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Jgoinfishin1

Owning a tow truck

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Hi not sure if I'm in the right section or not but hopefully I can find some helpful info..

 

I'm just wondering if there is any requirements to owning a tow truck (Rollback)? Like I'm just a regular guy with no cdls, which I know depending on what I tow may require that, so besides that?  I'm not really trying to get in the towing business. Just wondering if there's anything I need to know about owning one, to do private stuff with, tow my own stuff, and maybe simple tows for friends if needed, but primary use would be towing my stuff like a skid steer.  I might would try to get into transport later down the road tho.. Any info is appreciated. I live in Georgia in case anyone knows anything about it being state specific. Again any info and advice is appreciated. 

Edited by Jgoinfishin1

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If you are moving your own stuff for a non-commercial reason then it would not be any different than owning a pickup truck. If this "stuff" is related to a business, such as being a landscaper or contractor, then you are starting a private fleet and would be subject to the same regulations as any other trucking company in your state -even Federal regulations if you engage in support of interstate commerce.

 

Moving your friends stuff is another grey area. Without any form of compensation, including something as insignificant as a tank of fuel, it would be no different than using your pickup and a tow dolly, however receive any compensation and you are a for-hire motor carrier and subject to all the regulations.

 

You may find some useful information here, or at least the contacts within Georgia that can answer your question. I practice as a transportation compliance specialist focusing on interstate regulations in the towing industry, not a Georgia intrastate specialist.

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My vote is to buy a trailer instead.  Convincing an insurance agent that a commercial size truck is for personal use is almost impossible. 

The 10-15k for a crapper rollback can buy a sweet trailer and have money to spare as long as your already have a decent size pickup.

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That is a loaded question and Brian is wrong for most states. 1st insurance is not like what you have on the family pick up truck. 2nd most insurance companys will not cover a rollback tow truck as  that  is a commercial policy. 3rd in most states you WILL need a commercial drivers license NOT a cdl. Pa it's a class C in WV it's a class D each state is different. 4th you will need a medical to get a commercial license. And last rolling past a weight station is a bad idea they will chase you down and you will be in s*&^%

 Moving your own stuff will not get rid of the regulations that are required with the exception of having an MC number and crossing a state line. And in some states like WV you cannot even get a tag for the truck until it is inspected by the WV DOT state police  at your business that has a business lic with a commercial ins policy and he will look at your medical card and drivers license then and only then can you even get a tag for it.

And then you have the maintenance on the truck which is much higher than the family pick up.

A trailer would be a better choice.

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48 minutes ago, larj2 said:

That is a loaded question and Brian is wrong for most states. 1st insurance is not like what you have on the family pick up truck. 2nd most insurance companys will not cover a rollback tow truck as  that  is a commercial policy. 3rd in most states you WILL need a commercial drivers license NOT a cdl. Pa it's a class C in WV it's a class D each state is different. 4th you will need a medical to get a commercial license. And last rolling past a weight station is a bad idea they will chase you down and you will be in s*&^%

 Moving your own stuff will not get rid of the regulations that are required with the exception of having an MC number and crossing a state line. And in some states like WV you cannot even get a tag for the truck until it is inspected by the WV DOT state police  at your business that has a business lic with a commercial ins policy and he will look at your medical card and drivers license then and only then can you even get a tag for it.

And then you have the maintenance on the truck which is much higher than the family pick up.

A trailer would be a better choice.

Two things I can agree with you on is, yes a pickup and trailer may be a better choice than a rollback for the OP and finding a competent insurance agent that can get coverage will be difficult. The rest, sorry to inform you but you are the one that is misinformed.

 

Insurance, true that it may be difficult to obtain a private policy on a rollback but not impossible. If he is in fact not engaging in any commercial activity it is not a commercial vehicle, no matter what it was first built as. If you apply your logic someone that buys an old school bus to make a camper out of would need a CDL with a passenger endorsement and medical card to drive it.

 

Driver license, the only requirement for a commercial driver license for vehicles under 26,001 pounds gross vehicle weight rating is if the vehicle is hauling hazardous materials or more than 15 passengers. New York does also require a tow truck endorsement for light duty wreckers and rollbacks effectively making you obtain a class C CDL. By the way, CDL stands for Commercial Driver License, so you contradict yourself with your post.

 

Medical cards, again they do not apply if he is truly a non-commercial activity. I suspect he is actually looking to move his equipment in support of some business activity so all this goes out the window at that point because he becomes a private motor carrier of property at that point. If he charges to move property he does not own, like his example of a friends car, then he becomes a for-hire motor carrier of property. Both have to comply with the same regulations, with the for-hire carrier also needing operating authority.

