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Down in the dumps: Can you still make a decent living driving dump trucks?

Very few, if any, segments of the trucking industry have emerged unscathed from the recession of the past two years. But it seems dump truck operators are a particularly hard-hit bunch.
Gord Balford, an owner/operator in the Barrie, Ont.-area called me the other day to dicuss the sector’s many problems. He has sold his pup trailer and parked his Western Star gravel truck, because there are too many guys running their trucks for $70/hour and even major customers are exploiting the situation.
Making matters worse, he said companies are dragging their feet when it comes to paying drivers. He said one company just paid him just last week for work he did for them in August.
Balford said the final straw for him was when he bid what he felt was a reasonable rate on a job hauling wood shavings – but someone else came along with an end-dump and undercut his rate by a full 50%. That’s when he put his pup up for sale and parked his rig.
“This is how cutthroat it is and it’s getting worse,” he told me.
The obvious answer to the problem is that it’s simply a matter of supply and demand. Just like in the freight business, there are too many trucks chasing too little work. But wait a sec, what became of all the federal stimulus spending we were promised? I got the sense there’d be a new building going up on every corner, every mile of roadway would be getting an upgrade and gravel pits would be running low.
Instead we hear of rate wars, owner/operators selling their equipment and parking their trucks and companies that require their services taking months to pay up.
Ron Singer is the president of the Alberta Construction Trucking Association (ACTA) and is also a columnist for Truck West magazine. In this month’s columns, he identified several issues facing construction truckers in his home province. They’re the same everywhere in this country –except maybe Vancouver which is buzzing with pre-Olympic activity.
Ron says gravel trucking rates are down 10-30% in Alberta, depending on the region. It used to be you couldn’t help but make money if you had a gravel truck in resource-rich Alberta. Now, the industry is being put to the test and it is not responding well. Singer says he’s noticed a steady decline in professionalism and ethics within his own industry, which he notes is in correlation with the steady exit of the more experienced drivers who’ve had enough and hung up their keys.
In Alberta, the ACTA at least has a plan. For starters, it’s been surveying construction truckers across the province to learn about their most pressing concerns and to determine what they’re getting paid. It also developed a Code of Ethics and Standards that all of its members must adhere to. Next up, and this is the big challenge, the association hopes to get buy-in from all construction truckers. Singer feels that if everyone in the business unites, they can force some real change when it comes to rates and working conditions. We’re not talking about union organization and we’re not talking about price-fixing – his group is just asking guys to respect one another out there and demonstrate a level of professionalism and courtesy that seems to have been waning in recent years.
As we’ve seen with Obama, promising change is a lot easier than actually delivering it. But gravel haulers need to work together and buy into a common vision if they want their rates and working conditions to improve. Think it’ll never happen? There is a precedent for this. The Truckers Association of Nova Scotia (TANS) is a pretty effective little industry group out east that looks after its members and has even convinced government to agree that a certain percentage of trucks on any taxpayer-funded job site will belong to independents.
Nova Scotia dump truckers are not without their problems, but there’s a level of respect among them that’s almost non-existent in many other parts of the country. Singer says TANS is the model ACTA aspires to. I wish Ron and the ACTA well in their endeavour to raise the professionalism of their own industry. It’ll be worth watching and, if successful, celebrating.
EDITED TO ADD PICTURE: Here’s a picture of the dual/use vehicle Norm alluded to. How about it? Would you consider running a gravel truck with a removable dump body if it provided you the versatility to haul freight/logs or other commodities when things are slow?
NZR Mack 8x4 Demount Dump 05.JPG

James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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37 Comments » for Down in the dumps: Can you still make a decent living driving dump trucks?
  1. meslippery says:

    I seem to remmber $75.00 per hour pre 1999
    How much would a fair rate be now?

