 GVW). The Isuzu NPR HD has a 14500 GVW and can legally haul about 5000 lbs depending on the body you install! With those 1 ton trucks, usually 1 ton to 1.5 tons is legally maxed out. That might allow for 4 yards of wet mulch in the spring. (800 or so lbs per yard somewhat damp during spring.) I don't know about the size jobs your doing but I know for me a 4 yard capacity is nothing. Heck, I can legally haul 5 yards on my 16" trailer and another 2.5 in the truck bed.
  4. queen of spades

    queen of spades LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    J&R -- these sound nice, but I am not in a position to buy new/newer model trucks yet. I need to find something with a few knocks & dings to stay in budget. Most of the ones I saw on Craigslist like I could afford were at least 20 years old. That's the kind of truck I am looking at. All of them looked very tall though.. need something a little shorter so my tractor and a RC-30 can dump in them.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    I second this advice.
  6. tnmtn

    tnmtn LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NE Tn.
    Messages: 1,022

    i imagine you have already thought about dump trailers. if so i would look toward a used isuzu.
    good luck,
  7. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    I had your problem a few years ago.

    I looked around real hard and ended up with a 2 wheel drive, F350 with a small dump bed (7.3 powerstroke diesel, auto with 15000 miles on it). The secret is to find one with a landscapers body (fold down sides). They are hard to come by, but worth every dime when you get one.

    Loading it with a small bobcat (or your RC 30) is no problem. Deck height is about 3 ft and because both sides fold down, load from either side.

    Its also outstanding for hoeing off dirt or mulch when you can drive right next to the wheelbarrowing. It's limited as stated to about 1- 1/2 yds of dirt. But, when removing shrubs, or doing cleanups, its the balls.

    I'm in Mass so we have the new DOT inspection....word of caution....look real hard at used stuff because it might cost you more to get it thru inspection than it costs to buy the thing. Lot of rules now!

    If you can get a bigger truck do so--- its nothing to overload a one ton.
  8. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    In my 3500HD with an 8 foot mason dump body on it I can haul 5 yards of mulch with ease. The weight of that really isn't that bad at all. I'm having a local truck equipment place raise my sides up 2.5-3 feet with larger board gussets. That way I think I could fit 8 yards or so in there.. Right now, for me, that is plenty of capacity. Of course there has been times that I have wished I bought a larger truck, there have been just as many times that I have found a smaller truck to have more advantages for my application. Someday I will upgrade to a larger truck. Think about it though, how many multi truck landscaping companies do you see around without atleast one 1 ton dump in their fleet?? Not to many around here at least. They are very versatile for the average landscaping/property maintenance company.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  9. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,095

    I'm not arguing about capacity of the truck. Yes 5-8 yards will fit in a 3500 truck no problem but you won't be able to carry the load legally! Those GM 3500's have a 1100 to 12500 gvw on them. When you put the body on the truck, your pretty close to 9,000 lbs empty. No driver no cargo but a full tank of gas. That leaves 3000 lbs for cargo. Sure 8 yards capacity of mulch or dirt would fit but 8 yards of mulch is well over 3000 lbs. Lets not forget, when you load or over load the truck (not saying you do!) good luck stopping. That truck has 1 ton suspension on it for carrying the smaller loads. The brakes are designed in a similar way for a similar weight.

    I'd hate to think of how 6 yards of wet mulch or 4 yards of topsoil would affect your ability to stop that truck quick in an emergency! Not to mention hills and such espically if its wet out and your loaded and possibly pulling a trailer... Not saying it can't be done but you'd surely be taking some risks.

    To the original poster,
    You should be able to find some of the cab over trucks used in fairly decent shape for smaller price tags. Even an older 88-90 F superduty for the price of $3500 or so. Good luck!!
  10. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    Oh, I'm not trying to aruge. Sry if I came off that way, wasn't my intent. Ya, it does get over loaded more often than not. I have found, weight wise, that I can fit 4 yards of loam, 3 yards of gravel pack, 3 yards of stone dust all very comfortably. I have been hauling 4 yards of salt over this last winter routinely and that is pushing it I know.

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