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Old 08-04-2005, 07:48 AM   #1
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Hello, what an excellent board. I think this is exactlly where I need to pose these questions... I hope you can help.

I am in the process of pulling together a business plan for a mobile service business that will be dedicated to large events like NASCAR races and the like. I am investigating purchasing a toterhome with a garage and pulling a trailer that houses the meat of the business. I am looking at a 22' toter with a 47 - 53' trailer. I may go with a smaller toter but the trailer is pretty well fixed. I will be pulling this on a 5th wheel and the overall weight will be 25 - 30 tons.

Now for the interesting questions... In your opinion, do you think I would be forced to obtain a CDL? I think I would do this anyway, just want your opinion. What about licensing and registration? Would this need a federal ID number (ICC I think) and apportion the fuel taxes? This is where I have no real clue. Everything I read says yes, but I hope not. Do you know when the requirments for logs and rest are must haves as well? This is another gray area for me. Total length wise I think I would be okay, but am I missing something there as well?

I appreciate any help you might be able to provide.

Mike
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Old 08-04-2005, 11:09 AM   #2
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You will be over 26,000 pounds and in a commercial activity. There is no wiggle room here. Either follow ALL of the commercail regs, or run illegal until you get caught. Doing it legal is MUCH cheaper and easier.

You need a log book and follow ALL of the regs on rest, etc., if you are more than 100 miles from home.

You will need ICC numbers if you want to drive on the roads with this rig.
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Old 08-04-2005, 11:22 AM   #3
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for the info. Nope, wouldnt do anything on the illegal side, hence the questions. I was just getting confused as the regulations give differing weight cut-offs for things. The important thing to come away with is the 26,000 ponds is the magic number that kicks you into the requirements. I can now have a little better understanding of the startup costs.

Do you know where the log book requirements are within the CFR? DOT is in the 49 CFR. Do you recall where the laws regulating the logs resides?

If anyone has anything else to add, please do.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-15-2005, 01:20 PM   #4
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Mike,

What gets you into having to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations ("FMCSR") is your intended use of the vehicle for a "commercial purpose."

There is a provision in 49 CFR 390.3(f)(3)and its interpretation that exempts "individuals" from having to comply with the FMCSRs (except the CDL and DOT physical requirements), so long as they are not operating for a commercial purpose. Essentially, this exemption indicates that an individual who is using their own CMV to transport their own possessions, such as race cars, boats, and horses to sporting events where prize money is awarded, are exempt from the FMCSRs so long as they are not doing so for a commercial purpose. The interpretation of 49 CFR 390.3(f)(3) indicates that so long as you are declaring any prize money, etc., recived as regular income, are not deducting expenses, and do not have "corporate sponsership," you are not operating for a commercial purpose and are exempt from the FMCSRs. Nevertheless, you still have to have a CDL and DOT physical. The regs also leave it up to the states as to how to license such vehicles. In WV, this equates to a class B truck license because the apportioned license and IFTA require you to be a business. I live in WV and have been operating under this provision for two years now, but will soon be converting my truck to an RV.

Given that you plan on running a business, you will have to comply with the FMCSRs, most likely as a "Private Carrier" because you will only be using the vehicle to transport your own possessions as opposed to the possossions of others "For Hire." Check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's web page at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov. It has links to the various regulations and an excelent Q&A section that will guide you as to the particular type of operating authority you will need to properly operate your business. You also need to contact the WV PSC to register and the IRP/IFTA section of the WVDMV to obtain your license.
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:12 AM   #5
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Hi Vern396,

Excellent information. This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you.

The website that you pointed me to is a great resource. I had been there, deep in the bowels, and never did click on the "home" link to get to the home page. I was clicking on links from search pages.

Anyway, I want to thank you again and now I know why all the trucks at the race (NASCAR) said "not for hire" on them. I thought people were coming up to them asking them to haul stuff for them. Now it is crystal clear!

Mike
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:37 PM   #6
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Mike,

Glad to point you in the right direction. However, this is only the begining. As you will soon figure out,if you don't already know, there are many governmental agencies, both state and federal, that are going to want a piece of your action, i.e., tax dollars from the money your planned business will earn. It seems like when you run a business, and especially one involving the use of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV), every bureaucrat in the country wants to put his or her hands in your hip pocket. Some examples include the federal highway heavy use tax, the International Registration Plan (IRP), and the International Fuel Tax Agreement(IFTA)that are applcable to CMVs. The tax burden and reporting requirements associated with these can be reduced, if you pay particular attention to how you register your CMV. Yes, I said your CMV.

