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Which type of dump to buy

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Kelch'sLawn&Landscape, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Kelch'sLawn&Landscape

    Kelch'sLawn&Landscape LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 9

    Hello I have been browsing this site for awhile now and i cant say how much it has helped me. Anyways.. I currently own a lawn care company and i do minor landscaping as well (moslty mulch beds) and i am looking into buying a skidsteer (bobcat) mini escavator and dump and offer those services along with my normal landscaping. Question is what kind of dump truck would be most efficient for my (mini) services? would i be stuck making tonnes of trips with a 3500 with dump body or should i look into a tandem axle?? what do you's reccomend?

    Also for just starting out what equiptment would you buy first? bobcat, dump then mini exc. ? :help: :help: :help:
  2. Kelch'sLawn&Landscape

    Kelch'sLawn&Landscape LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 9

    Just another idea.. what about a dump trailer? im looking on ebay at some 16x7 HD dump trailers and they could also haul a bobcat...
  3. Dodgemania

    Dodgemania LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    Are you talking about 3500 dually when you say tandem or are you meaning a dump truck.
    What your wanting to do that's what I'm doing the grading, digging footers, and backfills. If I had my 3500 dodge and put a dump bed on it it would be useless. By the time you put the dump bed on there you can't haul anything. In 04 I bought a brand new 03 dodge 3500 dually to pull the skidsteer, rake, and excavator. Not all at once but you get the idea. Nice truck wouldn't trade it for anything but it's just not enough truck to do the hauling of dirt or material. If I had it to do all over again I would of bought an F-750 with the dump and then I could of made money on it. With the one ton all I use it for is to haul the skidsteer. This year I've been staying extremely busy and do mostly finish grades. When you do those you've got to bring alot of topsoil. There's a guy i've been using to bring the dirt and I pay him an average of 1200 a week. That's not total profit for him but alot of it is. That could be money I could be making.
    I guess all your going to do is haul a little bit of mulch and that's it the 3500 will work. But for anything more you need more truck. I'm finding out the hard way.
    I'm on a rough and finish grade right now that the customer is paying for 25 loads of dirt, half topsoil half fill. That's more money I'm losing. He's charging 150 a load.
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    There is no big money in owning your own tandem axle if you are going to stay small stick with smaller trucks like a F-450. A single axle 5 ton is pretty much a money looser you can't haul enough and it costs you about the same as a tandem.

    A F-450 with a 2.5 yard dump body is big enough if your just dealing with skidsteers and mini excavators. If you need large amounts of mulch have it delivered because its cheaper for you. In actuality trucks don't make you money especially single and tandem axles.

    A F-450 will pack 6000lbs up to 8000lbs illegally I know I have hauled 9000lbs on my 450.

    A regular 1 ton truck with 11,000lb gvw isn't big enough they are only good for 3500-4000lb payload with 5000lbs being max. A F-550 dump is good for 8000lbs legally I know they can haul 10,000lbs have had 11,000lbs on one.

    A tandem axle here gets 65 dollars per hour I charge my F-450 out at 40 dollars per hour. My F-450 is cheap to repair a set of 6 tires is under 1500 dollars a set of 8 drive tires for a tandem is 2600 dollars a pair of steer tires another 1000 dollars. Drive tires on a tandem last about a year a set of steers about 6 months depending on conditions.

    Insurance for a tandem is 400-500 per month insurance for my truck is around 90 dollars a month. My truck gets 12mpg a tandem gets 4 mpg depending on the day it may only cost me 40 dollars in fuel compared to over 200 for a tandem.

    Are you mechanically inclined and have a shop to work on a tandem axle do the brakes, change tires do the oil changes etc ?

    To sum it up excavators and bobcats make the money trucks are just for convience. If you have to pay a driver to drive the truck the truck looses even more money.