  2. Steve H says:

    Hi James.
    It is indeed apparent that the “recession” creates forces that can cause the standards of our operators to deteriorate.
    Poor compensation generates poor performance all around.
    We need to keep the eye on the ball as far as the type of drivers we want representing our company, hard times or not.
    I find myself presenting efforts like the following to maintain professionalism in our driving force and to resist the temptation to slide back in time:
    Overall, our company has an exceptional driving staff.
    Since nobody is perfect, there are always those who have room for improvement.
    In fact there are some drivers, who generate problems rather than solutions.
    Are you an asset to the company or are you a liability?
    Please consider these opposites:
    Are you a calm, smooth operator or an accident waiting to happen?
    Are you reliable or are you capable of leaving us in a lurch?
    Are you a driver that is profitable or one that’s a drain on our resources?
    Are you compliant or are you still operating in denial?
    Are you proud of your truck or do you pretend it’s another person’s job to clean up after you?
    Are you respectable or are you someone who customers are happy to see leave?
    Are you cautious or are you at risk of injuring yourself on the job?
    Are you obliging or are you high maintenance?
    Are you achieving bonus incentives or are you left out by poor performance?
    Are you a benefit or are you a threat?
    The road to professionalism is long but the rewards are many. A driver who can come to work and perform in a manner required to survive and prosper in this business is an absolute asset.
    Drivers who don’t make the effort to respect the rules and the proper procedures can, and do, have a negative effect on the entire industry.
    Which type of driver do you want to be?

  3. Steve H,
    Thanks for the insightful response. Well-said.

  4. meslippery says:

    quote”Drivers who don’t make the effort to respect the rules and the proper procedures can, and do, have a negative effect on the entire industry. unquote
    When respecting the rules drivers lose pay and home
    time with family. You could make an effort to reward
    us with proper wages. If that was the case no one
    would have a need to dis-respect rules and procedures.
    Why do you think it is done ? not to make less, or be
    home less often.

  5. meslippery says:

    1/25/2010 Most U.S. Drivers Obey Speed Limits
    The average U.S. drivers stays within the speed limit range on most urban and rural interstate highways, according to data collected using TomTom’s map business unit Tele Atlas.
    Using Speed Profiles, the historical speed database, TomTom was able to aggregate, anonymously, the actual speeds that millions of GPS-enabled drivers have traveled over the last two years.
    According to TomTom’s findings, the fastest road, “America’s Autobahn,” is on Interstate 15 in Utah and Nevada, with speeds averaging 77.67 miles per hour. Many of the states with the fastest highways are in the middle part of the country. The average speeds on roads in Mississippi, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Idaho, Alabama and Missouri exceed 67 miles per hour.
    Meanwhile, the slowest roads can be found in Washington, D.C., where speeds average 46 miles per hour. Following Washington, D.C., the states with the slowest interstates are Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island and Oregon.
    Speeds on single interstate highways that span a number of states, such as the I-95 route running from northern Maine to southern Florida, differ dramatically depending on where you are. Along that highway, the fastest section is in South Carolina; the slowest sections are in Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

  6. Jack Logan says:

    Hey James,Me Again.Ya You KNOW Whats Comming.But Hey Its The TRUTH & Sometimes It Hurts REAL BAD.One Word Here James,IMMIGRATION/IMMIGRATION/IMMIGRATION……..95% of these people who have put our LIVELYHOODS In Such PERIL Have NO RESPECT For themselves let alone thier fellow drivers.8 Outta 10 points Steve H.Makes above,These (NON SKATERS)Fall under.Dont Agree????? Just Ask Steve H.How Many (NON SKATERS) Work for his company.Everyone one out here see’s it,most are just to Balless to talk about it in public.I On the OTHER Hand am very PROUD of what I Do.& I Do Not Have a problem calling a SPADE A SPADE.Keep up the GOOD work James.Over & Out.

  7. fed-up says:

    Re:Down in the dumps.
    James, do you have any knowledge of what’s happening out west? Your article says “except maybe Vancouver, which is buzzing with pre-Olympic activity.”
    Well, one of the biggest jobs in decades is the rebuilding of highway 1,including a new Port Mann bridge. A 5 year project and is being done by a massive American Co. They have driven the rates for a tandem dump truck well below 70.00 per hr.which in turn has compromised the truck rates for the whole Metro Vancouver area. What do you think they’ll do with all that extra profit? I’d say they will take it south with them when they finish and go home in 5 yrs. Stimulus money? You bet, for Obama!

