How to Start a Dirt Hauling Business

by Shanika Chapman; Updated September 26, 2017
Dump truck unloading sand at construction site

A dirt hauling business uses heavy duty equipment to lift and haul dirt for residential clients and contractors. Equipment is costly, which is why many hauling companies maximize equipment use by offering additional services such as a tree and stump removal, mulch hauling, snow removal, digging, excavating, backfilling and general hauling of large items. Starting a dirt hauling business can be a costly endeavor, once you consider the cost of equipment, fuel and maintenance.

Create a detailed business plan that includes the cost of permits, training, equipment, fuel and marketing. Start-up costs may exceed $100,000. If you intend to get financing, you will need a business plan.

Get your commercial driver’s license by enrolling in a state-approved, CDL training course. Verify with your state as to whether you need any additional licenses to operate heavy machinery.

Obtain a dump truck license or permit from your local public works department, if necessary. Purchase business insurance and obtain a business permit and federal tax ID.

Purchase a steel dump truck with a large enough payload to make it worthwhile for you to haul. Trucks with smaller payloads will be cheaper; however, fuel costs may not be significantly cheaper. It may be more financially advantageous to operate a dump truck with a 10-ton load, versus a 4-ton load, for example, depending on the type of work you will do. For hauling, invest in a bulldozer and any special attachments. Other tools you may need include sledge hammers, push brooms, shovels, a cargo net, safety gear and dust masks. Perform regular maintenance checks on your equipment.

Get your Department of Transportation number and fuel tax sticker for your dump truck from your state’s department of transportation.

Set a price list that will allow you to maintain a profitable business, charging either by cubic yard or by load. Contact other hauling companies in your area to get quotes.

Get clients. Create business cards for your hauling business and leave them with contractors, local supply yards, landscaping companies, lumberyards, septic tank companies, pool companies and equipment rental companies. Be persistent and follow up with each business in a few weeks.

Tips

  • Work when weather is good. Rain can put your business on halt.

About the Author

Shanika Chapman has been writing business-related articles since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in social science from the University of Maryland University College. Chapman also served for four years in the Air Force and has run a successful business since 2008.

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