Though you plan on buying a Toterhome which arguably can be registered as an RV (WV says that if it has a commercial type fith-wheel, it is not an RV), the law enforcement types I have spoken to have indicated to me that they will treat such vehicles as CMVs if you are running a business. I have also been informed that the law enforcement officals in North and South Carolina, where NASCAR is prevelant, believe that if a vehicle is over 10,000 lbs. and is towing a trailer, it is a CMV, regardless of what the registration says, and require you to have a CDL, log book, and etc. I haven't had an opportunity, professionally or through my racing, to argue the exception in 49 CFR 390.3(f)(3) with them yet and hope to never have to. Essentially, if it looks like a CMV, sounds like a CMV and smells like a CMV, they are going to treat it that way and will put you out of service in addtion to writing you several citations for a bunch of money, and possibly, impound your rig and trialer pending your court date. In effect they believe in shooting first, and asking questions later. I'm certain that law enforcement types in other states will act accordingly, and I shutter to imagine what the peoples republic of California would do Have I scared you yet?

Since you are planning on running a business, I belive it would be a lot safer, and cheaper, in the long run to just obtain your private carrier authority, assuming you don't plan to haul things for other people, and comply with the many laws and regulations that are applicable to CMVs.

Some other things to investigate before you buy a truck, whatever type, and start your business. Are the federal and state bridge law formulas, and lenth restrictions. It will do you no good to buy something that will be illegal to operate in most, if not all, of the states you plan to operate in.

It sounds like you have already considered many of these things and are headed in the right direction. Just remeber, its often the question unasked or the law unknown that is the undoing of man.
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:49 PM   #7
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Mike,
When I pulled into the rest area in NC last year and asked the NC DOT officer doing an inspection an a truck, if I had to have a CDL or stop for scales, he told me no I did not. My Show Hauler was registered as a motorhome and did not fall under his guidelines.
Right wrong or indefferent I will travel along until told otherwise.
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Old 08-18-2005, 10:31 PM   #8
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....I think the real issure is what the insurance company's is going to decide....DOT and Fed's generally follow the insurance companies recomondations.....there is a request out now to persons/companies/groups for recomondations for FMVS regs.....you know the insurance companies are jumping on this opportunity to cut responcibility for losses.....after 9/11 they are scared to death of a trucking related bombing or something like that......geofkaye
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Old 08-19-2005, 07:19 AM   #9
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Hey Wick, Kaye Rivercity:

Glad to see others joining the conversation! Both of you have raised very good points.

Wick I agree with you. While licensing my truck and trailer, I spoke to the DOT Directors of WV, VA, NC, SC, TN, OH, PA, KY and MD. I also spoke to several DOT and State Highway Patrol officers in these states. All of them said they were not interested in true RVs, but do look for those businesses that are trying to beat the system. The states concern's are two fold, public safety and revenue.

On the public safety side, they don't want someone who has been working for hours and days on end driving thousands of miles a week down the road sleepy and exhausted in a vechicle that has not went through a safety inspection in a year to end up running over their citizens(read taxpayers). Hence, their concern for the enforcement of the FMCSRs and the Hours of Service Regulations. They want CMVs to be safe and properly insured and drivers to be safe and well rested. This is not so much a concern with RVs because most don't travel the number of miles a year that CMVs do and, nine times out of ten, the RV probably went through a safety inspection before the faimily left on vacation. Besides the RV driver is in what has to be one of the more luxurious motor homes on the road and is on vactation resting and relaxing, not busting his hump down the road trying to make a living. The RV driver probably just crawled out of a queen size bed after having a good nights sleep.

On the revenue side, CMVs generate billions of dollars a year in revenue for states. Yes, Billions with a cap-B. Every mile a CMV travels through a state generates tax dollars in the form of fuel taxes, hiway use taxes, apportioned license fees, and etc, and etc. The CMV driver is busting his or her hump down the highway to get to where they have to be and may not stop in the state nor spend a dime there all while making money driving down the higway the state paid to pave. Hence, the only shot the state has of making a dime off of the CMV is the aforementioned taxes and fees, and thus, their concerns for regulation of CMVs. The family in the RV on the other hand is on vactaion. They are liekely to stop in the state to see the sights, eat a meal or two, buy some fuel (the tax dollars off of which the state does not have to refund if the RV dose not use all of the fuel in the state) and buy some souvenirs and junk food at the convience store.

Looking at the pictures of your Show Hauler (nice ride by the way!)it looks like an RV, does not have a commercial fith wheel, is not pulling a 48'-53' trailer with a mobile service shop in it, and I imagine is registered in your name not a company's. I don't imagine you will have any problem. Mike on the other hand is a differnt story. Granted, Mike can buy a toterhome, register it as an RV and go cruzing down the highway. He may never get stopped, but if the right DOT officer does stop him and starts noesing around and finds out that he is running a business, its going to cost him a lot more than if he had just played the states' game right the first time. Trust me, the local prosecutor is not going to have a sence of humor and will want to crucify him in the name of saftey, economic regulation, and getting reelected. Besides the states are starting to catch on.

