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Thread: Usdot numbers - do you need one?

  1. #1

    Default Usdot numbers - do you need one?

    The question I pose is this... Do you need a USDOT Number on your vehicles?

    The answer is this... I think???

    Chances are most contractors in our industry actually are required to be registered and display the numbers.

    The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration requires that any vehicle that has a GVW of more than 10,000 pounds be registered and display the USDOT numbers. What does this mean?

    If you are driving a vehicle and pulling a trailer, if the combined GVRW (gross vehicle registration weight) of the vehicle and trailer exceeds 10000 pounds, the numbers are required.

    The irony of it is this... If you have even a 1/2 ton pickup pulling a dual axle trailer (GVW 7000 pounds) you exceed the 10,000 pound weight.

    What does it mean for our daily operating procedures? It doesn't cost anything to register, you don't need a CDL (under 26000 GVW), you have to have a fire extinguiser and road warning triangles, but most importantly, you are required to stop at the DOT Checkpoints and weigh stations.

    I got this info from a pretty reliable source. If anyone has any other insight and facts it would be appreciated.
    M. Johnson
    Pressure Washing Services, Inc.
    Send Email
    Property Cleaning Mobile Hotline 607-435-5539

  • #2

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?


    Federal rules apply IF you are doing INTERstate travelling. Some states, NY included, also require the DOT number with the state abbreviation for INTRAstate business.. Last I checked there were 13 states that had the rules.

    The problem as I see it...once you get the number, and I have mine, then you are subject to the Fed DOT audit. And you need all the paper work/policies that the over the road trucking companies have, i.e. Drug policy, driver review policy, etc., etc., ad nausem

    Beside the fire ex and triangles, you also need a medical card, properly lettered vehicle, annual inspections on both truck and trailer. You will also need driver logs, depending on your situation. Cannot think of the proper name right now, but you will need to pay a fee for a CFR (?)
    Doug Tripp
    Valley Mobile Cleaning, Inc
    845 544 3645

  • #3

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?


  • #4

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?

    It's 26,001 here for intrastate.

    Maybe I should push to get it lowered to 10,000 like other other smarter states eliminate hackers.

    What a small price to pay to prove I'm serious about my business.

    Free FREE Events

  • #5

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?

    Written by Scott Millen (Stainless Deal)

    When I first came to the pressure washing industry, I was leaving over twenty years as a commercial driver. I was thinking how nice it would be to be free of all those motor carrier regulations that had been such a grinding part of my career.
    I could not have been more wrong. Not long after starting, I was doing a residential cleaning for a law enforcement officer. As I was rolling hose after finishing, he asked me how much my truck and trailer weighed.
    "I don't know, I licensed for extra tonnage so I would not be overweight," was my easy answer. I was absurdly proud of having taken the time and made the effort not to cheat on my licensing and expected weight limits.
    "Where is your DOT number?" was his next easy question.
    I, like so many other pressure washing service providers in my area, had not even given a thought to this basic requirement for operating commercial vehicles. After a $100 fine, I made sure to rectify the situation.

    I got my DOT number.

    Trying to decide whether or not you require a DOT number can be a difficult question, and there are some state specific requirements of which to be aware, but my customer said it is pretty basic, "If you have a truck or trailer with company signs, and/or a trailer with more than one axle, I will be writing you a ticket if you do not have a USDOT number."
    The actual requirements can be found on the United States Department of Transportation website. There is a large body of information there, and resources to help understand it all. There is even an online questionnaire to assist you as you try to determine whether or not you are required to have the DOT number in the first place.

    The requirements are pretty basic, and are as follows. You need a USDOT number if you:

    • Operate vehicles that are over 10,000 lbs,
    • Transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation,
    • Transport 16 or more passengers, or
    • Haul hazardous materials in interstate commerce.

    You should be aware that once you have a USDOT number, there are some record-keeping requirements that go along with it. For instance, if you carry hazmat, such as sodium hypochlorite in large amounts, or flammable liquids like your machine's fuel and a spare fuel tank or two, you will need to note that. You will also have to register as a HAZMAT carrier and maintain records of materials and amounts carried. You will have to implement a safety program and a driver qualification record, as well as records of your driver's hours of service records.
    This sounds like a great deal of red tape, but it is what is required to be a legitimate pressure washing business that operates machinery that falls under the Department of Transportation's regulated guidelines. It is a cost of doing business, and needs to be part of your business plan. It is helpful to remember that these records are relatively simple, and can be based on records you already keep.

