January 25

The Uses of Dump Trucks


Last Updated on April 18, 2022

There are many uses of dump trucks. In order to understand them all, first we have to be able to point out a dump truck. So what is it? A dump truck is any truck equipped with a dump bed and the power and components to tilt the bed. A dump body is a tub-shaped construction designed for hauling loose items and dumping them. These items are usually discarded out the rear side of the truck.

Hauling is the primary function of dump trucks. That’s how they get their value. They haul loose, and often abrasive material, such as aggregate-sized to boulder-sized rocks, sand, dirt, and demolition debris. Dump trucks get used in mining, quarry, excavation, earthmoving, roadwork, and demolition applications. 

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 in the largest mines. Articulated dump trucks (ADTs) have a carrying capacity of 10-60 tons, as do underground articulated dump trucks (UADTs), which are also called a low-profile ADT.

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. Most commercial truck manufacturers offer their own dump bodies. So 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 two tons on the smaller pickups to 22 tons on the larger commercial trucks.

Yellow and black articulated dump truck

The Uses of Dump Trucks

As mentioned, the uses of dump trucks expands more than just one area of operation. Here are some job sites where you’ll find dump trucks:

  • Underground mines and tunnels

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

  • Open pit mines and quarries

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

  • Excavation

Sometimes gigantic swaths of earth need to be removed before something can be constructed. In this application, a dump truck pulls up to an excavator and the excavator loads the truck bed with earth. The dump bed is filled within four to six passes of the excavator bucket. Then the truck goes to its destination, dumps its load, and returns to the excavator to repeat the process. While the truck was driving to the dump site, one or more other dump trucks have been loaded by the excavator and were repeating the same cycle.

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  • Earthmoving

Earthmoving is similar to excavation except excavation has the sole purpose of removing earth. On the other hand, earthmoving is a more general term that includes excavation but also contouring the landscape.

  • Landscaping

Dump trucks deliver and place dirt, mulch, decorative stones, and other landscaping material. 

  • Roadwork 

Dump trucks often bring the rocks that get placed below a new road or highway construction. They crudely lay the rocks in place before the paver forms the top layer.   

  • Construction

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

  • Demolition

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. Also, they travel at highway speed so you can remove the debris quickly and be ready for the next task.  

  • Snow removal

In parking lots especially, a dump truck can be filled with snow and then haul the material off property. This saves the property owner or manager from dealing with large snow banks or the ice that forms when the snow melts and freezes again.

Now that you know a bit more about dump truck applications, here are 3 steps to making money with a dump truck.

Blue standard dump truck

3 Steps to Making Use of Dump Trucks

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). And you will most likely work for a company who hires you to operate the dump truck instead of working as an owner-operator. However, the number of companies for which you can work opens up. You can work for a truck fleet company, a construction company, a demolition company, an excavation/earthmoving company, or a quarry. 

Another 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.

Get Hired

Dump trucks haul items from one place to another. That’s how they get their value. Therefore, hauling items for people is how you make money with them. 

There are very few dump truck owner operators. Dump trucks, especially ones that work on mines, cost millions of dollars. You can’t earn that money back on an hourly rate. In order to make money with dump trucks designed for mines and quarries, you will need to be hired as an operator at a mine or a quarry after getting the appropriate driver’s license and any other qualifications set out by the quarry. 

Convert your Pickup

If you want to convert your pickup into a dump truck, you enhance its capability while also limiting its potential. For example, although you can put tools and equipment in the dump bed, you can’t fasten them and they’re going to move around. And, carrying rocks or dirt will limit how much weight the truck can trailer. 

However, with a dump bed, you can make money by working for landscapers who need dirt delivered and metered out, or even deliver landscape stones. Being able to dump large stones out of your truck bed is a lot easier than pushing them out. 

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. 

In addition, you can provide snow removal services (in conjunction with a loader) to commercial customers and municipalities. 

Dump truck cargo

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 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 a full-fledged business.


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