QUESTION: so I have been trying to get a hotshot company started, and I was wondering if I had to be DOT certified, on my 96 f-350 with a 16 ft car hauling tilt flat bed. I realize that once I can get a bigger trailer I will have to... but until then what are the necessary steps in getting a company up and going?? any guidance would be great thanks- Kieran
ANSWER: If your combination will exceed 10,000 pounds and you cross a state line, yes you will need a DOT number and MC authority. The DOT number is your operating authority while the MC number is your authority to be for hire by others.
Typically, if your combination exceeds 17,000 pounds and you do not cross a state line, you will still need both authorities. This can vary by state.
Their are a number of private companies that will help you get these numbers for a fee. Www.getyourauthority.com
You can also go the federal website www.fmcsa.dot.gov and go through them. There is still a fee but not an extra fee like the private companies.
You will need to carry insurance that makes the Feds happy, not your own daily driver insurance. That is part of the authority.
Once you get your authority, you WILL get a new entrant audit by the USDOT within the first year. They will come by to look at your driver file, vehicle Maint file and make sure you are operating within the regs.
I foresee a potential problem with a 19 year old truck in that some companies have an age limit on equipment.
If this seems like a lot to do...it can be. But if it was easy, everybody would do it.
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QUESTION: So why would it matter the age of my equipment? It's all very very mechaniclly sound equipment no issues what so ever?
Different companies have varying age limits on equipment.
For instance , Schneider allows any age for vans but for those who go west of the Mississippi, the truck must be 2008 or newer.
The idea is that an older truck is more prone to break down than a newer truck. They have heard a lot of people tell them how well they maintain their trucks but the fact is that older trucks tend to have more problems. Breakdowns = missed delivery deadlines.
Your truck is 19 years old.
If you were looking to hire someone to haul as you do , would you hire the guy with the 2010 truck or the 1996 truck ? ( all things otherwise being about equal)
It may not be a problem and certainly when you have some experience and are found to be reliable, it isn't likely to be one.
I wish you well in your ambitions to get into transportation biz !