I don't know if this link will work (http://www.dragracingonline.com/archives.html), but if it don't, chek out the article in the Dead On colum of the July 8, 2005, issue in the archives. Yes, the driver was in a pick-up, but it gives you an example of the trouble that can happen with the right DOT officer.
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Old 08-19-2005, 11:12 AM   #10
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so,---- it must be so--- but damn that sure don't seem right-- mase
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Old 08-19-2005, 03:04 PM   #11
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Now that IS an article! This is exactly what I want to avoid.

If all things work out and everyone just loves my business plan and they give me money to start this business... There is absolutely no freaking way I would screw up an entire weekend and loss of cash flow for this. I will pay my fees and I will also go to a driving school (insurance anyone?) to make sure that I am the best, and most compliant, trucker on the road. I would have to support my business and ultimately my ever expanding family with this business. I see no reason to try and get by (not implying anything here). I will do it right or I will find something else to try.

I guess the moral of the story is..., there is no way I would gamble on something as (relatively) easy to complete is this process. It is a cumbersome, red tape filled nightmare I know. But, it can be done with a little effort. I know that this meets the scope of THEIR definition of a commercial enterprise.

My only real complaint with all of this is that they (govt dept) need to get together once in a while and abandon their silos and think, "what does someone need to have that has never done this before?". I know, something like a decision tree that will identify all of the competing regulations and tell a person exactly what they need to do to get a business off the ground!
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Old 11-24-2005, 02:38 PM   #12
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Hi all! I would like to make a quick intro then add to this discussion. While I don't currently own an RV, I do co-own a small horse farm. As such, I pull both horse and equipment trailers. I drove commercially for ~12 years, went to school, worked in high tech for 20 years until my work went to China and have been back at commercial driving for over 2 years again. Currently laid up and off of work, I started cruising the RV boards and found this one interesting. I would like to add my two cents on occasion especially on touchy subjects like this one.

Horse haulers are going through these same problems. If you looked up the drag racing link, imagine leaving live animals cramped in a box along the road. Fortunately, these incidents don't happen that often but indeed they do happen.

Along with the med card, etc., suppose that you had a radar detector on the dash? Had a drink? Your allowable BAC is only .02 and don't have any alcoholic beverage in the vehicle.

RV's, trailers for different applications, etc. is one murky subject for sure. Generally speaking though if legal in your home state, you are legal elsewhere to a point. Your rig must conform to applicable DOT regs as in lighting, tire size, rating, wear, and your air brakes must be adjusted to be within spec, commercial or not. Commercial or not, you must adhere to each state's weight(see next paragraph)and length laws. http://www.hitchemup.com/statetowinglaws.htm
In the case of hauling vehicles, equipment, etc., securement regs can be enforced.

One area the car/equipment hauler trailer pullers, commercial or not get in trouble with is being overweight. For example, lets say the 10k licensed trailer you are pulling along with your rig is legal in combination in that the trailer axle(s) are within spec but close to the max allowable. An officer could direct you to seperate the tow vehicle and perhaps your trailer including tongue weight is now over 10k.
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Old 11-27-2005, 10:17 PM   #13
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.....there is away around this....simply have a friend that tows- for Free-he even has to pay his own way into the track-but tows you as a friend and for fun.....I do this for a girl that dragraces some times in the summer with my roll-off wrecker-which is a Non-Commercial Roll-Off. I purchase my own ticket and Food/Cokes....I just watch her blow the engine now and then....but she is getting better and better-so it's not as much a joke anymore.....another year or two and I'll be towing another Danica.....[I hope]....geofkaye[when you own a wrecker You get a lot of friends-'specially women friends]
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Old 07-12-2006, 02:16 PM   #14
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bump for a related question...

suppose a rig is owned by a nonprofit w/ federal 501c3 status & the rig was [partially] funded by sponsors, thus requiring logos, etc to be displayed.

would a CDL be necessary? technically the use would be non-commercial, correct?

where can I find a conclusive answer?
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Old 07-12-2006, 07:39 PM   #15
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Scott

I think you should contact the person whom would be issuing a ticket, fine, impound...

Seems that if they are the ones to issue tickets, they should be the ones who know, correct?
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Old 07-13-2006, 12:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by BravestDog:
I think you should contact the person whom would be issuing a ticket, fine, impound...

Seems that if they are the ones to issue tickets, they should be the ones who know, correct?
yup, but it seems like it should be in writing somewhere as well... just asking to see if anyone here knew.
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Old 07-13-2006, 04:49 PM   #17
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Scott

someone here may know, but if you don't get a response,

start with a few phone calls to narrow down the contacts, then send one or more agencys a letter requesting an answer. see what happens and let us know.

maybe there's a flaw in the system that needs to be fixed, you can get credit.
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