Pulling Bottom Dump Trailers

by Jimmy

Ah, this land of ours. America, beautiful trees, rivers, oceans, mountains, cities, buildings, homes. A long time ago, we didn't have cities and buildings and homes. People, I'm talking a LONG time ago!

Now lets fast forward to the 21st century. Always building going on it seems. Roads, high rise hotels, residential homes, even mountains getting leveled so we can build on the level ground. To do this, we need heavy equipment. Earthmoving equipment and trucks. My favorite subject, trucks.

Trucks help build roads, deliver the materials to job sites for home building, are involved in any kind of construction. Excess dirt gets hauled away or extra needed dirt gets hauled in. The base under the asphalt gets hauled in as well as the asphalt itself, by truck. Bottom dump trucks or belly dumps. ( trucker slang ).

Bottom dumps can haul dirt, gravel, asphalt, rock, anything of that nature. But it must be able to fit thru the bottom opening when the driver unloads. Concrete is delivered by redi-mix trucks. You've seen the 3 axle drums/tubs type trucks bouncing down the highway. And they do bounce. They're grossing about 65,000 lbs on 3 axles. Can you say "hold on to my kidneys"? FYI, that is an hourly paid job.

Bottom dumps are normally "local" driving jobs, but you can go out of town for a job and stay in a motel while doing the job. Could be 1 week or long term. If long term, you would usually go home on the weekends. Most out of town jobs aren't too far away, but are far enough to make a daily commute impractical. I will also mention end dumps and super
dumps and transfers that can haul gravel etc.

Travel to and from the job site is not paid. Bottom dumps, end dumps etc can be paid by the hour, weight, or by the load/trip. Depends on the agreement with the contractor. Any money paid out by the contractor is paid to the truck. A company employee gets usually 25% of what the truck makes. You will work long days in dusty conditions in a kind of 'panic' mode. Contractors are always behind, it seems. You must remember, they 'bid' a job and are wanting to complete the job ahead of schedule in order to make money. Any unforseen problems mean less profit for the contractor. I don't think contractors live beyond 45 years old because of the stress.

You will pick up and/or deliver dirt from a job site. You get gravel, rock or asphalt from a quarry. You'll pull in to the quarry, get an empty weight, get loaded and then get a heavy weight and deliver the load. You have paperwork from the quarry proving how much weight you have and what product you have. Some quarries carry all kinds of rock products. Some may just specialize in one kind. Depends on their set/up. Asphalt is produced by mixing oil (hot) with gravel and some other stuff.

You make an OK living pulling bottom dumps, but I liked the sense of accomplishment when I would drive around the different areas and remember how I paved that road, or helped level that job site and did the dirtwork over in that housing project. One more thing, construction is seasonal. Rainy weather mans no work today and sometimes for the week. Jimmy

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