One of the most important, if not the most important, aspects of operating a profitable business is knowing what to charge. Many factors go into properly estimating a project such as: Labor Costs, Material Costs, Equipment Costs, Trucking Costs, and more. In this article we will discuss how to properly estimate your trucking costs to haul material to or from a job site.

This calculation is based on a Crew’s desired production rate. We will determine how many trucks will be needed to maintain a steady production rate for your crew. To achieve this, there are a few main inputs to the calculation including: Tons needed or Tons hauling away, Your Crew’s desired Tons Per Hour Production Rate, Truck hauling capacity, trucking hourly rate, and travel distance between the plant/pit and the job site. Other inputs can include a load/unload buffer time and total job duration. We’ll walk through each of these in the examples below.

First we need to know how much material we will need to move. If you are unsure how to calculate the amount of material, see our Asphalt material Estimator HERE.

For this example we will have the following inputs:

Total Tons of Asphalt (or whatever other material you are hauling): 375 Tons

Tons of Material Needed (i.e. Asphalt, Gravel, Gummy Bears) | 375 |

Desired Crew Production Rate Default (tons per hour) | 50 |

Hours Needed to Complete Job | 7.5 |

Days Needed to Complete Job (Assuming 10 hour working day | 0.75 |

Round Trip Travel Time from Plant to Job Site in Mins | 72 |

Load Time Buffer in Mins | 15 |

Unload Time Buffer in Mins | 15 |

Total Round Trip Travel Time | 102 |

Lastly, we will assume you have the option to use a Single (Standard) Dump Truck or a Strong Arm. These details are:

Truck Type | Hauling Capacity in Tons | Truck Hourly Rate |

Single | 17 | 110 |

Strong Arm | 24 | 120 |

This gives us all the inputs we need to calculate our estimated trucking cost. The calculation will go as follows:

Number of Trucks Needed to Maintain the Crew’s Production Rate = (Crew Production rate / Truck Hauling Capacity) * (Total Round Trip Travel Time in Minutes / 60)

Example: (50 / 17) * (102 / 60) = 5.0 Single Trucks

That would look like this:

Truck Type | Minimum Number of Trucks to Maintain Production Rate |

Single | 5.0 |

Strong Arm | 3.5 |

This means that to maintain a 50 Tons Per Hour Production Rate with a round trip time of 4 hours, you will need to deploy at least 5 Singles or 4 (rounded up) Strong Arms.

Now that we know how many trucks we need to maintain a desired production rate, we can calculate how many trips each truck will make and the cost for each truck type.

Trips Per Truck = (Total Tons Needed / Truck Hauling Capacity) / Total Trucks needed = Number of Trips per Truck

Now there are two ways to estimate Trucking Cost.

**Material Amount Method**– Calculate trucking cost solely based on the amount of material needed. For this example the cost would be:- Number of Trucks Needed * Number of Trips Per Truck * Round Trip time in Hours * Hourly Rate for the Truck
- The benefit to this method is that it accounts for the specific amount of material needed. The downside, is that increasing the number of trucks does not increase the trucking rate.
- Example:

Truck Type | Tonnage | Truck Rate by Hour | Trucks Needed | Total Trips Needed (RO) | Trips Per Truck (RO) | Total Cost Hourly (RO) |

Single | 17 | 110 | 5.0 | 22.1 | 4.4 | $4,125.00 |

Strong Arm | 24 | 120 | 4.0 | 15.6 | 3.9 | $3,187.50 |

**Number of Trucks Deployed**– Calculate trucking cost based on the number of trucks deployed during the expected Job time.- Number of Trucks Needed * Job Time in Hours * Truck Hourly Rate
- The benefit to this is that the Trucking Cost will increase based on the number of trucks used. Downside is that this could add a little bit of fluff in your estimate because the amount of material needed is not changing, only the number of trucks. (Disclaimer: some times fluff in an estimate is not a bad thing…)
- Example:

Truck Type | Tonnage | Truck Rate by Hour | Trucks Needed | Total Trips Needed (RO) | Trips Per Truck (RO) | Total Cost Hourly (RO) |

Single | 17 | 110 | 5.0 | 22.1 | 4.4 | $4,125.00 |

Strong Arm | 24 | 120 | 4.0 | 15.6 | 3.9 | $3,600.00 |

Notice we rounded up the number of Strong Arms needed to “4.” The Material Amount Method cost remained at $3,187.50 but the Number of Trucks Deployed method increased to $3,600 assuming we had one more truck hauling during the duration of the job.

If you have different trucks capacities at your disposal, creating a table like the one below can give you a quick reference to which truck type would produce the lowest cost to haul material for each job given the desired production rate and travel time per truck.

Truck Type | Tonnage | Truck Rate by Hour | Trucks Needed | Total Trips Needed (RO) | Trips Per Truck (RO) | Total Tonnage Hauled (RO) | Trucking Production Rate (Tons per hour) | Total Cost Hourly (RO) | Cost per Ton Based on Hourly Cost (RO) |

Single | 17 | 110 | 5.0 | 22.1 | 4.4 | 375.0 | 50.0 | $4,125.00 | $11.00 |

Truck and Pup | 30 | 125 | 2.8 | 12.5 | 4.4 | 375.0 | 50.0 | $2,656.25 | $7.08 |

Double | 21 | 120 | 4.0 | 17.9 | 4.4 | 375.0 | 50.0 | $3,642.86 | $9.71 |

Strong Arm | 24 | 120 | 4.0 | 15.6 | 3.9 | 375.0 | 56.5 | $3,600.00 | $9.60 |

Belly Dump | 32 | 140 | 2.7 | 11.7 | 4.4 | 375.0 | 50.0 | $2,789.06 | $7.44 |

Many times we are not sure what type of truck will be used to haul material for each job. In that case, we’ve seen clients use an “Average Truck” that takes the average hauling capacity and average hourly rate of their fleet and use that as a baseline. That would look like this:

Truck Type | Tonnage | Truck Rate by Hour | Trucks Needed | Total Trips Needed (RO) | Trips Per Truck (RO) | Total Tonnage Hauled (RO) | Trucking Production Rate (Tons per hour) | Total Cost Hourly (RO) | Cost per Ton Based on Hourly Cost (RO) |

Average Truck | 24.8 | 123 | 3.4 | 15.1 | 4.4 | 375.0 | 50.0 | $3,161.79 | $8.43 |

Trucking cost is a huge factor in any asphalt, grading, excavation job and getting these costs right could make the difference in a job being profitable or not… There are a lot of factors that go into a calculation like the above. Luckily, you can recreate the above in a spreadsheet. Here is a template you can create a copy and utilize.

Even better, Bitumio will calculate all of this automatically for you once you’ve configured your details in the system (which we’re happy to help with). No more using google maps to figure out travel time for your crews or trucks, figuring out material amounts, trying to match crew production rates to trucking time, etc. All of that is handled for you and you can adjust as needed.