Running a vacuum truck service can be a lucrative business to begin since these vehicles perform a unique task that is applicable in many different settings. They are useful for much more than just dumping septic systems, the job for which they are most widely recognized. A good vacuum truck can cater to many different jobs, keeping fleets on the road and operators working. Before jumping into any new jobs, vacuum truck owners should understand the possible options of these vehicles so a proper assessment can be made of what is currently owned or consider buying additional units that are more suited to a particular task.
Wet, Dry – or Both
The main difference between vacuum trucks in relation to the jobs that can be done is with the vacuum system. These powerful suction pumps are available in various suctioning strengths that can handle anything from removing liquids and loose debris to bricks, stone, and other heavier material. So the first decision that should be made when considering the purchase of one of these trucks, or determining an existing vehicle's ability to accomplish a particular task, is the strength of the vacuum pumps.
Standard vacuum trucks used only to suction liquid have the smallest pumps; of course, when used correctly with the right hoses, they are very efficient in getting a job done. On the other hand, high velocity trucks used on construction and other similar sites for fast clearing of debris, refuse, and heavier solids use the larger hoses and the larger pumps, making them unsuitable for work with liquids. There are also units that are wet / dry combinations; they may not be able to suction a cinder block in the same way that a larger vehicle could but are much more versatile as they can suction liquid and smaller solids.
Tank Type and Capacity
Standard vacuum trucks used in septic services and other residential and lighter industrial applications typically have tanks that can hold 1,000 gallons. Trucks used for long distance hauling or collection of other types of material may have larger tanks; as an example, some can hold up to 5,000 gallons or more. Tanks are constructed from a variety of different material including carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, each of which is best used under different circumstances and different situations.
Generally, septic trucks and those used for hauling hazardous material should be purchased with stainless steel tanks as these are the most resistant to corrosion. For water carrying, light debris, and non-hazardous jobs, aluminum tanks are lighter and offer better fuel efficiency. Vehicles used in industrial environments to suction heavy solids need the strength of carbon steel. Wet / dry units that can be used in many different ways are more frequently made with stainless steel as well.
Truck Size and Capacity
Based on the size and weight of the tank when full and the work environment, there are a number of different types of truck chassis styles as well. Common septic trucks for residential and light industrial use typically have a standard chassis and a dual rear axle; this enables the vehicles to be easily driven on public roads. Vehicles with larger tanks will have more weight when loaded and are frequently built on a chassis with a third axle to handle the extra weight when filled to capacity. Many times, this size vehicle is available in a tandem design as well for easier maneuverability when loaded. Vehicles built for heavy industrial work are usually manufactured on a more heavy-duty chassis that can withstand the rigors of a construction site.
With such different options available, it can hopefully be seen that some vacuum trucks are suitable for multiple jobs, others are not. Depending on the line of work a company intends to do, vehicles should be selected that are appropriate for doing the job with continued efficiency and safety!