Pros and Cons of a Dump Truck Driver Job (with Examples)
Updated 23 March 2023
The transportation industry provides a range of jobs that have their own advantages and limitations, which may vary between individuals. While having a job as a dump truck driver can be fulfilling, it's wise to consider the possible cons when contemplating applying for the role. Knowing the main pros and cons can help you decide whether it's the right career path for you. In this article, we explain the pros and cons of the position, define what a dump truck driver does and note the average salary.
The pros and cons of a dump truck driver
Working as a dump truck driver comes with a range of responsibilities and work conditions that may affect your job satisfaction and professional growth. These are important factors to consider when deciding if this is the right career path for you. Here are the main pros and cons of a dump truck driver position:
For those who enjoy driving, a role as a dump truck driver may be rewarding. Listed below are the additional positive aspects of the job that you may experience when working as a dump truck driver:
Quick training time
Compared to other jobs in the transportation industry, the training time to become a dump truck driver is relatively short. This may allow you to develop your skill set and start earning a wage more quickly. To gain a licence to legally drive a dump truck, you may require the heavy rigid qualification as part of the Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment.
You can apply for the heavy rigid qualification after holding a standard driving licence for a minimum of two years, so long as you incur no points or violate road safety requirements.
Ability to build experience with transferable skills
As a dump truck driver, you may gain valuable technical skills in handling machinery and specialised equipment, which can be transferable to other careers within the transportation industry. As many transportation careers interconnect, you may gain opportunities for career growth, particularly if you have a good understanding of applicable health and safety regulations.
Another benefit of this is that some construction companies may pay for your certification to operate technical machinery, enabling you to gain extra qualifications without spending your own money. This is because having more skills and abilities within your company's team can make for a more productive workforce on the job site. While performing your duties, you may also develop critical soft skills, including problem-solving, teamwork and time management, which may make you more desirable if you choose to apply for other positions across industries.
You have the opportunity to work with a variety of companies as a dump truck driver, including independent operators, materials-loading site associates, construction businesses, and agricultural firms. This provides you with ample opportunity to expand your network in the industry. As you make connections within the field, you may be able to discover new opportunities for career advancement and develop meaningful relationships with other industry experts.
By building your network, you can stay informed about the industry and find out about events, training and job openings. Effective networking not only enables you to develop soft skills, such as interpersonal and communication abilities, but it may also enable you to gain references when you apply for a new job.
You can expect to have a standard work week, with typical hours and daytime shifts, as a dump truck driver. While it depends on the company you work for, most dump truck drivers work five days a week. You may find this regulated work week favourable compared to other less standardised jobs in the transportation industry, such as road truckers, who often leave on multi-day trips.
If your company or a job site requires you to work weekend shifts or overtime during the holiday season, the company often plans this in advance so that you can prepare for the new shift pattern. This may allow you to have more freedom in your personal life in comparison to other types of truckers.
As with any job, there may be some negative aspects of the role that may affect your job satisfaction, depending on your preferred working style. The possible negative characteristics of working as a dump truck driver may include:
You may find the duties of a dump truck driver to be repetitive, as you often make trips along the same routes several times a day. The routine of a typical dump truck driver is to drive to their materials pick-up location, wait in line, pick up the materials, drive back, dump the materials at the dump site and repeat the cycle. Dump truck driving may seem mundane to some individuals compared to an open-road driver's variety of scenery or driving routes.
You may be able to combat this repetitive feeling while working as a dump truck driver by varying your driving route if it's possible to do so. You can also try getting some more fresh air outside your truck and stretching your body throughout the day to break up the shift.
Influenced by economy
As dump truck drivers often work in construction, you may see an increase or decrease in demand for work based on how the economy fluctuates. During economic downturns, you may see less demand for work, while a strong national economy is likely to lead to more activity in the construction industry. This may influence your salary or cause you to work fewer hours during certain weeks, though this depends on your employer.
If you have a commercial driver's licence as a dump truck driver, consider switching to another type of trucking during off-seasons or recessions. This can help to keep you working during slower periods.
As a dump truck driver, you may work alone for most of your shifts, as the position typically only requires one person. While this could be the ideal way to work for some individuals, you may find the solitary time to be lonely or unfulfilling. The hours during the week may also be long and repetitive, which can increase feelings of loneliness or boredom.
With not much human interaction and a lot of solo driving during some of your shifts, you may overcome any loneliness by listening to podcasts, radio stations or audio books. If you feel that this solitude may affect your job satisfaction, you can also consider discussing options for a colleague with your manager.
Seasonal and weather-affected business
Working as a dump truck driver may be a seasonal job, depending on where you live. Some construction companies, for example, prefer to conduct their business in autumn, spring or winter to avoid excessive heat. This can affect how much you work per season, which may influence your salary and working hours.
As a dump truck driver, you may also face a variety of weather conditions, including extreme heat or rain, requiring you to operate and drive safely in muddy or dusty environments. Your job site may close temporarily for high winds, floods or severe storms depending on the weather in your area. It's crucial that you're aware of these working conditions and that you are able to dress appropriately for the seasonal conditions.
What does a dump truck driver do?
Dump truck drivers transport materials or waste products from one location to another, usually in the construction or agricultural industries. If you work in this profession, you're likely to haul loose materials such as dirt, gravel, rock and mulch, in a medium to large-size vehicle. You are primarily responsible for operating the driver controls for the safe and efficient transportation of the materials to a dump site.
How much does a dump truck driver make?
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
The average national salary for a dump truck driver is $44.32 per hour, though your individual salary may depend on the responsibilities or number of hours that you complete. Your specific employer may affect your average income rate as well.
Your regional location could also influence the average income you receive because of possible differences in living costs. You can find the average salary for a dump truck driver per city here:
Kalgoorlie WA: $55.71 per hour
Perth WA: $49.94 per hour
Pilbara WA: $47.95 per hour
Mackay QLD: $47.68 per hour
Port Hedland WA: $47.30 per hour
Coober Pedy SA: $46.89 per hour
Hunter Valley NSW: $46.64 per hour
Muswellbrook NSW: $46.27 per hour
Explore more articles
- What Does a Learning Designer Do? And How to Become One
- 20 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Well
- 10 Types of Volunteer Work: Examples and Definitions
- What Does a Performance Manager Do? (With Duties and Skills)
- 20 Tips on How To Earn Money From Home
- Top 8 Types of Careers in Politics (With Steps and FAQs)
- What Does a Lead Educator Do? (And How to Become One)
- What Does a Support Worker Do? (With Definition and Salary)
- What Does a Boilermaker Do? (With Salary and Path)
- How to Follow Up on a Job Application (With Examples)
- 10 Job Options for Grey Nomads to Consider
- Medical Administrator Responsibilities and Requirements