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Author Topic: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?  (Read 3724 times)

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Offline Resonator

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2019, 08:10:16 AM »
Quote
don't forget to factor ~10% of the trailer & load is transferred to the truck if you get the hitch weighted properly.
You will want to get your empty weight of truck and trailer with a full fuel tank. Then when you are loaded, reweigh to get your gross, and get your individual axle weights (steer, drive, and trailer). WHERE you place the load on the trailer (front to back) will determine how much weight is on the drive axle or trailer axles. (Nice Unimog, a guy could move some snow with that!)
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2019, 08:48:46 AM »
You can derate a trailer to get it where you want it.  Although I have not actually done it, I have contacted all involved parties about the process, including the Al State Troopers.

Its easy if buying a new trailer, the authorized dealer, who doesn't actually get a title with the trailer (they get a dealer exemption) can request a new derated title from the manufacturer.  As long as the trailer has not been modified, and is still new, i.e. still on the dealer's lot, without the title paperwork filled out, they call up the manufacturer, tell them what you want as a rating, and the manaufacturer will issue a new rating sticker which is sent to the dealer, is given to you, and which you stick on the trailer, and take to the county license department where they will register it and issue you a tag.  This only works with a new trailer since the manufacturer can set their weight limits to anything under the axle capacities, for which most trailers are sized.

If a trailer is already titled, then it become harder.  In Alabama, I must got to the license department and request and be issued a modified registration and license with the derated trailer weight.  They will then issue the tag.  However, just getting a lower rated tag won't satisfy the State Troopers, as I've asked them about it, they will still go by the trailer rating sticker on the trailer no matter what the tag says.  So the next step is to call up the trailer manufacturer, and send then a copy of the derated license registration and tag.  They will issue a new trailer sticker that will replace the one on the trailer.  Then depending on the state, all that goes into requesting an adjustment to the title (if your trailer title lists the rating). 

Derating a gooseneck is the same as derating a bumber pull.  If the sticker is simply removed (don't do that) the trooper will crawl under the trailer, check the axle ratings, and set the trailer ratings on that.

By far the easiest way to derate a trailer is at the dealer when buying a new one.  It will take about a week to get the derate paperwork back from the manufacturer.

I personally have PJ Trailers, and these are they steps they confirmed they will follow.  Also, I have talked to a local trailer manufacturer, and they also said they would issue a derated trailer sticker if a customer asked for it with a new trailer.  

A derated trailer can be a problem when it comes time to sell it, but from a $$ to $$ standpoint, the cost of a CDL will probably overcome any loss of value to the trailer.

Here's another personal example the happened to me.  Before I knew anything about this, I had bought a standard double axle, double tired gooseneck, rated at 25,000 lbs.  I didn't even bother really looking at the rating, just liked the look of the trailer.  After a "conversation" with a state trooper, and eventual further conversation all the way up the line to the top trooper in Alabama, he said "If my boys stop you and you are pulling that trailer with your truck and no CDL, your will be getting enough tickets to where you will have to sell the trailer to pay for them."  So I took that to heart, and downtraded that trailer to a lower rated model to get me within regs.  End of story, or so I thought.  Several years later, last July, I get a call out of the blue from a guy in Chattanooga, long way from me, who had bought the trailer from the dealer who I traded with, was using it to haul his landscaping equipment, and had been pulled over and given a knee buster ticket.  He was looking to see if I had a copy of my old title, as he had lost his, big Oops, and told me that his trailer had been taken out of service and all he had now was an $8,000 lawn ornament until he got things fixed.


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Offline Southside

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2019, 09:20:25 AM »
Check the hitch rating and the stinger on your truck if you go with a bumper pull that heavy, most are maxed at 10K. 

I have a friend who just bought a Dodge 4500 and was planning to pull his mini excavator with it on a bumper pull that is heavy enough, but the fancy built in hitch is only 10K rated, so now he has a problem. 
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2019, 10:18:53 AM »
Ugh, I typed this all out yesterday but apparently the interwebs ate my post...