  8. fed-up:
    If nothing else, at least there’s money to be made hauling snow to Cypress Mountain!
    “Organizers are using 45 people and two large dump trucks to move more than 300 truckloads of snow from the top of Mount Strachan, which has more than three metres of snow, to the field of play on neighbouring Black Mountain.”

  9. Shawn Marcil says:

    Hello James. This might insult most, but I don’t care. Dump truckers are some of the most uneducated, stupid people on the road. I got fed up last year and got rid of mine. I’ve been trucking for 21 years. At the end of 2007 when fuel started it’s climb to $1.47/L, how did the dump truckers working on the highway jobs on the hwy.400 respond?….dropped the rates $6.00/hour. Right on. They weren’t enough at the $70.00/hour we started at. Why was I working there for that? Because the brain deads back home in northern Ontario were working on highway jobs for $50.00/hour. Then you have all the other ones in the Sault with their three trucks for a hundrded an hour deals. And continuing to work for contractors that owe them for six plus months of work and still haven’t paid.
    And the contractors have it all figured out too. Where I was in southern Ontario, we had a good job and they had a ton of work. We had worked summer and winter for a couple straight, then my last year they had to shut down for the winter. But we still had lots of carry-over projects to complete. But during the winter, the contractor started calling all the brokers and telling them how work was going to be real slim and it didn’t look good for work in the spring. Why did they do this? Because it started panic among everyone, which sparked a bidding war. Now the contractors phone was ringing off the hook with special deals of “stab my buddy in the back.” “Get rid of that guy and I’ll give you this many trucks for this much.”
    When they called me in the spring for my truck and told me the rate I would have to match, I said thanks for calling. Then I packed it in. All the locals can talk about me behind my back, with stories like “he couldn’t make it with his fancy new trucks”, but truth is I can hold my head up higher knowing I pulled the pin rather than go to work for nothing like the rest of the idiots. I don’t feel bad at all now, sitting at home with my kids watching my grass grow, while they all pound their trucks for nothing.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story, Shawn. It’s a shame that it seems there’s no place for nice iron in this sector anymore. It’s not sustainable to run nice equipment at current rates, so the late model trucks get parked while the crap from the 70s and 80s with the black smoke billowing out the stacks continues to rumble up and down the road.

  11. Shannon says:

    Thia is the only country that i am awear of that will give a commercial licence to some one that can’t or won’t speak english….some how these people get a licence ….yet many times i have been offered cash …50 to 100 bucks to back their trailers into a loading dock..W.T.F.!!!!!I tell them to get stuffed …the longer they are jack knifed in a freight yard the safer it is for my family and friends out on the road ….well I guess you get what you pay for….shame on the goverment for letting this kind of thing go on …this might not be politcly correct but it’s the truth and we all know the truth hurts ……

  12. Jack Logan says:

    Kudos to Shawn & Shannon for speaking thier minds.Shawn Enjoy your kids and watching the grass grow,Cause when all is said and done you are the one making the BEST Living Up There.Let em all battle it out to the BASEMENT & When the Contractors call you back for YOUR Talents and Professionalism Tell em your Rates Have Gone Way Up & The may not be able to afford your services.Shannon,Keep up the great work of keeping our roads safe by REFUSING To Help these NON SKATERS With thier Inabilities to Park thier trucks in a dock.If We All Refuse to help them they MAY Just GO AWAY.But I Highly Doubt It.There Is NO ROOM For POLITICLY CORRECTNESS In Our Profession.Over & Out.

  13. meslippery says:

    As James is want to say someone is always willing
    to do the work for less.
    R.I.P good old days of trucking

  14. Eldwyn says:

    BC is no different – in Vancouver the dump truck – single truck rate was $68 an hour truck and pup $75. I have been in the trucking industry for 30 years and I am pretty smart with a calculator, someone needs to show Me a few new tricks because at these rates You can not safely maintain a truck. In Kelowna on the Highway 33 road project the rate was cut again I was told that the single dump trucks were working for $75 a hour. The BC Government rate is $95 a hour
    There are many hard feelings and a lot of pissed off people, someone needs a 2×4 up the side of the head for cutting rates like this, someone is going to get hurt in a truck crash and it is going to boil down to a truck was not maintained and was not fit to be on the road.
    Log hauling is no different the rates are cut just as quick and it is scary to see what is moving wood down the road, recently I saw a highway truck with no bull board with a jeep with a log bunk and a tri axle pole trailer – these clowns are endangering Yours and a lot of other
    families, and they are getting away with it !

