July 31

The Different Ways Dump Trucks Get Used Today

Last Updated on September 7, 2023

While there are several variations of this vehicle, what exactly are the different uses of dump trucks? That’s a perfect question to consider if you’re looking to break into the industry as an entrepreneur or as part of a company. But in order to to find an answer, you first have to understand what makes a dump truck. Let’s talk about that and the different ways dump trucks get used today.

What is a Dump Truck?

A dump truck is any truck equipped with a dump bed and the power and components to tilt the bed. These vehicles have a tub-shaped construction designed for hauling loose items and depositing them, a part called the dump body. These items are usually discarded out the rear side of the vehicle.

Hauling is the primary function of dump trucks and oftentimes involves abrasive material, such as aggregate-sized to boulder-sized rocks, sand, dirt, and demolition debris. However, dump trucks can also carry more mundane items, like worn-out furniture or sharp objects. They even get used to carry salt. Moreover, dump trucks are known for their work in the construction industry, but dump truck uses extend to mining, excavation, roadwork, and demolition applications as well. 

Dump Truck History

Historically, dump trucks as we understand them today first appeared in the late nineteenth century. John Issac Thornycroft developed what was called a steam dust cart and sold them for use on farms in Europe. This machine, also called a tipper truck, was able to raise and deposit its content, ultimately leading to the more modernized standard dump truck we see today. Our present day machines are equipped with hydraulics and can empty contents multiple ways, not just a rear-end dump.

Dump Truck Types

There are three types of dedicated dump trucks, and all of them are strictly off-road vehicles. Rigid haul trucks (RHTs) carry loads weighing hundreds of tons and get employed at the largest mines. Articulated dump trucks (ADTs) have a carrying capacity of 10-60 tons. Likewise, underground articulated dump trucks (UADTs), which are also called low-profile ADTs, have a similar payload capacity.

However, any on-road truck from the largest commercial class size down to your pickup can be equipped with a dump body, thereby converting it into a dump truck. Since most commercial truck manufacturers offer their own dump bodies, you can order a truck with a dump body or find one on the lot at your local dealership. Carrying capacities for these vehicles range from 2 tons on the smaller pickups to 22 tons on the larger commercial trucks.

Dump Truck Types infographic

Dump Truck Uses

From renovation projects to simple material transportation, here are some job sites where you’ll find dump trucks in action:

The Uses of Dump Trucks infographic

Underground mines and tunnels

Underground dump trucks are used to transfer blasted debris away from blast or drill sites. When they move excavated material from a site to a designated dump area, the dump area is usually aboveground where it gets processed by a crusher.

Open pit mines and quarries

At an open pit mine or quarry, RHTs and ADTs perform the same tasks as the underground dump trucks, but do so completely aboveground. Either an excavator or a wheel loader bundles the material into the dump truck and the dump truck discards it into a pile. 

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Sometimes gigantic swaths of earth need to be removed from construction sites before building can take place. In this application, a dump truck pulls up to an excavator and the excavator loads the truck bed with loose material. The dump bed gets filled within four to six passes of the excavator’s bucket. Afterwards, the dump truck goes to its destination, deposits the loose materials, and returns to the excavator to repeat the process.

While the initial truck was driving to the dump site, one or more other dump trucks get loaded by the excavator, repeating the cycle.


Earthmoving is similar to excavation except the latter has the sole purpose of removing land. Earthmoving is a more general term that includes excavation, but also contouring the landscape.


Dump trucks deliver and place dirt, mulch, decorative stones, and other landscaping material in residential and commercial areas. 


In this application, dump trucks bring rocks that get placed below new road or highway construction sites. They crudely lay the rocks in place before a paver forms the top layer.   


In construction applications, trucks are used to haul away debris and larger disposable items from worksites. 


Dump beds are ideal for large demolition debris. They are easy to fill using an excavator or loader and are built to withstand abrasive materials. Even better, they travel at highway speed so you can transport materials, remove them quickly, and be ready for the next task.  

Snow removal

In parking lots especially, a dump truck prove very useful during winter months. These vehicles get employed to haul excess snow off of property. This saves the property manager from dealing with large snow banks or the ice that forms when the snow melts and freezes again.

3 Steps to Starting a Dump Truck Business

With some knowledge on applications, you’re well on your way toward using your own dump truck to make an income. Here are 3 more steps to follow if you want to do just that.

3 Steps to Starting a Dump Truck Business infographic

Obtain a CDL

If you want to make money operating a commercial class size dump truck, you will need a CDL (commercial driver’s license). Starting out, you will most likely work for a company who hires you to operate the dump truck instead of you working as an owner-operator. However, the number of companies for which you can work is wide open. You can work for a truck fleet company, a construction company, a demolition company, an excavation/earthmoving company, or a quarry.

Convert your Pickup

If you want to convert your pickup into a dump truck, you can enhance its capability while also limiting its potential. For example, although you can put tools and equipment into the dump bed, you can’t fasten them and prevent them from moving around. Plus, carrying rocks or dirt will limit how much weight the truck can handle. Converting your pickup will require you understand how you intend to use and not use your vehicle.

However, with a dump bed, you can make money by working for landscapers who need dirt delivered and metered out, or even delivering landscape stones. Another way to make money is to provide construction or demolition debris removal for local contractors, or large-item removal for residential and commercial customers. And lastly, you can provide snow removal services (in conjunction with a loader) to commercial customers and municipalities. 

Start a Business

Since dump trucks get their value from hauling, that’s how you’ll be making money once hired or if you planning on running your own business. Though, if you fall into the latter category, one major reason dump trucks don’t make great owner-operator machines is because they can’t work alone. Dump trucks rely on another machine to fill their dump bed with material. Long haul trucks, backhoes, and snowplows can all work independent of other machines, so they make good owner-operator machines. Not dump trucks.

However, if you have access to the personnel and the machines, there are definitely affordable and worthwhile ways to get your business off the ground. When perusing heavy equipment, you can rent or lease, not buy. Or if you want to buy heavy equipment, you can find machines like dump trucks on sell at auctions. Purchasing from auctions means you can find items that are good quality and reasonably priced. Dump trucks, especially ones that work on mines, cost millions of dollars. You can’t earn that money back on an hourly rate.

In terms of money, by starting your own business you can expect to make between $85-130 per hour on average. With more experience and capability, you will be able to charge more.


What is a dump truck used for?

Dump trucks have several different uses, but in principle, these vehicles are used to haul material from one location to another. Examples of transported material includes sand, dirt, and rocks. However, they can also be used as snow clearing vehicles.

Can you make money with dump truck?

Making money with a dump truck is possible, whether you find employment through a landscaping business or onsite at a quarry. While hauling is the function of dump trucks, the areas where they get employed varies.

What is the use of rear dump truck?

The rear of the dump truck is used to deposit construction materials or debris. Oftentimes, the rear is raised to release the transported items.

Get Started Today

Hauling is the primary function of dump trucks and where they derive their value. Make the most of them by picking a worthwhile application and getting to work. If you’re looking to get started on making money with a dump truck, the most logical thing you’ll need in this process is in fact a dump truck. Start browsing and see which dump trucks match your needs and budget. With a truck in tow and a purpose for the vehicle, you’ll find yourself making what began as an idea into an income source, and perhaps with time, a full-fledged business.


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