The requirement is below in flowchart format (from the Texas handbook).  I think I have my situation figured out pretty well - I can do what I need to do without a CDL, though one load will be marginal.  I'll be moving up to Idaho over the next few years, by the way - 35-40k of equipment.  Not having a CDL means 4-5 hauling trips instead of 3 with a big trailer but that's not really a problem for me.  Here's my numbers that comply with CDL requirements:
Truck:  15,000 lbs GVWR - 8,500 lbs weight = 6,500 lbs payload capacity
Trailer:  11,000 lbs GVWR trailer - 2490 lbs weight = 8,510 lbs payload capacity   (bumper pull)

The heaviest piece is about 8,800 lbs (pic below), but if I have to I can remove the snowplow which weighs about 1,000 lbs and put it on the truck bed.  That's if the guy I bought it from has equipment to hoist it, which I think he does.   Using a bumper pull allows me to use more of the truck bed and some of the truck's GVWR.  While the truck manufacturer accounts for increased towing capacity with an empty truck, the law does not.

This depends on finding an 11k trailer.  The only one I've found so far is made in Michigan but still looking.  There are quite a few 10.4k trailers around but the 11k gives about 500 lbs more payload which would be handy.  I need a new one anyway as mine is only 6k.  Note that an overweight trailer gets a fine of around $50-$150 and you can keep going (from what I've read, at least up to 1,000 lbs or so), but an overweight truck or over-GVWR combo and you're not going anywhere.

To summarize what I've learned, and has been posted by others - there are two separate things you need to keep in mind:  
1) Combined GVWR (empty or not) - the combined GVWR rating of truck and trailer must be below 26,001 lbs for non-CDL and per flow chart.  Note that if you have a vehicle that can handle it, you can tow more than 10k if you have a truck with a low GVWR.  I don't think you'll find that with a typical truck, it would be a specialty towing vehicle.
2)  Weighing - if you get weighed you must be within the individual GVWR of truck and trailer, and also within the GAWR (axle rating) of both (e.g. 4 axles for a truck with tandem trailer).  Trailers have identical axles so weight distribution could bite you here if you're pushing the maximum.

It sounds like some get hit with #1, others with #2 (literally... lol).  

Also, the lowest GVWR gooseneck I've seen is 14k, so it would be tough if not impossible to find a gooseneck combination that would be non-CDL for any truck these days.  I'm sure that's a huge red flag for the Hwy Patrol.



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Greyman, according to the chart that you posted above (and per NC regulations), if your trailer is rated at 10K lbs or more, you have to have a Class A license.
Keep in mind that a CDL is an overlay on top of Class A, B, etc state licenses.  For a farmer (such as myself), I am exempt from having a CDL if I am on farm related business and within 150 miles of my farm, but I still have to have a Class A license if Iím plated for 26,001 lbs or greater, AND/OR am pulling a trailer that is rated for 10,001 lbs or more.
If I were you, Iíd get a Class A license.  You can argue that you donít need CDL since youíre not towing commercially, but under the weights that you posted you are still required to have a Class A license.
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Offline Greyman

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #44 on: January 07, 2019, 04:41:18 PM »
scsmith42 - the NC manual is the same as Texas, it says you must have a CDL for "A combination vehicle with a GCWR of 26,0001 lbs or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs."   It took me a while to understand that distinction - it's non-CDL to pull a 15k GVWR trailer if your vehicle is rated at 11k or less, for example.  If you have a 40k GVWR truck you could get a Class B instead of Class A to pull a trailer less than 10,000 lbs.

Southside - yes, trying to track down the flatbed bumper pull rating but all the numbers are worn off.

YellowHammer - I had thought about derating also, thanks for the info on dealers working with that and the tip on getting it derated before buying it!

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #45 on: January 07, 2019, 08:55:24 PM »
An 11k truck and a 15k trailer might be legal empty.  But youre just towing a bunch of useless trailer because the payload thats left between your curbweight and 26k doesnt need but a car trailer.  I did what youre doing, still am.  