    A single axle 5 ton with your stupid CDL rule you have in the US wouldn't be much better off over a 450 or 550.
  5. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    You need a 33,000 GVW single axle dump, you can put about 6-7 yards in the box, that's sufficient for your needs. I'd advise against a dump trailer for your operation, we have one and are doing more and more dirt moving and it takes forever only taking 4 yards at a time, then having to get out of the truck, open the doors, and cycle the cylinder up and down. Also, if you have any electrical problems like we are experiencing right now with our dump trailer and the battery on the dump trailer doesn't charge like it's supposed to, you'll try to dump 4 yards of dirt and nothing happens, not fun. I must admit that right now we're having problems on the truck side of things, I think we've got a blown fuse that isn't allowing the hot lead of power throught the RV 7 plug to the trailer to charge the battery, so we have to charge a seperate battery and change them out during the day. All in all, spend the extra money and get a used dump truck. You could get a decent truck like I describe for about $20,000-$30,000 very easily.
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,151

    Over the past ten years I have had a fifth wheel dump trailer (Skag is exactly right), don't even waste your time if your serious about moving dirt. I then bought a 33K GVW single axle dump truck which I still own but don't use much and Gravel Rat is also very right. I have a 23 yard Circle R side dump, now that is how you move material. The best deal I can say (for me but I think you can follow the logic) is to just by a tandem axle dump truck. Gravel Rats point of the costs of running trucks is right on. It costs me as much to run my L-10 single axle as it does my L-10 tandem axle. The difference is another 6 yards of hauling capacity. Skags point of being able to haul 6 yards with a 33K single axle is true. However if your pulling a skid steer and trying to haul your 6 yards you are over and I mean way over. I bought my tandem from the IH dealer. It was a county truck in Utah. Very good shape 16' bed, 8LL and reasonable miles for $13,200. I could not have found more truck for less money. You don't need to spend 30K on a truck, actually I think it is foolish to spend that kind of money on a truck unless you move way more dirt than the average landscaper. I spent 40K on my side dump and tractor. Good luck
  7. grassmanvt

    grassmanvt LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 906

    I would say everyones comments so far are right on the money BUT, it sounds it me from you post that a one-ton might be all you need. You certainly don't need a tandem dump and all the other associated costs if you are mainly doing light landscape work and mulch, etc. Remember, if mulch capacity is one of your big issues, since mulch weighs relatively nothing a set of tall sideboards works wonders, 5-7 yards not out of the question. If you are moving a couple hundred yards of soil a day, then by all means buy a big tandem dump but, as mentioned earlier, a big dump is usually more of a convenience than a money maker. Around here, 45 an hour will get you a tandem dump, I can usually charge that out on a one ton, and have run 65 in some cases. Its all about knowing what your needs are, do your homework.
  8. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    With the price of fuel getting higher and higher trucks bigger than a 1 ton are not making much money. I work for a excavation contractor and he says his trucks are just for his convience they don't make the money. The excavators on the jobsites make the money.

    I was going to buy a tandem last year but after working for the contractor I'am with now forget it the prices have gone up for everything like tires fuel etc. One thing to think about is if your hauling to one of your sites and you gash a drive tire on a rock and its junk theres 300 dollars down the toilet and the profits for the truck for the day.

    I put new (retreads) on one of the tandems one of the drivers working on the sites gashed a tire the money the truck made was gone in one poof :confused:

    I'am going back to a 1.5 ton (450) dump a older truck pre electronic crap and stick with doing the small jobs where the loads are in the 1-2 yard range.
  9. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    These guys are right about the big trucks being more for convenience for a smaller company. The trucking companies that keep a dump and pup moving 24/7 are making good money, because to make money with a big truck you have to keep it rolling. I used to drive dump and pup for a small company. I moved a lot of dirt with it, but the owner mostly had the truck because I could move any piece of equipment he owned with it, or run and pick up another 20 yards or gravel without having to wait to get it delivered. Without the convenience factor, I don't think the truck was profitable for him. The tonnage fee on it alone was $5000 a year.
  10. Kelch'sLawn&Landscape

    Kelch'sLawn&Landscape LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 9

    WOW what a nice response, Thank you ALL SO MUCH I have taken all into concideration and i think I'm going to go with a 3500 with dump body. Maybe when my company grows and i get bigger equiptment I'll apt for the bigger dump, but for now i think the 3500 will do..

    Another question. If I only haul mulch with it, would a nice goose neck dump trailer do? I figure I'll have to buy a trailer anyway so why not get a HD dumper that can haul the bobcat and mulch when needed.. I dont think I'll be hauling much dirt at all for the first few years.

    Thanks again for all your helpful responses!

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