Question about USDOT number

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by bnrhuffman, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. bnrhuffman

    bnrhuffman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    Ive got a DOT question. How many of you actually have USDOT numbers? I know that anything over 10000lbs GVCW requires a USDOT number if its used for interstate commerce. How many of you actually mess with this? Im not trying to get over but I see lots of company vehicles around here that are over 10000 GCWR that dont display numbers. Its not hard to go over GCWR, thats basically a pickup pulling a 7000lbs trailer. Am I missing something or do I not understand exactly what "interstate commerce" is? Im starting a very part time landscaping bus. with no employees and just one truck, an F350 dually w/8' dumpbed (and a trailer). I travel between states with the truck, for the landscaping, but mostly commuting for my full time job. I would really rather not worry with the DOT if I can avoid it.
  2. ipm

    ipm LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 264

    I know in the state of Ga. especially Roswell you are required to display USDOT numbers. We have them on our trucks that pull loaders because of the weight issues and Isuzu Npr's. I see others around that do not have them and question it as well. The numbers also require that you have annual inspections and carry certain supplies on your trucks.
  3. bnrhuffman

    bnrhuffman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    The USDOT website is confusing to say the least but it appears that there is a required physical for all drivers of a USDOT registered vehicle every two years. Do I have that right? Whether or not a vehicle needs a number may be determined by how its registered / titled. Are your vehicles registered to you personally or to your business? My business will be a sole propietorship so I can leave the truck registration / title in my name, not the business, which means as far as the DOT and DMV are concerned, its my personal vehicle. Im just throwing ideas out there trying to figure out whats going on with this before I start things up.
  4. ipm

    ipm LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 264

    You do have to have a DOT physical in order to drive a commercial vehicle.

    I would recommend hiring a corp. attorney or tax attorney. He can advise you on your legal rights.

    There are all kinds of ways to structure yourself.

    Are you going to incorporate, etc.?
  5. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    I don't beleive that titling or registration status of a vehicle has anything to do with the need for a DOT number. I think the criteria is how it is used.

    Austreim Landscaping
  6. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I would have to agree with Doug on this one. If the vehicle is used for a commercial purpose, you must have a USDOT number. The number is the same for ALL vehicles you operate, so you only have to get the number once. You may have to submit yearly updates or something if you get new vehicles, I have no idea on that one.

    We just changed from a sole proprietorship to a coporation, and we had DOT numbers before we incorporated. Granted, they are not on the truck, but we do have the numbers...

    Unfortunately, no one around here can give us a straight answer on the inspection side of things.....

  7. bnrhuffman

    bnrhuffman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    D Felix,
    Having your vehicles registered with the USDOT and not having the numbers displayed is probably a bigger fine than not registering at all and I feel your pain about the inspections. In WV we need an annual inspection for all vehicles. The last time I got the truck inspected, I asked if the DOT inspection was any different and if it needed to be done by a DOT inspector or just a WV state inspector. He didnt have a clue what I was talking about. So I guess he doesnt do them, then a couple of days later I saw an F700 dump truck there being inspected. Go figure.
    I know that if a truck over 10000 CGVW (again, you put a lawn equipment trailer behind your pickup, your probably over 10000) is used for interstate commerce (not sure exactly what that means except it must be used commercially and cross state lines) it must carry a USDOT number.
    What I meant when I said maybe its the way its registered and titled that makes a difference is that whos to know how you are using it at any given time if its registered to you personally. I commute back and forth across state lines everyday to and from my full time job. If I drive my F350 (GVWR 14400) to work (I actually do), I dont need a USDOT number. If I stop on the way home and pick up a load of mulch to take to my house, I dont need a number. If I use the bathroom at my house then take the truck to my neighbors house and dump off the mulch for $100, do I now need a number and if so, whos going to know and how will they inforce it?
    Im not trying to be argumentative. Im just trying to figure out why some people display numbers and others, within the same or similar industries with the same vehicles, dont. I really would like to do things legally, thats why Im bothering to ask, but if I dont need to mess with the DOT, or more so, if they arent going to mess with me, thats just that much less expense and hassle for this part time sole proprietor. I could just call the DOT but I know exactly what their answer will be. "Yes you need to register". Thats pretty standard and I wouldnt expect them to say anything different, even if its not true.
  8. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Why some people comply and some don't is no different than a lot of other things that are discussed on this site. Some people comply and do things right and some don't. Its kind of like the lottery. The first time that I was stopped, and made aware of all of the things that we were'nt doing quite right, was a completely random stop along the highway. As I was being pulled over, I though I've got nothing to worry about, I've done everything right. Come to find out, because I hadn't thoroughly researched the regs, I had quite a few things that were'nt correct. Was'nt that burdensome to get right, but just had to find out the answers. You can get some of that from the DOT Federal office in your state, but you also have to check with your state Highway Patrol, or Carrier Enforcement as well.

    Also keep in mind, that not only do you have to display the DOT number, you also have to display your City and State.

    Austreim Landscaping
  9. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    One day I hooked my F350 to my 9900 lb. trailer and headed 20 miles to the steel yard. Checked my lights, had all my docs. Thought I was good. Stopped by a State trooper going around the corner cause I had a ramp chain break and it flopped down. Wouldn't you know it. Found out I needed a dot physical even though I didn't need a CDL. Any gvwr over 10K, including personal use. Also, watch yopur trailers cause any trailer over 10K requires that CDL. Cop was way cool and issued afew warning, then gave me a safety test sticker. By the way, I passed my CDL A test yesterday and I feel good!
  10. amw

    amw LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    if you dont leave your state the people you sould be calling are YOUR state DOT and your state police motor carrier div.
    USDOT is ONLY for people who leave the state their biz. is located in.. (per mich state police MCD)

    (needing a cdl would also be up to each state.)(per DMV in mich)

    i guess all im getting at is if you dont know your states rule/regs. you should call them ....instead of asking a bunch of people who live all over the world ...(no offence to anyone)


Share This Page