Either steer clear of CDL or dive all the way in.  The middle ground is no mans land.  The tags and math interpretations wont matter when you hit 26001 on the portable scale.  Medium duty under CDL stuff is just too heavy before you even load it.

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Offline Southside

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #46 on: January 07, 2019, 09:06:33 PM »
Note that an overweight trailer gets a fine of around $50-$150 and you can keep going


Umm - not sure about that one.  If your trailer is overwight and you are not over gross, then your trailer has at least one over axle violation, and those tickets are expensive, they are based on % over, and if I remember correctly 10% or more becomes a "gross" violation so the fines go up significantly, and are always an out of service, fix the problem before you continue on matter.  Since they are % based a lighter axle capacity gets you in more trouble faster.  
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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #47 on: January 07, 2019, 09:44:21 PM »
What a DanG hassle to haul something!!!! :o  ::)
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #48 on: January 07, 2019, 10:28:39 PM »
It is a nightmare.:( I can have a GCWR up to 12,500 kg and be legal with my standard class 5 licence as long as the trailer is under 4600 kg (10,000 lb), anything over that requires a cdl. I can get a special endorsement 7 which allows a non air brake equipped trailer of any weight but limits me to a two axle tow vehicle. A special endorsement 20 allows a travel trailer or recreational 5th wheel over 4600, still a 2 axle tow vehicle, which seems silly but I would not be subject to commercial vehicle regulations. If I get the fiver I want I will need it, the other option is a class 1 but I can't pass the medical and it's overkill for my needs.
As some of you have discovered, enforcement is swift and severe. A retired truck cop I am acquainted with takes great delight telling tales of being a pita.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #49 on: January 08, 2019, 12:34:34 AM »
Also, but it hasnít been mentioned, if your truck, or truck and trailer, exceeds only 10,000 lbs rated weight, (any one ton pickup exceeds this) and you cross state lines for business, you absolutely must have a DOT number, although you wonít need a CDL until 26,000 lbs.  

To make it worse, some states have adopted the federal regs and require you to have a DOT number intrastate, if you are rated at more than 10,000 lbs.  

So the magic numbers are when crossing state lines, 10,000 lbs need DOT number and 26,000 lbs, need a CDL.  If over 10,000 lbs in some states need a DOT number, some donít require it until 26,000 lbs.
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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #50 on: January 08, 2019, 10:54:29 AM »
Over 10000 pounds combined GVWR + in business + crossing state line = become subject to federal (USDOT, FMCSA) code.
Was getting at that above.  

Note that there are 3 criteria to enter this Bermuda Triangle.  

Imagine.....four pickup trucks approaching a state line.  

1) One is a 3/4 ton pulling a big boat, heading toward the boat launch.
2) Second is a 1 ton dually pulling an RV 5th wheel who knows how many GVWR.
3) Third is a 1 ton pulling an LT40 Super going to a sawing job.
4) Fourth is a half ton pulling a landscaping trailer with weedwhackers & lawn mowers going to a mowing job.

None have USDOT numbers.  Which of the above can sail across the border without breaking the law?   What activity is being discriminated against?
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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #51 on: January 08, 2019, 12:27:02 PM »
Well, my assumption is the first guy is going to get pulled at the state line when they check for muscles on the hull of the boat, at which time he will be shut down and they will discover his U-Ship paperwork, promptly hauling him off to jail. 

The $80K RV 5th wheel, being towed by a $75K dually is probably packed full of dogs headed to a dog show so the state Agriculture folks will shut them down and tow them off when they discover the 15 year old, retired, Golden Retriever riding shotgun has a rabies certificate that is expired by three days.

Nobody has a clue what the LT40 is, so that guy will ride on by as it looks light weight and the DOT guy see the weed wackers hanging on the side of the trailer behind him and they know the odds are he is NOT using DOT approved gas cans and there is no way those mowers are secured to the trailer, so they get the guy with the spike strip and chase vehicles ready in case this "Outlaw" tries to make a run for it.  

Some of you will think I am joking here.... 

