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Commercial License plates

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by lasher66, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. lasher66

    lasher66 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 399

    I was just wondering if you guys have to have commercial plates on a lawn business trailer and the truck. I live in Ohio and it just bugs the **** out of me that I have to pay that much more for both trailer and truck. I can see having the plate on the trailer since that is the main business equipment, but I use my truck for personal use also. Do any of you guys not use them and all? And does anyone know how much trouble you can get into if you get caught? Just curious.

  2. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    In Nebraska all truck are lisencened either farm or commercial.
    No choice.
    I think there is only one type on trailer license. I do know that a personal trailer does not have to titledbut a ocmmercial one does.
    I'm sure every state is different
  3. People started telling me about some of the consequences of not having commercial plates.

    1. You have to have commercial plates to put your company's name on the truck.
    2. You need commercial plates to insure the truck on a commercial policy (which I have)
    3. To deduct the truck and it's operating costs as a business expense it needs commercial plates.
    4. Commercial plates are tax deductable.

    So it's not just the license bureau that this is concerned with. It's related to your insurance, the IRS and probably more.

    I got the commercial plates.

  4. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    Just as David explained... in order to depreciate your truck it needs to be in the company name which subsequently will require commercial plates.

    As well - if you operate as a corporation and you use a personal vehicle for buisness (the truck registered in your name) and you're sued as a result of an accident - you may find some attorney who's going to argue that you're not really a corporation, since there appears to be no separation between yourself and your business. Hence you've "pierced the corporate veil" and exposed yourself personally to business liability.

    It's both the legal and professional way to operate your business - get the commercial plates. It's the cost of doing business.
  5. site

    site LawnSite Member
    Messages: 168

    If you are crossing state lines you need apportioned plates- plates which register your vehicle in multiple states.
    IN ANY STATE-If your GCVW is over 10,000lbs and you are on the highway passing a weigh station you have to stop and provide...
    A health certificate
    A fire extinguisher
    Reflective triangles
    A DOT number displayed as specified by the DOT on the side of your truck.
    Your company name displayed on the side of your truck
    A buckled seatbelt
    They will also go over your truck with a fine toothed comb looking for exaust leaks, worn tires, worn suspention, worn brakes, trailer lights out, etc. They will issue tickets for EVERYTHING they find wrong. We once got 13 violations in one stop. THe next time we got 5. And, our trucks are prettty good compared to most landscapers.
    Exceptions to the rule- Trucks over 10,000lbs GCVW that are not owned for the purpose of generating income for their owners can drive right by. LIke if you have a big trailer full of four wheelers and no signs on your truck.
    Avoiding weigh stations is common, but dont blow by... then you'll really get in trouble.
  6. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 949

    If you are a sole prop. than I don't know what is the right thing. I am the business so I am not sure if that excludes me from this. I don't have commercial plates on my truck or trailer and I see very few around here that do.
  7. lasher66

    lasher66 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 399

    I am a sole proprietor also. That is why I posted this question too, because I notice most guys that work by themselves dont have commercial plates. I asked the license bureau and they told me if you are using the trailer or vehicle to make any money out of, then it is commercial. So does this mean that if I cut 4 lawns on the side (as an example) , I have to go out and buy $130 commercial plates to do so. Sounds like the government is just wanting more money. I still depreciate my truck , but if I get audited hopefully they dont give me any probs.

  8. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    You could just come to Illinois where they charge that for ALL trucks under 16K regardless of com. or not. License your single axle trailer for next to nothing, and get spanked for a trailer that will haul anything.
  9. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    The law is in black and white. Often times you have to decide for yourself what you think you can or can not reasonably risk by not following law. I'm not advocating breaking the law - but at times we all drive 36 in a 35 mph zone.

    Does the 12 year old kid mowing grass for neighbors fill out a schedule C every year for $1,000 in summer income? Do all restaurant servers report their cash tips?

    Asking if you should buy $130 commercial plates for mowing four lawns is tough for us to answer - YES you should legalistically. Practically, that's another answer. Should you buy them at 10 lawns? How about 20? Is 30 enough? When you decide that shade of gray is getting to close to black for your own comfort - that's when you buy your commercial plates.
  10. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249


    I have blown a lot of ports pulling a stock trailer behind my pickup. And have never been pulled in. I think the guys at the port figure that I am probably local, and they don't have time for all the local guys to be at a commercial facility. That is all scale houses between here and RI.

    One thing that I think is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO stupid, I forget which state, but one in the midwest, has a sign by their ports that states "all vehicles weighing over 6000 lbs must pull in" along with their other messages. Do they realize that if that sign were to be enforced that EVERY guy driving by with a 3/4 or larger pickup would be pulling in? Regardless of commercial or TOTALLY private. What a DUMB law. Needless to say I do not pull in.

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