  15. Marc says:

    Hi James,
    After reading your article about Mr. Balford, I was shaking my head and my blood was beginning to boil. You see, I am a driver for a small, but very successful dump truck for hire operation here in Ottawa for the last 8 years. The company I work for has been in business for the last 40 plus years providing for hire trucks to the major quarries and contractors. I have seen and heard about the problems concerning the drop in hourly rates first hand.
    The major problem here in Ottawa is the ‘The Greater Ottawa Trucking Association’. The head of the association has his equipment and business outside the city of Ottawa. He, along with the Directors, are constantly complaining about the rates, both hourly and ton/mile, yet at the same time, the head of the association is bidding on jobs at reduced rates and hiring out of town trucks for $64 dollars an hour. The majority of local refuse to work for him and the one’s that do are beating their trucks to death for 67 dollars an hour. For instance, a couple of years ago the association was negotiating for the new rates with the major stone and asphalt suppliers in town. The majority of the suppliers were waiting to see what Lafarge’s position would be. The association at one point left the table with Lafarge because they couldnt get the rate that they were asking for, 89 dollars per hour. The association stayed away from the table for two weeks and staged a 4 person rotating blockade of their quarries. When they (the association) were invited back to the table, the President of the association, along with their members, entered the office and immediately settled for 83 dollars an hour. From the information that I was told, Lafarge was about to settle at 89 dollars but since the association settled for less, well the rest is history.
    Ottawa has seen a large influx of tri-axle dump trucks since the winter of 07-08. During that winter season, Ottawa had recieved its heaviest snowfall in decades and in fact, there were not enough trucks to remove the snow. Trucks were actually called in from surrounding areas to help. When spring came along, the local dealerships were selling trucks left and right. From that point on the rates began to drop tremendously. I spoke with alot of these new truckers and asked them what made them buy these brand new Paystars or KW’s, and everyone of them said the same thing, SNOW SNOW. Summer time came and it was a fight to the death trying to get jobs. I heard that some trucks were actually working for 62-65 dollars and hour. How can anyone operate a tri-axle dump truck for 62 dollars an hour? Last winter was a nail biter due to lack of snow and this year is nothing to write home about. While talking with my boss, we both came to the same conclusion that this year will weed out the ‘scabs'(a term that is used alot here in Ottawa). The major excavating companies are now paying 68 an hour for trucks, both association and non-association. These association trucks don’t stand up for each other, work for ‘scab’ rates but at the meetings claim that nothing is being done to deal with it.
    If anything, especially here in Ottawa, we must ‘stand together’ as a collective and fight for what is right. Any and all groups or associations in the province must get together and fight for a decent rate for their respective locations. But I digress….truckers cant agree if the sky is blue or not.

  16. Thanks for sharing, Marc. Question: How has the company you work for remained successful in the current rate environment? What have they done to stay busy and profitable?

  17. Stephen Large says:

    Hi James, I read your comment from Jan 29 about the “crap from the 70’s and 80’s and I think you should pull back a bit! I run a 1981 KW dump truck in east central Alberta and I charge $100 – $110/hr and $140/hr for my 1980 KW + tandem belly dump. They belch a bit of black smoke when you grab a gear, but they NEVER miss a day of work. In fact, most of the work I do is when someone’s brand new crap is at the dealership getting the ECM re-programmed or trying to find out what sensor keeps shutting it down for no reason. It is not my fault that these guys had to run out and buy the latest plastic truck and now they have to work cheap to try to work every day to pay for their latest greatest “crap”. These are the guys who are working too cheap because they HAVE to have cash flow to make their payments! I’ll keep my old junk and wait for them to break down, then I’ll haul them to the shop with my 20 yr old KW by the hour, then I’ll get my hourly rate to haul their dirt or gravel until they get running again. I don’t have a payment at the end of the month, so I will stick to my rate and wait for the next time their EGR sensor screws up, or until they can’t make their payments anymore from working too cheap just to be working!??

