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Construction Trucks: Types, Bodies, and Customizations

Construction Trucks: Types, Bodies, and Customizations
December 10, 2020 TheHoth
construction trucks

Construction Trucks: Types, Bodies, and Customizations

Trucks are absolutely essential to the construction industry. Not only do construction trucks handle most of the heavy lifting on the job site, they also play an important role in keeping your crew as safe, productive, and efficient as possible. Investing in the right work trucks will help your construction business grow and keep up with the ever-growing demands of the industry.

There are many different types of construction trucks and accessories to choose from, and it can get overwhelming trying to narrow down your options. With decades of experience customizing trucks for the construction industry, we put together this guide to help you understand your many options and come up with the right vehicle setup for your specific needs and goals.


What You Need to Know When Buying a Construction Truck

When buying a construction truck, you need to thoroughly explore your options and carefully consider which is best for your specific needs and tasks. First, focus on the truck body. We will explore your truck body options in more detail below, but the main things to consider when comparing bodies are the specifications, capacity, and material (typically either steel or aluminum).

Once you’ve selected the perfect truck body, you can get down to the details. If you’re buying used, you’ll need to pay close attention to the condition of the frame rails and axles and keep an eye out for any signs of corrosion. Additionally, you’ll want to consider what kinds of add-ons or truck customization can help your business run more smoothly. Do you need additional storage compartments to have all your tools handy? Keep reading to explore your accessory options in more detail.


What Types of Construction Trucks Does Your Business Need?

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to construction trucks! In reality, most construction companies end up having to buy a few different types of trucks in order to meet all their needs as they grow and diversify.

Some of the most popular truck bodies in the industry include the following types:

Service Bodies: Service bodies are one of the most popular types of construction trucks. They are highly versatile and provide an open cargo area for storing and transporting large equipment. They also feature external storage compartments for convenient access to tools and equipment, which can help improve efficiency.

Utility Bodies: Utility truck bodies typically have a covered and fully-secured cargo area and many easy-to-access storage compartments. They tend to be used for similar jobs as service body trucks, but because they are enclosed, they’re great for protecting valuable tools and equipment from the elements and preventing theft. They also provide ample storage for larger items such as ladders, pipe, conduit, large spools of wire, and more.

Dump Bodies: The construction industry relies heavily on dump trucks and makes up a large percentage of the dump truck market share. Dump trucks come in many different sizes and styles, from standard dump trucks, to transfer dump trucks, side dump trucks, semi-trailer bottom dump trucks, and many more. The Drop Side Contractor Body from our manufacturing partner Knapheide is an example of a heavy-duty dump body designed specifically for the construction industry. It features drop sides for increased load capacity, a double-acting tailgate, a behind-the-cab trip lever for quick access to dumping operation, and an aerodynamic, tapered bulkhead for improved visibility. No matter what type of body you choose, you can take your setup to the next level with a custom dump truck that’s built with your specific needs and goals in mind.

Platform Bodies: Platform bodies are used by construction companies to safely and efficiently  haul bulk materials and large equipment to and from worksites. Platform bodies are typically labeled by “class”, ranging from class 2 to class 8, and are often grouped into light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty categories. If you’ll be transporting especially heavy loads, you’ll need a platform body with heavy-duty bulkheads and external rub rails in order to ensure your cargo stays locked and loaded.

Contractor & Concrete Bodies: Available from some manufacturers like our partner Knapheide, Contractor Bodies are specifically optimized for the construction industry. With integrated accessories such as over-and-under body toolboxes, a material rack, a hauling platform, and stake racks, they are prepared to handle a wide range of jobs onsite.

Keep in mind, all of these truck bodies can be upfitted with custom add-ons, accessories, and graphics. We’ll explore this more in the sections below.



Flatbed or Standard? Choosing a Construction Truck Bed

As mentioned above, platform or flatbed trucks are perfect for transporting building materials, hauling large or heavy equipment, transporting scraps away from job sites, or other hauling needs. Flatbed trucks can also be customized or upfitted to handle additional tasks.

On the other hand, flatbed trucks typically don’t have sides or a roof, so they aren’t the best option for everyone in the industry. If you’ll be hauling loose materials regularly, a dump truck might better suit your needs. There are also hybrid flatbed dump trucks available if you have needs for both. Alternatively, if you carry lots of valuable tools and equipment, you might prefer a service or utility body truck that can securely store everything and protect it from the elements.


