Why You Should Consider Hiring A Tipper Lorry

   30 April 2023


Why You Should Consider Hiring A Tipper Lorry

Okay, so we do Grab Hire for the removal of large amounts of inert material. You pile it up and we come and ‘grab it away’, but quite often with a larger development you’re likely to have a machine on site larger enough to load tipper lorries - basically the same lorry but without the grab attachment. If this is the kind of job you have going on and you are looking at hiring a tipper lorry then we can help with this.

Prices for the removal of waste on a tipper lorry are nearly always cheaper than using a grab lorry, in short, the cost for us to buy a tipper lorry is a lot less than the cost of a grab lorry. In 2023, the cost to buy a grab lorry stands at about £200,000 (no that’s not a misprint!) whereas the cost of a ‘straight’ tipper lorry without a grab attachment is two-thirds that. So we are able to take the stuff away a lot cheaper in a tipper lorry than on a grab lorry. You’ll have to factor in though the cost of hiring a digger big enough to be able to load the lorries. If you have one of these larger diggers on site anyway then that’s great, but if you have to hire one in specially then you’ll have to work out if the cost of the hire of the machine is greater than the saving on getting a tipper lorry in, versus a grab lorry. A grab lorry certainly has its benefits, we can just pull up and take your stuff away, without you having to have a digger on site to load us, generally, you won’t have to do a thing!

You’ll need a 6-tonne digger as a minimum to load a tipper lorry, or ideally an 8-tonne digger, if you need to hire one of these machines then see here. A larger 13-tonne machine is of course suitable for loading tipper lorries but will normally be the preserve of a bigger building site.


Most tipper lorries hold about 19 tonnes, sometimes a little bit more, but never 20 tonnes. Don’t ever believe somebody who tells you they can take 20 tonnes away on a tipper lorry, they can’t! We wrote an article previously which explains how some people exaggerate how much a grab lorry can hold as well.


If you’re bringing tipper lorries onto a site, you will need a hardcore base. A lot of people will set up a site and have a big pile of muck sat there with a digger sat on top, ready for a queue of tipper lorries, only for the tipper lorries to get stuck, sometimes straight after the first lorry has come in. Even an existing hardstanding area can struggle to withstand the weight of a tipper lorry, which is 44 tonnes when loaded! You may have an existing concrete or tarmac road that’s been there forever, but bring a tipper lorry or two onto it, and it will often fall apart with the weight. 

We recommend a hardcore base at least 250mm thick for bringing tipper lorries onto. Your hardcore should always be laid on geotextile membrane, this is nothing to do with stopping the weeds from coming up, but is all about stopping the mud from coming through the stone or hardcore, it forms a barrier between the two. If money is no object - we know it always is! - then use Type 1 MOT for the whole 250mm thickness, or maybe even thicker if you can. If you want to cut costs a bit, then put some 6F2 hardcore down instead (recycled stone) but always top it with Type 1 MOT granite afterwards, as this material absorbs less water, as opposed to the 6F2 underneath. Then always compact the whole lot with a ride-on roller. We hear these out if you need one, see here. We can supply you with all of these materials, the geotextile membrane, the 6F2 and the Type 1, see here.

Next, you need to decide how many tipper lorries you want on your job, and how quickly you want the ‘turn around’ to be, i.e. how often you want them to come back. You may be limited here by how far away the tip is, just because you want two lorries per hour or whatever, it doesn’t mean that’s possible. We’ve found from previous experience that it’s often best to err on the side of caution when deciding how many lorries you want on a job, and how often you want them to turn up. There’s nothing worse than half a dozen tipper lorries and angry tipper drivers sat there waiting for you to load lorries. Have one an hour for a start and see how you get on, if you end up with lorries sat there, then they’re probably going to be wanting some waiting time. Not only do you need time to load the lorries, but every now and again you’re going to have to sort out your pile of muck with the digger, and get it shaped up a bit better, your digger may need a bit of maintenance, greasing up, filling up with diesel, and you’re going to want a break yourself at some point. 


Hiring A Tipper Lorry 

Hiring a tipper lorry as opposed to a grab lorry is not for beginners. If you’re not fully competent on a digger and the lorries aren’t going to get loaded in 10 minutes or so (that’s over 19 tonnes of stuff you’ve got to load on) then you may be better off with a grab lorry. We just pull up and take it away, we won’t need your help, with the greatest of respect!

Any more questions? Please feel free to give us a call on 01933 628273 or email enquiries@jwclarkltd.co.uk 

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