Many people, both men and women, were fascinated with construction equipment as children. I well remember playing with sturdy miniature dump trucks, loading them with dirt and even toy cars and pretending I was a dump truck driver. Most of us go on to other things but a select group goes on from pretending to actually becoming a successful dump truck driver. You’ll find all types of people behind the wheels of dump trucks—students working their way through college, professional drivers, construction site supervisors and even the heads of companies.
Depending on the job you might have to load and unload by hand or use heavy equipment to load the materials into the truck. On other job sites your truck might be loaded by a backhoe or other equipment. Dump truck drivers haul everything from garbage to construction material to earth and rocks.
A driver can start his or her own company and bid for dump truck driving jobs as an independent contractor, work for a construction company or be an employee of local or state governments. Free lancing or having your own company means you have to pursue contracts and network with others in the construction industry and other industries that need the services of a dump truck.
You can get training in a vocational school or be an apprentice to learn how to drive a dump truck. Most states require that you have a CDL and a clean driving record. All new dump truck drivers have to go through a period of on the job training. As a trainee you’ll ride with a qualified dump truck driver and watch what he does. You will learn the pre-operation checklist such as making sure your load is secure and fluid levels are where they should be. You’ll become familiar with standard safety practice, learn to load materials evenly and put on a tarp where they are required. At the dump site you have to check for power lines, obstructions and hazards before dumping your load.
Trainees usually have to attend classroom instruction too, and spend an equal amount of hours in on the job training. Trainees are usually tasked with coordinating and mapping out deliveries, making sure the truck has ample clearance on overpasses, doesn’t go over the weight limit on the roads used and watch for construction detours and other obstacles to the trip.
When you get to the dump site you have to look for dangers to both the driver and the load. Even if you’re familiar with the site you have to do this every time. Check overhead lines and the height of your load so you don’t have a mishap. Drivers and bystanders have been killed or injured because dump trucks ran into power lines. Know where the sidewalks, drainage lines and other fragile things are so you can avoid them.
A dump truck driver can earn $29,000-$42,000 per year depending on the type of industry they settle into. If you can drive other heavy machinery you’ll find it easier to get hired. Remember that the more you know and can do, the more options you’ll have in your career. Dump truck driving jobs are not the easiest in the world to find, but qualified applicants will never have too much trouble finding work.