More Considerations for Your Next Construction Vehicle

When choosing a construction truck of any kind, it’s important to keep the types of construction jobs you and your crew will be performing in the forefront of your mind. During your search, pay close attention to your material weight, towing, and hauling capacity needs. Will this truck need to haul heavy loads to and from the construction site?

Another important choice you’ll have to make is whether to go with a diesel or gas engine for your next work truck. Diesel engines are often preferred over gasoline engines for their relative fuel-efficiency and durability. They do tend to cost more, but that cost can be justified for many large-scale applications in the construction industry.

You’ll also need to pay attention to the materials that comprise the truck body. Typically, you’ll be choosing between steel and aluminum bodies and accessories. Consider the following factors when deciding between the two:

Durability: Steel is approximately four times stronger than the strongest aluminum available. This makes steel more heavy-duty and less subject to warping, scratching or denting over time. On the flip side, steel is more subject to rust and corrosion. However, many manufacturers can add protective coating to steel to avoid this problem.

Weight: Steel is a more dense, heavier element than aluminum. Aluminum flatbed bodies often weigh about half as much as steel ones. This is one of the primary reasons why aluminum flatbed platform bodies are gaining popularity.

Recyclability: Both aluminum and steel can be recycled, however aluminum requires more advanced processing, while steel is the most recycled material in the world.

Price: By the pound, aluminum is more expensive than steel. You can generally expect to pay more for aluminum flatbed bodies than for steel ones.

When in doubt, consult with truck customization experts about your specific needs and the options available to you.


construction vehicles


Accessories to Upfit Your Construction Truck and Trailer

Once you’ve explored the above options, you can focus on the finishing touches and upfit or customize whatever type of construction truck you choose for maximum versatility. The addition of a few key accessories to whatever truck body you decide to buy can help maximize your efficiency, safety, and productivity.

Below are some of the most popular truck accessories used by the construction industry:

Tie-Down Straps: These are used to hold down and secure cargo or equipment during transport.

Ladder & Material Racks: Ladder racks are most commonly added to the top of a service body truck to transport not only ladders but a wide range of building materials to and from job sites.

Mechanical Drawers: Drawer units are a great way to improve the organization of your tools and work more efficiently onsite. They come in a variety of sizes and can be custom-made to suit your specific storage needs.

Power Locks: Installing power locks and/or a master lock bar will keep your valuable tools and equipment, as well as your truck, more secure.

Lift Gates: Lifts can be added to a wide range of truck bodies so that you can safely and easily transfer heavy equipment, tanks, bulk materials, and more. You’ll get more work done and reduce the risk of injury onsite.

Trailer Hitch: The ability to safely and securely haul equipment and trailers is essential in nearly every field of work, and construction is no exception.

Cranes: Adding a crane to your construction truck is a great way to diversify your business and maximize your lifting capabilities. To learn more, read our guide to getting a service truck crane installed.

There are many more accessories and add-ons to consider; the list above is really just the tip of the iceberg. Talk over your needs with our truck customization department and explore all that’s possible!

Properly Maintaining Your Construction Trucks Will Keep It Running for Years to Come

Buying a construction truck is a significant investment, so it’s important to keep it in peak condition with regular maintenance. If you have a large fleet of trucks to maintain, you may want to outsource your preventative maintenance services. No matter how you go about it, having a preventive maintenance program can help extend the life of your vehicles and equipment, prevent more costly repairs down the road, and reduce downtime due to equipment being out of service.



Construction Trucks, Accessories & Customization in Portland, Oregon 

As you can see, there are many different types of construction trucks that can help take your productivity, efficiency, and safety to new heights. And if you want to go a step further, you can customize your work truck and add-on a few key accessories.

If you’re looking for trucks, parts, or customization services in the Portland, Oregon area, our experienced and passionate team is here to help you come up with the perfect setup. Not only are we the oldest Knapheide dealer in Oregon, we also partner with Stellar, Rugby, Meyer Plows, Tommy Gate, and many other great manufacturing companies. We carry a broad selection of service bodies, flatbeds, toolboxes, dump bodies, hoists, liftgates, canopies, electric and hydraulic cranes, hooklifts, and much more – in stock to get you back to work as quickly as possible.

To get started, request a quote today!