It all depends on what size dump truck you are looking at and how much weight you want to carry. To state one thing trailers are a pain in the azz if you plan on doing deliveries. A trailer is okay if you need to leave something on a site where you are filling it gradually.
Personally I would rather have a truck if you find a F-450 it will carry the most you really need for landscaping. A regular 1 ton is okay but you can't carry as much they are limited to 3000-4000lb payload.
A good dump trailer will run you 8-10 grand plus you need a good truck to pull it.
I have asked myself this question a couple of different times now and I am asking myself again now while I am considering some changes for next year.
What do you plan on hauling? How much product do you want to haul?
The problem with the truck is that you cannot haul too much weight, legally. Unless you go with a 450, 550, or Chevy 3500HD your legal load capacity is less than 2 tons for most 1 ton trucks. This may be fine if all you plan to haul is bark, clippings, debris, and leaves but for rocks, boulders, and topsoil this is not much.
Another perk with a dump trailer is that you can haul a skidsteer/tractor with it. This may or may not be important for you.
I will be using the trailer for everything from multch to dirt rock or whatever. The thing about the dump trailer is you can haul quite a bit and you dont have to pay the high insurance and license fees. you can also leave the trailer at a the customers house and they are not likely to complain. And like I said I am smal time so I'm trying to keep my cost down
I was planning on buying a dump trailer for my business. However, they just can't haul enough weight for me. I do 90% hardscapes. On most of my jobs i would have to make 4.5.6 trips to get enough stone to back fill my walls with a 14k gvw trailer. I realize that with the direction i am going with my company i am going to adventually bite the bullet and buy a 33k gvw single axle truck. I think every landscape co should have a big truck in the fleet.
If you want to haul enough weight you will need a trailer with a 12,000lb trailer like a Bri-mar deck over wheels model it weighs 3000lbs empty which leaves you with a 9000lb capacity. To pull a 12,000lb trailer you need a good truck so minimum dually 1 ton with good brakes and a good brake controller. If you want a dump trailer you really don't want a low profile one any loads you dump will be spread out way too much. You don't get much of dump angle so if you have a sticky load that doesn't want to come out you have to dig by hand which can be a little dangerous.
Like I said my preference is a dump truck as it can go anywhere if you live in a area like I do getting a trailer in and turned around on a jobsite is pretty much impossible to can't be done. The only trailers landscapers have is really light single axle utility trailers to haul lawm mowers. Contractors with bobcats and mini excavators unload the machine on the road side (public road) and drive the machine into the site. It could be 50 feet driveway to a mile long driveway.
Most of the landscapers have 1 ton dumps if they need larger amounts pay a excavation contractor 100 dollars for trucking and they will haul 12 yards of material to you. If you did get a trailer down some of these places I go even a 4x4 wouldn't pull a loaded trailer up the driveways it would do a 4 wheel spin. I have spun wheels with my 450 (2wd) with 7500lbs of gravel on the truck.
If your going to get a trailer with anything less than 10,000lb you might aswell buy a F-450 dump truck you can find 88-97 F-Superduty (450) anywhere. The F-450 is good for 6000lbs (legally) they can carry 8000lbs (illegally) which is enough for most landscapers if you need to haul more hire a bigger truck.
I don't know what your insurance costs for me its around 1200 dollars a year for me to insure my truck and I'am classed as a licensed trucking company. Most P/U trucks are not much cheaper they are around 800 dollars per year to license a trailer with a 10,000lb gvw and used for commercial use is 400 dollars a year.
If you have trailer heavier than a 10,000lb gvw you need a CDL you can drive a single axle dump any gvw up to 35,000lbs without a CDL. If you do pull a trailer on a regular basis you will be looking at replacing the brakes on the truck every 6 months the trailers brakes would be the same. The local guys with 12,000lb equipment trailers that carry skid steers and mini Xs are repairing their trailer brakes (electric) on a regular basis.
A dump trailer works out best for us. Don't have to insure an additional truck just an addition to the commericial vehicle coverage. Its Bri-mar 12k GVWR. Legally has a capacity of 4T. We haul everything from stone to mulch to leaves. Dual axle 102" width, 4" drop axles so we use it often to transport heavy equipment (i.e. TLB's and mini-skids). Maintenance is MUCH lower than a truck. No engine to maintain. Just grease the wheel bearings, change the hydro fluid and keep the battery charged.
Yes, dump truck would excel in deliveries, but we don't do many...if any, deliveries. We can get ten yards of mulch into it...most of our jobs are in the 6-8 range so one trip. I'm not sure if the mason dumps (assuming thats what you are referring to) can get more than 4, maybe five yards in them (????).
Yes, the dump trailer can be a pain to manuever to certain sites...but overall the thing kicks butt for us and makes us some serious mulla. We also like the fact its easy to load the wheelbarrels directly from the dump trailer. Opening the back gate and the trailer is on ~2' off the ground so getting in and out to shovel is easy. A dump truck you are much higher. Just personal opinion. Let me know if you have any specific questions. We've had it for 3..maybe its 4 years now...I can't remember...LOL.
Currently I have a 96 Freightliner FLD120 tandem axle dump with a 12 yd box and 54,000lb GVW. But it can be too big for some jobs, so I have been looking for a gooseneck grain hauler. Lots of little farmers around here have them, they are gooseneck trailers, beds are about 16' long, 5' sides, most have end dumps with electric release, hydro tilt bed, and 20,000lb GVW (tandem axle with duals). I am looking for one of these to come up for sale, I figure that it would be a good addition to my little fleet. THe GVW is high enough that it would legally be able to haul as much as a single axle dump (30-35K GVW), and with high sides of the bed I could put in 14-15 yds of landscape bark/chips.
Team yamaha- On smaller jobs i don't see how it will be easier to work with that big of a trailer. But maybe it will work for you.
In about a year i am going to buy a big truck. I am leaning towards a 33k single axle with a roll off body. However, i am not ruleing out a tadem. I just need to decide if having a bigger truck on the smaller jobs will make up for not having to make two trip to the quarry or the supply yard on almost every job. Its going to be a tuff decision. Either way i will be spending alot of money. I am planning/hoping i can swing a new truck. It may cost me alot, but when you consider how many years the truck will last, it ain't much per a year.
We own several trailers. 6 x 10 to 32ft 5th wheel. we have the trucks to pull them but always messing up the schedule with our work to unload a trailer or truck to hook up to dump to go haul the guys the skid, a load of dirt, or couple tons of rock. So this year I bought a used ford dump truck. Gas engine, new hoist, new bed, all under 5K. The things runs great down the road, empties great, but goes thru gas. So I guess it depends on all your needs but it serves us well, but with that there is more upkeep with the truck, inspections, insurance & lic cost are more.