    In my experience, motor carrier safety regulations are open to various interpretations, so it is probably a good idea to check with your state DOT as well as with the local Carrier Enforcement department in your state. They are supposed to have the current information necessary to assist you in remaining compliant. The USDOT site has links to all the state DOT sites.
    Again, the information can be contradictory, so find the most knowledgeable people you can, the fines ramp up steeply from my paltry hundred dollars. Don't bet the company on the word of some functionary, ask the questions you need to, in order to get the clearest answers possible.
    Ken Fenner
    PressurePros, Inc
    House Washing
    Pressure Washing Companies

  • #6

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?

    I asked about the medical card and such... If you have a CDL it is required. For intrastate carriers, there is less requirements than for those who do interstate trucking.

    Are CMV drivers who operate in interstate commerce required to have a medical certificate? 129
    Drivers are required to have a DOT Medical Certificate:
    If they operate a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross combination weight rating (GCWR), gross vehicle weight (GCW), or gross combination weight (GCW) of 4,536 kilograms or more in interstate commerce.
    If they operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) in interstate commerce.
    If they operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers, for direct compensation, beyond 75 air miles from the driver's normal work-reporting location, in interstate commerce
    If they transport hazardous materials, in a quantity requiring placards, in interstate commerce.

    Here is the story behind this:

    For 5 years I have been traveling the local interstate and have been driving by the DOT checkpoints. Yesterday, as I was driving by, the Trooper turned on his lights and pointed to me. I pulled over just past the rest area and he paid me a visit. He was pretty cool and he took the time to explain the regs and why I was required to have the numbers. He also gave me the information on who to call to help get the numbers and answer my questions. I called the FMCSA rep when I got back to the office and he stepped me through the process on the web and I had the number in 10 minutes.

    I got a notice of three violations that I had to correct in 15 days, sign the report and mail it back to the state when the items were corrected. He didnt write me for any tickets (although he coud have written several), some big $$$ ones as well - operating as a motor carrier unregistered - for one, including impounding my vehicle if he wanted to.

    I was upfront with the Trooper and I told him that I was unaware that I needed the USDOT# and would get them.

    He also told me that there is a national initiative by FDOT and local law enforcement for compliance.

    I just think it is easier to play by there rules than dodge them,

    I hope this helps everyone to avoid a similar scenario.
    M. Johnson
    Pressure Washing Services, Inc.
    Send Email
    Property Cleaning Mobile Hotline 607-435-5539

  • #7

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?

    Great information Matt and I am going to dig deeper on this subject relating to the requirements!!

    Thank you for sharing this. This could be a good topic at the convention!!!
    [B]Carlos Gonzales[/B]
    [B]New Look Power Wash
    [URL=""]Pressure Wash in California[/URL][/B]
    [URL=""][B]California Pressure Washing Blog[/B][/URL]
    [B][URL=""]Pressure Wash Services in San Francisco[/URL][/B]

  • #8

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?

    It's a GVWR total of 10,000 or more here you need a DOT number. That's if the combined truck and trailer are capable of hauling 10K total with load, not what you are actually hauling.

    Don't know if it's related to this but I've seen more big trucks stopped on the interstate highways here in the past 2 weeks than in the past 2 years. The feds must be funding it.

  • #9

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?

    Had a similar experience to Matt, plus a cop that pulled us over every 2 weeks for 3 months to do one inspection or another. No tickets but a pita just the same.

    The federal guidelines are a DOT # for 10k or more whether it is interstate or intrastate commerce even if it is a personal vehicle. If it is a company vehicle it must have a visible name on it and the city and state shown as well.
    Paul Kassander
    The Power Wash Store
    Mobi Clean Inc.

    Pressure Washer Parts, Cleaning Detergents, Pressure Washers, and Pressure Washer Technical Support

    Commercial pressure washer Wisconsin, Fleet washer Wisconsin, Concrete cleaning Wisconsin, [URL=""]Residential property cleaning Wisconsin

  • #10

    Default Re: Usdot numbers - do you need one?

    So with this being many of us have the DOT number that is required?
    [B]Carlos Gonzales[/B]
    [B]New Look Power Wash
    [URL=""]Pressure Wash in California[/URL][/B]
    [URL=""][B]California Pressure Washing Blog[/B][/URL]
    [B][URL=""]Pressure Wash Services in San Francisco[/URL][/B]

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