Posted on: 5 March 2015
You love driving, but you've hesitated to pursue a truck driving career because you don't want to be away from home much of the time. You know it can take a while before you work your way up to the shorter-haul dedicated runs in a trucking company. Consider getting your commercial driver's license (CDL) and becoming a dump truck driver. These jobs are local, and although you'll put in long hours when the weather is cooperative, you can expect to be home every night.
Where Do These Drivers Work?
Quarries & Construction Sites
Dump truck drivers are essential in the construction industry, as they haul fill from quarries and other sites to construction work sites. They also haul dirt away from excavated sites. Some drivers haul materials such as gravel and sand from one area of a quarry to another area where the materials are loaded onto other vehicles.
You might work directly for an excavating or a construction company, or a business that specializes in hauling and has contracts with numerous organizations.
Road Paving Sites
Asphalt companies need drivers to haul hot mix to new roads and to old roads that are being repaved. You would drive to the site and slowly unload hot asphalt into smaller equipment operated by technicians who do the actual road paving.
Some drivers haul coal from mining sites to places where they unload the coal to be transported to power plants. You might bring the coal to a rail yard or to a shipyard at a nearby port, for example.
All Around The Town
If you live in a place that gets substantial snowfall, you might find yourself hauling snow after big snowstorms. Your employer may have a contract with municipalities to remove snow from alongside city streets after plows have moved it there. Business owners need snow removed from their parking lots as well, as the piles of plowed snow take up spaces.
Your company also may have a contract with municipalities to bring in salt and sand for ice management. Some contract with townships to apply sand or sand-salt mixes to rural roadways.
What License Do You Need?
Most of these jobs require a Class B CDL. You need a Class A CDL if you'll be driving a semi cab with a dump trailer. To obtain either license, you must pass a written exam and a road test administered by the state. You can complete your training at a CDL driving school, but many companies train new dump truck drivers on the job. Your best option is to eventually obtain the Class A license so you're qualified for more opportunities. Acquiring this license involves more extensive training.
There are several styles of dump trucks, so learning how to drive one model doesn't automatically qualify you to drive a different type. You can expect to need further training as your career progresses.
Dump truck drivers typically are paid hourly. The median wage as of December 2014 was $15 per hour, or about $31,000 per year for drivers working a standard year-round full-time shift. Keep in mind that dump truck drivers often work substantial overtime hours, leading to higher pay rates.
In many northern parts of the country, the work is seasonal and you'd put in most of your time when there's no snow on the ground. Even drivers working in snow removal usually don't get full-time hours during the winter.
What Can You Do Now?
Start looking through online job listings for dump truck drivers and learn which companies offer free training or paid training. Not all organizations advertise for drivers; don't hesitate to call sand and gravel companies, excavating companies and other places to ask whether they are hiring and whether they provide training.
As you're out and about, take note of the names of companies you see on the sides of dump truck cabs so you can look them up and call. Some temporary employment agencies hire dump truck drivers for CDL jobs as well, especially during the busiest times of year for construction projects. Take your first steps toward a new driving career that pays well and allows you to be home every night.Share