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #52 on: January 08, 2019, 01:06:43 PM »
Guess I should have asked - are they crossing into California?  If so they all need to go through the road side bug inspection station, if any of them have veggies grown in their own garden then the DOT violations will be dismissed in the plea bargain of 10 - 15 years in the state pen for importation of un-inspected produce.  
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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #53 on: January 08, 2019, 01:14:40 PM »
I drive for a company that looks after all the dos and donts. But if they are lookin for something they can find it.

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #54 on: January 08, 2019, 04:58:08 PM »
Some of you will think I am joking here....
Not me.  I used to know a Hwy Patrol guy, he would try and get his buddies to go on ride-arounds with him.  I never did but my friends did.  He would jump in and say "ok, lets get 10 tickets real quick then we can mess around for a while".  He would then respond to anything "interesting" (his words) that came up, especially high speed chases.  He loved to flip on the lights and floor it then push the local cops around.  He eventually got kicked out, which was good to hear, but there are definitely some out there in it for the fun, excitement, and power-tripping.

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #55 on: January 08, 2019, 05:13:13 PM »
Greyman, I suggest you talk directly with your state's division of motor vehicles, your state's motor carrier enforcement agency (here it is State Highway Patrol) or talk to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.    There's been a lot of good information shared here but we don't write citations.  There are some variations in regulations state to state.  What may apply here may not be uniformly enforced there.  One example is NC requires a USDOT number for intrastate operation.

One issue that hasn't been raised is the regulations vary based on what you are hauling.  I need a medical card to haul lumber but not for logs.

I applied for my USDOT number on Sunday morning.  It took an hour or so.  I received authority to operate on Monday and I received a call from FMCSA to review my application.  During the application review I was able to ask all my questions as they relate to my specific situation. It was tremendously helpful.  
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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #56 on: January 08, 2019, 05:43:43 PM »
Very easy to get a USDOT #.   Also easy to get the rule book from JJKeller.    It's 3" thick.  Not so easy to sleep at night once you start reading it.  Best to have a retired trooper friend or other such coach to keep it all in perspective.  Finding someone at an FMCSA office who you can talk to on the phone is also helpful. 
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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #57 on: January 08, 2019, 10:25:58 PM »
A DOT tag is only required if you are engaged in commerce, the way I read it.   Do I need a DOT tag?   I'm not, but I'm sure others here are and can use the info.

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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #58 on: January 09, 2019, 10:46:10 PM »
Check the FMCSA website. My understanding is if you are over 10,001 pounds a DOT number is required.  Exceptions are RVs, horse trailers and certain agricultural activities.  You would be a private (not for hire) carrier.  But I've been wrong before.
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Re: Do I need a CDL to haul my own stuff?
« Reply #59 on: January 10, 2019, 07:14:44 AM »
Imagine.....four pickup trucks approaching a state line.   1) One is a 3/4 ton pulling a big boat, heading toward the boat launch. 2) Second is a 1 ton dually pulling an RV 5th wheel who knows how many GVWR. 3) Third is a 1 ton pulling an LT40 Super going to a sawing job. 4) Fourth is a half ton pulling a landscaping trailer with weedwhackers & lawn mowers going to a mowing job. None have USDOT numbers.  Which of the above can sail across the border without breaking the law?   What activity is being discriminated against?
Answer key:  1 and 2.  Activity is commerce. The first two in the example are not in commerce (if they were, then they would also be in violation, for example a dealer delivering a boat or RV across a state line).  US constitution gives authority to federal govt. to regulate commerce.  

Once I needed to take a U-Haul car carrier trailer across two state lines to get my daughters car.  I called and asked a trooper in the destination state if I would get in trouble. He said if I get stopped, to use the statement "I am not in commerce".

Also I talked to an FMCSA official on the phone about the regs a number of times.  One of the things he told me was that the FMCSA/USDOT rules are applied on a per trip basis with respect to whether you are in commerce or not-on that trip.  So towing an RV on vacation is not regulated by FMCSA whereas  towing  to a job (over 10000# GCWR, across state line) is regulated by FMCSA.

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