Hauling dirt is a necessity for any construction site or large landscaping project. You can start a business hauling dirt, gravel and other materials by investing in a dump truck and possibly also an excavator, truck and trailer. Over time, you can scale your operation to include more equipment and employees. However, in the early stages of business development, you'll need to think about more than just your fleet.
Getting Started: Registration, Taxes and Banking
First, you need to register your business with your municipal government for tax purposes. Get the form from your local chamber of commerce and ask if there are additional permits required for a dump truck business in your area. Also keep in mind that a nominal processing fee is usually charged when registering a business.
Speaking of taxes, it's a good idea to hire a tax consultant right away to help you understand how to set aside the right amount of revenue and pay quarterly taxes. Because you operate commercial vehicles, you'll need to pay a fuel tax as well. A tax professional can guide you through everything you need to know and the kinds of records you need to keep.
Finally, don't forget to open a separate bank account devoted to your business finances.
Incorporate to Protect Your Personal Assets
You might start out as a one-person show with only a dump truck to your name. However, going solo doesn't mean you shouldn't officially incorporate your business into an LLC or other structure.
The benefit of incorporating your business lies in protecting your personal assets. If someone decides to sue after a dirt-dumping mishap, you get sued if you don't have an incorporated business. That means your personal assets are on the line. When you do incorporate your business, your business gets sued and its assets are in jeopardy.
Therefore, it's wise to set up an official structure for your business in case of any legal issues so that you only stand to lose your business and not your personal investments.
Get the Right Business Insurance
Owning a dirt-hauling business comes with plenty of advantages, but one of the main disadvantages is that it exposes you to potential liability concerns. It may seem like it will never happen to you, but one day, you might accidentally leave tire tracks in someone's lawn or crack their concrete driveway, and they'll expect you to pay for the damage.
Having suitable insurance means this "headache" doesn't have to turn into a full-blown "migraine." Talk to different insurance agents to get various quotes for your dirt-hauling operation.
Get a CDL for Hauling Dirt
Having a dirt-hauling business means driving dump trucks, and you'll need a commercial drivers' license, or CDL, to do so. Class B licenses cover basic dump trucks, but if you ever decide to expand to a tractor-trailer dump truck, you (or someone on your team) will need a Class A CDL. Attending a CDL class is not a requirement in all states, but it's highly recommended in order to ensure you pass all aspects of the exam.
As you expand your business and hire employees, don't forget to look for applicants who have the kind of CDL for which you're looking. A clean driving record also helps keep your business insurance rates reasonable.
Obtaining Funding for Your Business
Heavy machinery isn't cheap, but if you're in the dirt-hauling business, it's the backbone of your revenue stream. A bank loan will undoubtedly be the most accessible option, especially if you have good credit. Be sure to create a budget to understand how much money you need to make each month in order to make your loan payments and pay any employees.
After this initial business setup is complete, you can turn your attention to marketing your business and delivering great customer service while enjoying your time on the road and in the great outdoors.
- Work when weather is good. Rain can put your business on halt.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.