How.Old.Do You Have To Be To Leave Home In Maryland Does My Pressure Washing Business Rig Need a USDOT Number?

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Does My Pressure Washing Business Rig Need a USDOT Number?

When I first came into the pressure washing industry, I was away from working as a commercial driver for over twenty years. I was thinking how nice it would be to get rid of all those auto carrier regulations that have been such a grind in my career.

I could not have been more wrong. Not long after I started, I was doing residential cleaning for a law enforcement officer. When I was rolling the hose after I was done, he asked me how much my truck and trailer weighed.

“I don’t know, I’m licensed for extra tonnage so I’m not overweight,” was my simple answer. I take absurd pride in taking my time and trying not to cheat on my license and expected weight limits.

“Where’s your DOT number?” was his next easy question.

I, like many other pressure washing service providers in my area, don’t even think about the basic requirements of operating a commercial vehicle. After being fined $100, I made sure to rectify the situation. I got my DOT number.

Trying to decide if you need a DOT number can be a conundrum, and there are some state-specific requirements to be aware of, but my clients say it’s pretty basic, “If you have a truck or trailer and/or a multi-axle trailer with your company logo , if you don’t have a USDOT number, I’ll ticket you.”

Actual requirements can be found on the U.S. Department of Transportation website. There’s a ton of information out there, and resources to help make sense of it all. There’s even an online questionnaire to help you when you’re trying to determine if you need to get a DOT number in the first place.

The requirements are pretty basic and are listed below. You need a USDOT number if:

o Operate a vehicle over 10,000 pounds,

o transport 9 to 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation,

o Carrying 16 or more passengers, or

o Transportation of hazardous materials in interstate commerce.

You should be aware that once you have a USDOT number, there are some record keeping requirements. For example, this is something to be aware of if you’re carrying dangerous goods (such as large quantities of sodium hypochlorite) or flammable liquids (such as machine fuel) and a spare tank or two. You must also be registered as a HAZMAT carrier and keep records of materials and quantities carried. You will have to implement a safety program and driver qualification records, as well as driver service time records.

That sounds like a lot of red tape, but it’s what’s required for a legitimate pressure washing business that operates machinery that meets the Department of Transportation’s regulatory guidelines. This is the cost of doing business and needs to be part of your business plan. Remember that these records are relatively simple and can be helpful to build on what you already have.

In my experience, motor vehicle safety regulations can be interpreted in many ways, so it’s best to consult your state’s DOT as well as your state’s local carrier enforcement. They should have the latest information they need to help you stay compliant. The USDOT website has links to all state DOT websites.

Again, this information can be contradictory, so find the most knowledgeable person possible, and the fine rises dramatically from my paltry hundred dollars. Don’t bet the company on what some staff members have to say, ask the questions you need to get the clearest possible answers.

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