Last year, at the beginning of September, I wrote the post “The Cheapest Way to Pave a Driveway.” It quickly became the most successful post on this blog. I didn’t realize at that time that I am touching a subject that many look for a solution to. There are millions of gravel driveways in America, and those driveways cost thousands that many don’t have or don’t want to spend.
What happened since that driveway post is kinda funny. Unless you know us personally, then, it just makes sense.
Well, we ended up buying a dump truck. Ain’t she beautiful?
Before I tell you about our yellow dump truck, let me just say that we are still looking for truck drivers who would like to dump their crushed asphalt or concrete on our land, like I suggested in my driveway post.
Someone who works for an asphalt company commented that my post is funny. Why would you pay a driver anything, even a small amount of money, to dump on your land? THEY usually pay the dump site, not the other way around.
I agree. It is funny. And we know that the asphalt companies pay a dump site to take their loads of crushed asphalt, this is why we posted an ad on Craigslist for a free dump site. Since we posted it a few months ago, we didn’t have one person contact us. Maybe it’s because our land is in the country, kinda far, and out of their way. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to bother with it. I am not sure.
Anyway, I am more than happy to pay a truck driver a little bit of money if he/she saves me thousands.
I confess, I have a soft spot for truck drivers. I used to be one. People don’t realize how hard of a job it is, not to mention a business, if you own the truck. Once you sit behind the wheel, you are pretty much a killing machine rolling down the road. And it is up to you to finish the day without killing anyone or yourself. People will cut you and break surprisingly in front of you, not realizing that a 40 ton truck with air breaks don’t break as easy as a four-door sedan. You can’t travel on most roads. You can’t pass under many bridges since they are too low. You can’t park almost anywhere, and you have to pay constant attention to signs a regular driver don’t even know exists.
And almost all truckers are underpaid. UNDERPAID. As in, making a ridiculously low income for the risk and lifestyle.
So I have no problem paying them a little extra for their load, and instead of it becoming a pile of waste, we recycle it into a driveway and put it to good us.
Another person who read my driveway post told me he is moving to a large piece of land. He asked if it’s not going to be cheaper to buy an old dump truck and haul the material himself.
I was happy to find someone who thinks the way we do. I told him that this is exactly what we ended up doing.
You see, we have a 2000 feet driveway to pave on the farm. We couldn’t find a trucker that has a regular supply. We left our number with many road construction companies, but they don’t really do much over the Winter. Since we wanted the driveway to be ready for the builder to start building a house for us on the farm asap, we had to come up with another plan.
Also, with the vegetable farm starting to come together, we realized that there are other things we need to haul, like compost or horse manure, for example. Many farms in our area are giving it for free, but we could never find a way to haul it.
So we decided to purchase a dump truck.
We found this yellow 2001 Chevy C-7500 for sale on Craigslist and purchased it for $8900.
We took a loan on it, and we pay about $360 a month for the truck. In order to cover this expense, we posted a ad on Craigslist, and now my husband delivers gravel and other material for others. He only needs to do 3 or 4 jobs a month to cover the expense of the truck (loan payment and insurance). We have our own business for years, so it was pretty easy to add the truck to it, and since we bought it a couple of months ago, we have more work than we can take. Knock on wood.
On the weekends, we work on the farm. We found a concrete plant that is preparing for Spring cleaning and will be happy for us to take their waste. We called road construction companies and asked them to call us when they have a project going so we can come to the job site and pick up crushed asphalt.
If we can’t find material for free, we pick up crushed asphalt from a road constriction company for a fraction of the cost of crusher run gravel. It’s not free, but still much cheaper than the gravel. And we really love it. It packs very well and easy to work with.
It is an expensive vehicle to maintain. Every visit to the shop cost a few hundreds of dollars. Make sure to find a few heavy truck mechanics, and maybe a mobile mechanic as well.
Make sure you can afford the monthly expense of insurance, which is a lot more than a regular vehicle.
Research your tag options. You might need a Commercial Weighted Tag or a For Hire tag, depending on what you are going to do with the truck. Those cost close to a $1000 (in NC). If you are going to use it for farm use alone and your land has a farm number, you might be able to get a farm tag that is much cheaper than the others.
If your truck’s gross vehicle weight (GVW) is over 26,000, you’ll need a CDL (commercial driver license).
You can’t drive a dump truck on any road. Make sure to check the routs you are going to travel. If your land sits on a road that has a weight limit, you might need a special permit from your local DOT office to drive on it.
We love our yellow truck. It’s new to us, we just got it a couple of months age, but we did so much with it already. I think that once it’s paid off, it’s going to be a valuable piece of equipment for the farm and for our family since it gives a little bit of a sense of security. Now we know that if our locksmith business has a slow month, we have something else we can do to keep the bills paid.
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Lady Lee is a single mother of four, she was born in Israel and raised in an agricultural commune called a Kibbutz. From a very young age, she was very interested in agriculture and farming.
She is a former IDF fitness trainer and is passionate about simple, natural living. She now lives in NC with her four kids, dog, cat, goats, ducks, and chickens.