Jump to content

Pondering Commercial vs Non-Commercial


Kevin H

Recommended Posts

I've been thinking about the discussions regarding commercial vs non-commercial use. One example that Phil cites is race car haulers. I get it. The trucks are used for hauling the cars and equipment. Sure seem commercial to me.


Here's my question: Where do you draw the line for commercial vs non-commercial.


Joe-the-Plumber uses his truck to haul his plumbing tools job to job and has his truck festooned with advertisements. The use is the same as the racer: He hauls the tools for his commercial enterprise and so is commercial, right?


What about Carl the carpenter who hauls his saws in the bed of his pick-up from house to work site? Is he commercial? If not why not?


Carl now has a helper who carries his own toolbelt and a skill saw in his truck from home to site. Is Hank the Helper commercial? If not, why not?


How about Alice Avon (does Avon still do door to door?). Is her car a commercial vehicle?


My take from the discussions, is it appears that any vehicle that transports tools/equipment of a profession is commercial.


If the discussion that the USE of the vehicle, vs the vehicle itself determines its category, that line is pretty gray.


Back to race car haulers. I already see the eyes rolling and forehead slapping, but why is a truck that merely hauls the cars and equipment to and from the track leaving the revenue generating work to the race cars, commercial when any other person hauling their tools of trade not commercial? Do we extend this to the cars used by traveling salesmen?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin- add to your list all the local government, city, county, state, federal vehicles that are driven by employees. To my knowledge, there is no requirement for any license requirement for all the car and pick-ups driven daily except fo no DWI's.

Larger DOT trucks require endorsements, but not the pick up trucks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I carry my welding tools to a new job with my Smart Car. Just don't believe it could be considered commercial. The rub is we are driving a commercial vehicle for non commercial use. Now my tool box will fit in cab of truck. Shouldn't throw any red flags.

 

Glenn - I get your example of the Smart. Here's the way a discussion was summed up recently: It is not so much the physical vehicle, which HDTs obviously appear, but the actual USE of said vehicle. Hence my questions regarding the gray line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When it comes to business use, size matters.

 

In the case of plumbers, carpenters, electrician etc. Many states DO require DOT registration over particular gross weight, 10K. In the case f the Avon lady, like any route sales in a big van yes, in a car no.

 

Long ago in my misspent youth I was involved in pro drag racing, we had a Chevy crewcab dually that towed a 38' Chaparral trailer. You don't tow a funny car 500 miles to win a trophy, we flew under the radar. When we went to a Kenworth K100 it changed everything.

 

Lots of folks use 3/4 or 1 ton pick ups and vans for their trade. The magic 10000 pound number makes many of these subject to DOT registration, at the state or federal level. Some states have higher thresholds for intrastate use, so a welder with a 14K flat bed in Connecticut is NOT subject to DOT in state. I just helped a young man research that.

 

Many of the people who choose to run under the radar are willfully ignorant or in denial. The other thing is, what was acceptable 30 or 40 years ago has changed profoundly. I drove an old GMC C65 truck when I was 16 for my fathers business in the 1970's. That was not a farm truck or in some small town, this was the greater Los Angeles area. Times have changed and mainly because of death and destruction, rules have been enacted. In transportation graveyard laws are common.

 

Personally I am more concerned with the prospect of RVers being lumped in with the scofflaws than, bringing the cheaters to light. There IS a fine line, some folks with RV's travel to fairs and swap meets to vend, that IS commercial, using your RV to live in while traveling for work is NOT.

 

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a very gray line for commercial vs recreational. Here in Colorado I have hauled hay, backhoe and furniture and each has been accepted by DOT as recreational depending on how it is explained. The hay was a gift to my Granddaughter. When I said that the DOT official became concerned until I showed him a receipt showing I bought the hay. As long as I owned the hay and it was for my personal use all was good. He didn't like that it may be her hay. I use the backhoe that I own for my personal use so that was accepted. If it important enough to me I use my HDT for my own use here where I live because I could go to court to defend myself without having to travel. I wouldn't do it where defending myself would require travel to other states. The line seems to be very random depending on who interperts it and how it is explained. A person bringing home a HDT for recreational use in Colorado was put out of service because he had not registered it as recreational. He had to have someone with a CDL drive it. I have also seen drivers with out a CDL allowed to continue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IF ya go over to your Internet Router you just might hear the sound of Big5er chugging Dr Pepper and wrapping up his typing thumbs in Kevlar getting ready to foist the recent example of the Dolly-Vespa-Dyno-mite hauler needing a DOT number and etc. Etc......(ok I have tried to keep my Vespa-fetish secret but does he know what color it is?).

 

Drive on....(here weeee go again...and again)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Various shades of gray, and perhaps interpreted road-side by the person in uniform, who is unfamiliar of the law. Do your best to not appear commercial, be polite and courtious to the LEO, and you'll likely not be detained too long. And have that neat little binder ready with the home state laws and regs.

 

On the advise of our resident CMV enforcement officer, I changed the registration on our truck from the farm to personal. I also moved the trailer registration to the same state as the truck, also the smart. (I can legally use either Ohio or Indiana as we operate/own property in both states.) More importantly, the camper rig is housed in the state in which it's registered.

