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I am wanting to start my own owner operated dump truck service. Here are some of my concerns to understand what I will be looking forward to to become successful.
How did you start out and keep work daily?
How did you bid on the jobs? Is there a formula you go by or you just talk to that company and discuss what they are offering?
If you contract through businesses did they take out taxes or is that something I will have to track?
What is best to label your company under for instance, LLP, LLC, sole Proprietor, etc?
Any advice or web sites I can go that will give me some more direction will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.
 

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I don't know about all the the other stuff but but a couple guys I know haul asphalt for lane they keep the truck busy all year doing that another guy I know hauls dirty dirt . I would go around before you start and shake hands and see if anyone is looking for a truck to hire. Get a feeling for the work load around you. Just my two cents . I know up here is tough with all the fees and bull but some guys make it work.
 

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Got a stone quarry around, don't think it's the best pay but could be steady work until you can make more contacts. Maybe contact some other trucking companies in the area they may give you some work if they run out of trucks of there own and a customer needs more. They will take a few bucks off the top of your hourly rate, but could keep you busy and help get your name out.

Find a small business that doesn't have many trucks but hauls a lot of material. We've got a tri and single axle but we sub pretty much 100% of our material hauling to local trucking companies. We've had 6-8 trucks running everyday for what seems like a month or so. If you can find someone that want to use you my advise is be there 5-10 minutes early every time. Don't just sit in the truck all day if you aren't driving, get out and lend a hand even if just something small. It goes a long way! And don't run over chit on site: grade stakes, water valves, forms, etc.

Do you have excavation equipment? If not I would stick to the truck until you get established. Not sure if you will bid much, trucking is usually by the hour in my area anyway. Figure your rate and let people know how much. Guess you could bid by the load but I don't see it much.

You keep track of all your own tax info: expenses, revenue, insurance, fees, etc. check with an accountant to see if you would charge sales tax. I've seen it both ways, not much but someone charged me sales tax at one point.

Good luck!
 

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And don't run over chit on site: grade stakes, water valves, forms, etc.

It's pretty tough to get off a GC's chit list once you run over something important.

Contact your local GC's also, let them know you will give them a reasonable rate for small loads. Around here there is quite a bit of bidding for trucking. I pay per ton delivered (assuming full loads), not per hour.

To bid, you need to figure out your desired hourly rate including FUEL, and work backwards from that. An example:

1. Your desired rate is $100/hr.
2. Round trip is 60min.
3. Rock costs you 10/ton
4. Your truck takes 20/tons (I know it makes my math easier).

Your round trip is one hour, so you divide your rate by your tons = 5. So, you would need to charge $15/ton to make your $100/hr. If your round trip was 30min, you'd need $12.5/ton to make your rate.

Now you will need some contingency in there for traffic or delays at the yard so you'd want to be at 16 or 17 in my example.
 

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BTW, I've seen a lot of "busy" guys in the trucking/excavating industry go bankrupt. If you are busy, but your rates aren't accounting for fuel, wear and tear, new equipement, etc. you will be out of business before you know it.
 

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I would agree with the busy & bankrupt part of that. A friend of mine with 2 dump trucks went out of business just from breaking axles. He never figured in the costs associated with getting towed, finding a vendor that can sell him the parts on short notice, getting lines of credit, etc.

Then when he couldn't make payroll, he had to sell his trucks just to avoid a visit from the hitman.
 

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first and foremost....you need to know/acknowledge your limits, capabilities...then, you need to sit down with an accountant. you need to judge how your market is....how busy you can keep yourself...how many hours you can work in a years time.

worst thing you can do is worry about what the competition is charging. you need to know what it costs YOU to operate, what it takes to make YOU a profit. if your local market is all lowballing it, and you can't jump the numbers up where they need to be, why jump into it? you're better off w-2'n from them.

next, you get to trust your accountant. they will let you know if you're making money or not based on your time/costs involved, depreciation of your equipment, replacement costs of your equipment, etc.

did i say you need a good accountant? if like me, you know the ins/outs of we want to believe every facet of our business....but many times we fall flat on our face when it comes to the bookwork side.

i've seen posts by MANY contractors on this forum that are capable wearing both the business and the field caps. that is what success is all about.

i wish you well, i truly do....it's all about the fire in your belly. and knowing your costs...LOL
 
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