  18. Hi Stephen, Fair point! I should’ve differentiated between the well-maintained and cared-for “vintage” trucks and the crap! Both are out there, and I seem to have crossed paths with more crap recently. But if you can take care of your ride and get 29 years out of it and avoid the costly new emissions controls – all the power to you!
    If your truck’s paid for, you are in a better position to weather the storm at times like this and there’s something to be said for that. 🙂

  19. Stephen Large says:

    Hi James, I agree that there are quite a few trucks out there that could be labeled as crap, but age of the truck seems to have no relevance. In most cases, the owner or the driver is most of the problem for not keeping up the repairs and maintenance. This lack of pride seems to be the norm instead of the exception lately. It seems to be contagious and far too common for owners to expect drivers to “just run ‘er til she blows” and then patch it good enough to get it moving by the next day. I think this is most of the reason for the more experienced drivers that are migrating away from this industry and we are seeing companies hiring
    less experienced drivers who will not question the lack of preventive maintenance. They also will work for a lesser wage maybe not realizing that there may be sitting time for loading, etc. that they may not get paid for. Customers soon realize that the faces change too often and see the lack of experience showing up in the quality of the work being done and then it becomes a problem to expect a raise in freight rates from them when the trucking company is providing a lesser service ( either from the less seasoned employees or from the poorly maintained equipment ). It seems that with all this new, low maintenance equipment we are seeing in the last decade or so such as auto slacks, central lube systems, extended service intervals, and automatic tire pressure devices, we have created a whole generation of drivers who assume that their only duty is to steer the truck from A to B.
    I have not seen a driver use a grease gun or a tire guage in several years except for a couple owner/operators. I think that the driver should go under the truck with a grease gun in one hand and a 9/16″ wrench in the other and then they would actually know a bit about the condition of the vehicle they are operating each day. ( I hear that auto slacks don’t use that size of wrench to set the brakes, but you get where I’m coming from ). Many drivers have told me that they have auto lube systems, but I have trouble figuring out how that can grease the U – joints?! I think some owners and some drivers get a false idea that the truck is self – maintaining and needs no attention other than to pass the annual safety inspection. Sooner or later those trucks will turn into crap! Then it will be hard to get good drivers to stay. Then it will be hard to keep good customers happy. Then the rates will probably go down – if not, it WILL be hard to get the rates to go up.

  20. Marc says:

    “Thanks for sharing, Marc. Question: How has the company you work for remained successful in the current rate environment? What have they done to stay busy and profitable?
    James” – The company that I work for has suffered with the poor rates thats why we mainly work for the large quarries, we are ‘the number one on the list’ for a specific quarry and when needed, we supply our trucks the their other pits in the city. The owner refuses to work for ‘scab rate’ and yes, it has cost us alot of work but we have been able to maintain at least 2 trucks working everyday. Maybe not a full day but enough to make some cash. I was told that since we haven’t worked for the cheaps rates we are not going to start now. His heels are dug in and major customers to the quarries still request that our trucks for their hauling and if another company is sent, they would cut off those trucks. I believe that the service that we provide to the quarry and its customers is one of the reasons why we are still in business. We don’t go out and buy new equipment, then spend thousands on accessories and chrome like some owners have done and guess what, their gone (bankrupt). The oldest truck in the fleet is a 2005 and our newest is a 2009. We maintain our fleet by ourselves (oil changes, minor repairs, tires etc) but rely on warranty work for the engines and anything covered by warranty.

  21. Thanks for sharing, Marc. I think the message here is that there’s still room for carriers (in any segment, not just gravel) that stick to charging fair and reasonable (profitable) rates *provided* they deliver value in terms of customer service, reliability, etc.
    That’s encouraging to hear, but of course it’s easier to say than to do. Your company deserves credit for refusing to play the rate game and still managing to keep its trucks and drivers busy.