 

So, whether we're commercial may at some time be up the the person inspecting us along the road, perhaps later to be ruled on by a judge a long way from home.

 

How gray do you want to be?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few years ago our attorney set up a partnership to hold all of our assets for our trust. The name of the partnership is our initials, last name and ends in "& CO". When I registered my first HDT it was under the partnership name but when I changed trucks the licensing people suggested I use my name so as not to create suspicion. However the 5er, car and RZR are titled under the partnership for the trust. The attorney has assured me this partnership is not commercial and went on to explain how it is accepted even for taxes as noncommercial. It hasn't come up yet but it sure could be a problem sometime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin, I think your question has already been answered by the many knowledgeable folks here. But to spell it out simply, the basic definition of a CMV is a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating, or actual weight, of 10,001lbs or more. Or any vehicle carrying a placardable amount of hazmat or a specific number of passengers (depending on usage) in interstate use. Our HDT's are CMV's, but there is an exemption for how we use it. Your other examples are mostly lower than those weights. That is the simple answer. It is a bit more detailed but those are the basics.

 

Glenn uses his HDT to haul the house. That is it's purpose. His welding tools are just personal property, just like the office worker that carries his pens, ruler, and calculator in a briefcase, the same as the carpenter with a tool belt and the Avon lady delivering a little bag of cosmetics. Jack used his HDT for his daily driver for years. He went to the grocery store, hardware store, sightseeing, to work (if/when he worked), the movies, and out to dinner. None of this makes him commercial.

 

I met a gentleman that made birdhouses and sold them at the fleamarket for something for him and the missus to do to keep active in retirement. They fulltime in a Prevost MH. He hauls a small car, his tools, lumber, winter clothes, etc in a trailer behind the MH. He camps at the fleamarkets in the MH. Is he making money? Sure, but what is the use of that big MH in that situation? Is it primarily his house? Or is the primarily usage to transport birdhouses to market? I say it's his house, but what if he lived in a S&B and only went to the fleamarket on the weekends to sell his birdhouses pulling a small 4000 lb trailer? Still primarily the house, that little trailer is really inconsequential. But what if, for those hypothetical weekend trips, he was pulling a big 20,000 lb trailer, or driving an HDT and pulling that 20,000 lb trailer FULL of birdhouses and other items for sale? Kinda changes the situation, doesn't it? So what do you think? What do you think that DOT officer is gonna think?

 

And, of course, then there is the DolleyTrolley demolition company and the dynamite hauling pink and purple Vespa scooter :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yhaaa...... Big5er is on the right path.... I look at as if you pull a 21,00 ld. trailer and sell birdhouses, You DON'T work or sell out of the trailer. You park the T/C, HDT, Motor home and trailer blocks away from where you sell your birdhouses. The TC, HDT, motor home is a house. So if you have a TC, HDT, motor home at the races and use it, to support the racing parts tools ect...... I would say it's part of the racing event. So in my fly fishing hook business, (that I make) my TC, HDT, motor home and boat..... the boat is part of the business and is the only vehicle used in the business. OR is it .?? To throw a another curve in to things, each state have different rules about retail sales (sales tax permits...who pays taxes...) So be a RV,er or be commercial....fine line in some actives. Happy New Year 2017 OU812

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yhaaa...... Big5er is on the right path.... I look at as if you pull a 21,00 ld. trailer and sell birdhouses, You DON'T work or sell out of the trailer. You park the T/C, HDT, Motor home and trailer blocks away from where you sell your birdhouses. The TC, HDT, motor home is a house. So if you have a TC, HDT, motor home at the races and use it, to support the racing parts tools ect...... I would say it's part of the racing event. So in my fly fishing hook business, (that I make) my TC, HDT, motor home and boat..... the boat is part of the business and is the only vehicle used in the business. OR is it .?? To throw a another curve in to things, each state have different rules about retail sales (sales tax permits...who pays taxes...) So be a RV,er or be commercial....fine line in some actives. Happy New Year 2017 OU812

You are correct in your birdhouse example, in that when it is PARKED blocks away from your retail business, it is a house and not commercial. But when you are TRANSPORTING those same birdhouses in furtherance of your commercial enterprise, then it is commercial. Period. If you are transporting ONE birdhouse in the course of selling said birdhouse, then yes you are commercial. I know most of you don't like that fact, but fact it is. Now, can you reasonably expect to skate in your pretty RV looking rig with the basement stuffed full of birdhouses and no signage? Likely. The LEO doesn't have much reason to suspect you are commercial. That is the one extreme. The other extreme is the 20k stacker stuffed full of birdhouses with the pretty multicolor "Bill's Birdhouses" vinyl wrap all over the trailer, you can count on getting stopped. The law is the same in both cases, only differences is how likely you are to get noticed. I know there are a lot of guys with their head in the sand that think their particular situation surely is not commercial, but most of those guys are wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hot Rod Yep.... You got the song..... SO.... when I show up at a RV rally and set up a table to sell......... my fishing fly hook..... my motor home should have a commercial plate on it.....OR I may get a hook, stuck in my wallet. May have to down size to a VW bus and smaller hooks.... I think I'm getting to close to the camp fire.........OU812 :mellow:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But when you are TRANSPORTING those same birdhouses in furtherance of your commercial enterprise, then it is commercial. Period. If you are transporting ONE birdhouse in the course of selling said birdhouse, then yes you are commercial. I know most of you don't like that fact, but fact it is.