 

As for the actual regulation for medical cards, again that varies from state to state -unless engaging in interstate commerce, then it is at 10,001 gross vehicle weight rating. Example, Pennsylvania intrastate operations do not require a medical card, or even conciser a truck a commercial vehicle until 17,001 pounds GVWR unless hauling hazardous materials requiring placards. Other states do not require medical cards until 26,001 pounds for intrastate only operation.

 

Further, a pickup and trailer would put him in the same class as the rollback or maybe even make it worse. Example, a F-350 has a gross weight rating of say 11,000 pounds and a good trailer to haul the average skid steer may have 2 7,000 pound axles making a combined gross weight rating of 25,000. Under CDL but over medical in most states. If the truck were a F-350 dually or 450 with a 14k GVWR he would jump right up to a class A CDL, fuel tax, IFTA and more.

 

Moving his own personal property regardless of what that property is, as long as it is never used for a business purpose does get around the regulations. Otherwise every person that loads up their furniture in a U-haul and drives across country to move would need to be a registered household goods motor carrier. Your logic is flawed. Again, if there is any connection to business then he could be a regulated private motor carrier. The intent of operation is the defining event.

 

Lastly, I know this can be done as I have done it. When I sold out my tow company I kept a tractor for pulling my toys and a camper trailer as well as a rollback for moving my project cars around. I write magazine articles on the subject of DOT regulatory compliance and run a company specializing in helping non-traditional fleets such as towers, construction companies and landscapers navigate the complex world of regulatory compliance. I would not answer a question and risk my reputation if I did not know what I was speaking about.

 

Bottom line, his actual use of the vehicle is what determines if it is a commercial vehicle not the design of the vehicle.

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Now, since the OP is Georgia based here is a link to a document from the Georgia DPS. If you read it they define a commercial vehicle at 10,001 gross weight rating so if used in commerce (for business) even a pickup truck could require a medical card and qualification as a motor carrier. They use gross combined weight when pulling a trailer, so even a F-150 pulling a small trailer will likely exceed the 10,001 pound threshold. Of course, crossing state lines or moving business products that have come from OR are intended to go out of state/country puts someone into interstate commerce and subjects them to Federal regulation from the FMCSA>

 

https://dps.georgia.gov/sites/dps.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/Chapter 1 DPS Transportation Rules.pdf

 

Further, here is a copy and paste directly from the Georgia DPS regarding moving personal property with commercial vehicles that exempts the occasional movement of such. With the OP's stated intent he should be exempt, if he is truly not supporting any business activity. Bold italics added for emphasis.

 

1-365.602 Applicability

(a) The rules in Subpart F of this chapter are applicable to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles, which transport property or passengers in intrastate         commerce.

(b) Exceptions. Unless otherwise specifically provided by State or Federal law, the rules in this subchapter do not apply to—

  (1) All school bus operations as defined in 49 CFR §390.5,

  (2) Transportation performed by the Federal government, a State, or any political subdivision of a State, or an agency established under a compact between States that has been         approved by the Congress of the United States;

  (3) The occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise;

  (4) The transportation of human corpses or the emergency transportation of sick and injured persons;

  (5) The operation of fire trucks and rescue vehicles involved in emergency and related operations;

  (6) The operation of agricultural vehicles in intrastate commerce.

  (7) Volunteer charitable organizations

  (8) Private Motor Carrier of Passengers Non-business

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both progressive and geico offer what they call a NON Commercial commercial policy.     Yes that is what they call it. it is for vehicles that are to large to insure with the standard policy so they have to have a commercial policy, but the vehicles are not being used for commercial purposes.  these policies are commercial policies without ANY Filings or coverages other than the state minimum liability. no on hook, property, etc.  and you will find it is up to the trooper pulling you over what HE feels is for profit.  I'm sure it varies from state to state as well.I had a trooper pull me over here in Wyoming while I was hauling one of my own vehicles that I had just bought with a wrecker that I kept around for personal use and had NOT FOR HIRE on the side of the truck.  he tried to write me a ticket for no DOT numbers and hauling for hire because he felt I was going to use the truck I was towing home to go to work and make a pay check, and NOBODY owns a tow truck for personal use. therefor it was a for profit tow.   that was a stretch and he lost miserably in court.  but the point is it is ultimately up to the officer/trooper and how they interpret how the laws read.  if your buddy buys you lunch or a six pack for helping him out you have been compensated for towing for him and that is for profit. 

 

and depending on the state, the rollback, wrecker has to go through a state inspection to make sure it is fully equipped with the proper lighting and equipment before you can even drive the damn thing.

 

it can be done, but depending on your state it is sketchy and will give law enforcement a reason to hassle you.  keep in mind too even if you are hauling your own stuff if you are more than I think it is 150 air miles from your home base, whether the vehicle requires a CDL or not you are required to keep a log book and comply with federal Laws regarding driving hours ECT.   found that out the hard way when I Used my rollback to travel through IOWA to pick up my new light duty wrecker.

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