  22. Larry Shantz says:

    Hi James.Recently bought a new wide screen tv for father-in-law,nearly had heart attack when they said they could install for 110$/hr!!I said i have a 250,000$ truck and dump trailer and am lucky if i can get 80.$/hr.Told them to stick it and the tv bought one cheaper elsewhere and installed myself free!My point here is that the rates for dump trucks are ridiculously low;for the investment required.Also the wait time (60to90)days for renumeration from most large pit operators is totally unacceptable as we all know cash is king and we need cash flow.I firmly believe immigrants are largely to blame for this predicament as well as the fed./prov. govt,s for allowing them easy access to our industry without proper training or buisness skills.As far as i am concerned the import of immigrants was a ploy by the gov,t to not address the driver shortage but a master plot to keep the trucking rates low as they knew very well these people would work cheap and still be better off than their home country.The govt,s have allowed these people to use my workplace the highway as their training field endangering all!We yes We,Me,I,are also to blame for these low rates as we are our own worst enemies when it comes down to the crunch as to park the damn truck or cut the rate!Unfortunately most choose the latter because it is our livelyhood;we are not willing to concede defeat;we have pride.To all the good,responsible,safe truck owners i say this Lets stop giving and start taking.Let us all work collectively to get the rates to where they should be.Lets make 2011 our year!

  23. Marc says:

    AMEN Larry.

  24. Jim Fulton says:

    Morning James; I have no comments on the gravel rates,but I do have a ?? on why dump trucks feel they have to get to the pit or deliver the material that has been in the ground for millions of years @ the speed at what these guys seem to have to travel,The majority drive like idiots and if sh t went bad I doubt 75% of these trucks would be able to stop.I see this day in & day out in Calgary. Have told my wife and kids to stay out of the way of these idiots on the Deerfoot TR. or any road where they are operating.I pull up behind some of these trucks and watch there brake lights if they come on & notice slack adjusters that look like they are out to the max, thinking glad to be behind you and not in front of you.I have been an owner/operator with driving close to 38 years in the heavy haul & oil field and have seen a lot of changes,Hopefully things turn around,but I don’t think it is just the rates that hurt every thing, I believe the ATTITUDE and Respect for other people has got to change.

  25. Norm says:

    Hi James, Sold lots of dump trucks over the years some of these babies used to cost $12,500 bucks a piece and that included the box, true! Yet, here we are, good guys pay’n $120 G’s for chrome falic simbols with payments com’n out of the yingyang. Well, there could be a better way, maybe worth a thought….get yourself a demountable dump and when times are tough, switch! Start pull’n a semi. May be hard to change the mindset but it sure will change the terrain. Just the potential threat, the lowly dump operator having options means somebody is go’na get a wakeup call. Think about it…buying a fancy peace of chrome and having it locked into a certain type of box don’t make much sense any more than. Well, it’s akin to trying to make end meet as a share cropper or folks sitt’n around in their tin lizzy’s waiting to see who get to pick cotton. So smarten up guys get with the program and stop fix’n them darn boxes to possiblle your second largest lifetime investment.

  26. Norm, that’s a rather interesting concept, but how practical is it? Can a truck spec’d to haul gravel easily be converted to haul freight? Is it as simple as removing the dump body and replacing it with a fifth wheel? Have you seen this done before?

  27. Norm says:

    Hi James, Yeah, it’s real, I invented and have the patents to prove it, along with a dozen other major first’s the truck’n industry is using. Like to see what an NZR demountable dump looks like, go to the link. I can tell you this, if shrinkage is to be the order-of-the-day, then these guys try’n to make a liv’n in the dump business better get flexible and soon. They need to stop putt’n their egg’s in one basket, locking themselves in. After all, eventually it get’s to the bottom line, if there aint no ROI, forget it, your out of business. FLEXIBILITY is the new catch phrase, remember the three R’s this is going to be the future. I can help these guy’s get real hey, maybe we should do an article, help the aggregate industry overall.

