I figured out

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    I found out, the hard way, that if you don't have a dump truck, you aren't in the Pavestone installation business.

    Just to install a 250 sq ft patio at my house, with my little landscape trailer, I've already made the following trips:

    (5) trips to deliver the Pavers & Wall stones
    (8) trips to haul the soil to the city dump
    (7) trips to haul the crushed concrete to my house

    I still have to haul at least two trailers full of sand to my house too.

    So how much does a dump truck cost? Or can someone recommend a better solution?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Messages: 2,702

    I have a dumptruck, and I almost always pay for delivery. Just not worth the time.

    Now, in your case, this was for your own house, so I can see trying to save money. But, add up all those trips and you might even be paying MORE than having it delivered.

    Cost of a dump depends on how old and condition.
  3. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    Could have called a dump truck owner operator and saved a lot of trips. Was the soil any good? Maybe you could have given it away. Dirt haulers here are always busy. Dig a hole here, screen the dirt sell it to someone overthere and get paid both ways.
  4. Gilla Gorilla

    Gilla Gorilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    First off what size trailer were/ are you using and is a tandem axle trailer?

    Second I think that I will be purchasing a dump trailer in the spring or summer of next year. Probably a 7' X 14' with a 14,000 GVW so that should handle all of my needs for the next couple of seasons. The one down fall to a dump trailer is it will not fit in tight places like a dump truck will, but on the up side I will not have another vehicle to maintain ie: engine, trans and axles.

    I guess they both have their places in this industry you just have to figure out which will work better for you.
  5. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    I aggree with Green Monster. We have 2 Dump trucks and still it is more economical to have the bulk materials delivered. My stone supplier will generally deliver any block/paver purchase over $500 free, you can also piggy back other deliveries onto that. Knowing that, I will have the pavers/block delivered and also the 3/4 stone, and stone dust...all free as their trucks can load multiple products. The amount of trips you have taken you have spent well over any delivery fee you would have incurred..
  6. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    I bought a beat-up 1986 Chevy c-30 as my first truck when I started my business. I paid $5k in 1995. I thought at the time it was more than I needed, but it turned out to be a great move. The 1 ton dumps are versatile, you can use them for work, or to get around for estimates, etc if you need to.
    Go with what you can afford, it is worth it. Or, like everyone above said, pay for delivery.
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    I agree with everyone about the delivery for the materials.

    If you pay a dump truck to come get the soil, will they wait around for hours while you shovel the dirt from a pile into the truck? I can't imagine they would. This clay soil is a lot of hard work.

    If you had a bobcat, that would work ok, I suppose. But if all you have is shovels, I would think this idea would not work out very well.

    I'm beginning to see there is a pretty substantial barrier to entry for the paver business. And that's a good thing if you're in the business. Maybe I should consider changing my focus from maintenance to paver/wall installations.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  8. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    With shovels it wouldn't work. I thought you had a tractor. A roll off conatiner would work but it would be hard to gauge the amount of weight you were putting into it. I have seen a few companies do this with grass clippings or palm fronds they want hauled away. Flat fees and driver doesn't wait. They come when you call them to pick it up.
  9. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    I saw the pics from your other thread. If you want to do patios and retaining walls profitably you need to become more efficient. Digging a patio/walkway by hand, hand loading the dump trailer, moving dirt by wheel barrel, fetching 15,000 lbs of material yourself, is very inefficient. The project you are doing, with the proper equipment and preparation, is a 1.5 - 2 day project (2 crew) at most.

    I started my company as a chemical company exclusively. We then branched out into maintenance, then added construction, and irrigation. When we needed equipment, we rented it. When I determined that we could actually save money by owning a piece of equipment, we purchased it. Now that the equipment is owned it is easier to sell jobs that require that equipment.

    Don't be afraid to rent equipment. You have been doing your patio for 4 days. To me that means you have lost 32 - 40 billable hours in the 2 "extra days" you have been shoveling and delivering. At $60 per hour your opportunity cost is $2400. You could have had material delivered for $75, if not for free.

    No they wouldn't. But Nations Rent does rent dump trucks or a friend in the industry may have a truck you can borrow.
  10. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I use roll off containers whenever I can. If I get a 20 yd. container, I am able to fill it to the top (with soil), so you don't have to gauge anything. I say whenever I can because it's not always possible to drop one on a job.

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