  28. Mr. Gowland says:

    I was talking to a So called non skater He was a nice young fellow, and he is not my enemy, I am not Demonizing any immigrant worker,I just want to state that, there is a big picture here none of you seem to want to admit! “He” {Being the Immigrant worker}is being used by my Government. How you say?.. Read and consider. As we talked I was noticing the banged up condition of his truck and with the lack of the ability to communicate I wondered how this is exceptable when I remember the Standards of companies hiring O/O just 10 years ago.were so high,as well as the big TV news attacks of Mr Paladini {Late Minister of Transport Ont.} about our unsafe Trucking industry.I asked him what he was hauling for rate wise. He told me what i believed to be a terrible rate and said to me “the import thing is every canadian Dollar earned gives him 46 dollars back home”. This fella told me to my face he is not in it for the long run just a few years and then he plans on going home to the old country to buy a house. When i asked him how he will continue to get buy after that him being a young man and driver, he told me he will come stay here a few months out of the year with his Brother in Brampton and work for a few friends and again return home. This is why the rates are where they are because the Immigrants in Canadian trucking do not Care about Canada,The economy or the saftey standards.I spend 50/60 hours a week on the roads been out here 20 years and I am a 3rd generation Driver I see the truth! It is not slander to speak the truth. It is not Racisim, It is Immigration bringing People from other countries to do one thing.Use them to do their dirty work to Collapse the Canadian economy like our friends in the U.S. Are doing using their Immigrant neighbours to the south to take the middleclass out of the big picture, and the big money shippers go with the cheapest fool on the block. Why is this happening? Mr Rockafeller said it himself In an annual Buildaberg meeting in Ottawa “To bring about Global Government”. {not a consperacy} In the news folks! We are heading into a world economic crisis fueld by the Rich elite for one purpose to use the poor nations for their dirty work abroad and the middleclass in our homeland? well… there wont be one! Wake up and smell the New World Order.
    That is the big picture. Global Currency and Government. Its happening as we speak. Why else would the biggest companies in Canada and U.S. Be going to China,India,and putting thousands out of work here. Our Industry was very stong just a few years Back. See the picture boys and girls? Guess we need to buy our Cottages in Dubai! After all our politians are. Do some research. Even our Government boys are Retiring in other countries. whats that saying about the future of our homeland? Dont worry The army will give your kids a Job!

  29. meslippery says:

    Mr. Gowland
    Yes but with our numbers, our famlies friends
    even factory workers.
    We need to find someone to vote for.
    Someone to put a stop to this nonsense.

  30. francisco says:

    James thank you for all this information, it apears that this prolem about the ridiculus rates, we are working for is a state wide issue., Here in california is no diferent, I have talk to lots of truckers , and they are quick to complain about our sitiation, but when, I start talking about organizing, they inmediately tried to change the convrsation, as if they were afraid of lossing their job. James I let this people know that if they are waiting for the brokers or contractors to change the rates they are wrong the solution is with in ourselfs, The question is is legal for us as idependant conractor to fix the rates?

  31. Norm, e-mail pics to I’ll post them here to see what our dump truck operators have to say.
    Francisco, Price fixing is not legal, as I understand it. However, a friend in the industry recently pointed out other modes seem to get away with it. Ie. Ocean-liner members of the Transpacific Stablization Agreement routinely increase rates collectively.

  32. I have uploaded a picture of Norm’s configuration (see original post). How ’bout it dump truck operators? Would you consider a multi-use rig with a removable dump body if it gave you the versatility to pull freight/logs, etc. during slow periods?

  33. Stephen Large says:

    Hi Francisco. It may not be legal to collectively fix the rates, but remember that you can say no if the rate is not what you want. If you call someone looking for work, you will have to do it for whatever rate they want to pay and you’ll have to wait to get paid until they want to pay. If the customer calls you, then you are the boss. You get to decide the rate and the terms. I get calls all the time from guys who want to know how cheap I can haul something. I tell them what my hourly rate is and if they were looking to get the job done for nothing, they will have to call someone else. I lose a lot of work this way, but I always get my rate or I stay home! If the customer has special requirements, then they will have to find the right guy with the right equipment and the right attitude to get their job done. Some of the work I get is not much fun, but I charge accordingly for it and the end result is money in my pocket every time. Today, my dump truck is going to a feedlot to haul cow manure across a field and dump it in piles to be spread later. The rate – $110.00/hr. I have tire chains on all the drive tires and the truck gets real muddy, but yesterday I got 10 hours and at the end of the day, I added 120 liters ( about 30 US gallons ) of fuel and had to wash the windows and mirrors several times. I don’t think I ever went over 20 mph all day and a quarter of the time, I was sitting still waiting for the loader to fill me up. $1100.00 less $100 for fuel and $5 for Windex and paper towel = $995.00/day

  34. Marc says:

    After looking at the picture you gave to James to post, all I see is a photoshopped tandem Mack dump truck. Id really like to an actual picture of a working model. I know of a company here in Ottawa that has a tandem International dump truck that can be converted back to a day cab tractor by only removing the 18 foot box and placing the fifth wheel plate on the frame rails. The plate doesn’t slide but is static. Any owner of a dump truck who can afford to do the switch from dump to tractor and back would maybe benefit from it but the industry is still in the crapper and is really not showing any signs of improving soon. Rates are same as they were in the 90’s.

  35. Stephen Large says:

    Hi James. It is not that big of a deal to remove the dump box on most any dump truck and drill a few holes to bolt the 5th wheel plate onto the truck. Then you have to run the air lines and 7 wire trailer cord, but most trucks will already have a tractor protection valve located on the frame behind the cab where the emergency and service lines attach and they will also usually have the trailer cord running down the left frame rail to a point somewhere between the cab and where the 5th wheel will be mounted, so add a junction box to connect your trailer pigtail and you are in business. On my dump truck, I pull 3 pins, disconnect one hydraulic hose from the hoist cylinder, and disconnect two airlines from the tailgate latch cylinder and lift off the box. My truck was a tractor before it was a dump truck, so the holes are already in the frame for the 5th wheel plate and the air and electrical connections are already there also. Total time to switch…about 2 hours and a crane to lift the box off ( or a pair of forklifts or whatever is handy ). I don’t usually remove it because I have a highway tractor and a winch tractor, but it is no big deal if I need to switch!

  36. Eldwyn says:

    Hello James
    the ideal of going from from a highway truck to a dump truck is nothing new
    You leave the 5th wheel on the truck it latches just like hooking up to trailer to the box sub frame, the sub frame is also hooked at the front and back with pins, there are people who have been doing this for 40 years in the oil patch, I can go go from dragging low bed to a dump truck in under a hour, the dump box is 2 hydraulic lines one for the hoist and one for the high lift tail gate, 2 air lines and My light plug, there is even a manure spreader rigged up for the truck,
    the truck is a 94 Pete conventional with a Cummins NT 500 plus Twin Turbo’s 6&4 tranny 20,000 frt axel 52,000 Rockwell rear axel and double locker, the truck was headed for the junk yard when We got it with a blown engine, it has taken a lot of patients and years to perfect the ideal of being able to quickly change over the truck, at one time it was nothing to over shoot the 5th wheel pin, then You had problems, I have learnt from error and trial.

  37. rod the old guy says:

    Hi James
    This is a wonderful site you have here.
    I am a Fossil, Back in 1984 I owned and operated 2 Ford gaspot 534’s, The BC gov’t paid us $30.00 per hr all found for a 12 cu yd
    dump.I made a good seasonal living for myself and a friend who operated the other 5&4. Then along came an NON SKATER from
    Vancouver with the means to finance 20 used diesel dumps and under cut the Social Credit Gov’t Rate at that time.
    I recieved a phone call from our local Highways district, asking If I could match a $27,00 per hr rate to haul Shot Rock
    at the new road leading to the soon to be 7 Mi. dam. I pondered his question for a min , and quickly told him my reason for not doing this was because of my boxes. He said he was sorry I did’t accept and we hung up the phone. HARD to turn down any job in the spring.
    Two weeks later 10 dumps showed up in our district All non skater drivers and staying 5 to room in the local Hotel!
    These poor guys were living the Canadian DREAM, all the while the Head NONSKATER raked in his Profit living High on the hog in
    Vancouver. When they went home I can almost bet they lived 17 to an appartment, owned by the head honcho! They still do to
    this day down on the coast, farm hands, drivers etc. I wish I could have done something to stop this but a 1one man cannot go against
    Immigration! We as Canadians need to stop this employment of 270,000 Immigration officers, OTTAWA may go broke in their service
    industries, but we 60 yr plus Canadians deserve better?

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