Here we go again. Sounds all scary but not quite true. So is Glenn commercial transporting his welding tools to the jobsite in his HDT? OU812 using his HDT MH to transport a fishing fly that he plans to sell makes him commercial? If he creates them in his house and rides his motorcycle to the market he isnt but if he uses his HDT MH to drive to the market he is, simply because his daily driver is 10,001 lbs? Not. The primary usage of his MH is to be his house, not transport fishing fly's. Now, I agree, if he is using the MH as a mobile sales platform, yes but simply to transport a table full of flies in his house? Nope. Where do you get this knowledge from sir? Care to share your sources? Care to cite some real life experience with these sources?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phil,

 

You do know that pipeliners got a USDOT exemption a couple years ago, so Glenn is cool.

 

I am kinda confused about this "gray area" of selling stuff from an RV? It was my impression that ANY commercial use of a personal HDT is forbidden. The week end racer or flea market seller are both commercial, how is a full time RV dweller any different just because they live in the rig. A guy that makes birdhouses to sell for profit is in business to sell birdhouses. If he uses a half ton pick up to transport his goods then no CMV rules but, even if he lives in the RV HDT isn't transporting them commercial ?

 

I know there have been several folks on this forum how offer goods and services at rally's and events. They all have been doing this for years in "personal RV's", it kinda rubs me the wrong way. I have to have a USDOT number to use my trucks for my business yet, a bunch of retired or semi-retired folks hawk their wares unimpeded in their "RV's"

 

Isn't that is the perfect example of a double standard? I don't begrudge folks for making a little or a lot of spending money selling trinkets. I do get irked that for a handful of times a year that I use my trucks, I have to comply with all the same crap Swift or JB Hunt do. The old adage "in for a penny in for a pound" does it really make a difference that a widget is a birdhouse or 60HP blender?

 

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, you said the guy making birdhouses is in the business of selling birdhouses. I agree, to a point. You can build half a dozen birdhouses in your s&b and drive them to market in your smart car daily driver, right? Does your home need special permits? Just because your home is mobile does that change? Like I said, pulling a 20,000lb trailer full of birdhouses, I would call commercial, but the "hobbiest" exemption that works for some horsers and racers would apply to someone who uses their "mobile" house to drive their birdhouses to market. Look up the interpretations for 390.3, specifically queation 21. That is why I question the info posted above. There seems to be no actual knowledge of the regs, over what is read. Usage leads to familiarity with the regs. The law acknowledges the difference between a hobbiest and a business.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back earlier in my youthful days I was a weekend racer. Thinking back ignorance was bliss. Were were towing a 3200# race car on a home built trailer with a F150 short bed truck. Yes, we raced for money but I had to have a sponsor just to survive. Cops were our friends and many helped us. Nothing was ever said about commercial. This was NC and we raced in the neighboring state also SC. Sure was fun. Meet my DW there also.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok Big5er.....since you have...."outed me and my ....multeeecolored Vespa" .......I concede YOU bee da man....you win!!

 

So just spit balling here but.....what would be your .....BEST TEN big time citations for commercial operations under the "gee officer .....someone must have loaded that CAT D9 on my car trailer while I was in the John at the rest stop"......there must be some pretty wild stories that come out as you taser the shmucks ........

 

Maybe instead of delaying retirement for two years....just write a book or maybe have a un-real-ity show.....

 

Drive on....(sure hope big5er don't find out about my Itialian Ape three wheel pickup with a rattlee 2cycle single blue smoker 7 hp engine with a dump bed...only one color)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, I'm really staying on subject, just meandering a bit........................

 

Recently my bride had shoulder surgery. As a result, I've had to help her do a lot of the things we take for granted, like showering, getting dressed, cutting food, etc. And I've discovered I have a talent for styling womens' hair. (BTW, there's something fundamentally wrong with helping her put ON a bra.)

 

So, if I forget about hauling silly motorcycles around to twisty roads, and instead put a chair and sink in the back of the toy hauler, would I be commercial? If I recieve no money from customers, but accept other forms of "payment"....(cookies?), am I commercial?

 

Sick minds are wandering...........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here we go again. Sounds all scary but not quite true. So is Glenn commercial transporting his welding tools to the jobsite in his HDT? OU812 using his HDT MH to transport a fishing fly that he plans to sell makes him commercial? If he creates them in his house and rides his motorcycle to the market he isnt but if he uses his HDT MH to drive to the market he is, simply because his daily driver is 10,001 lbs? Not. The primary usage of his MH is to be his house, not transport fishing fly's. Now, I agree, if he is using the MH as a mobile sales platform, yes but simply to transport a table full of flies in his house? Nope. Where do you get this knowledge from sir? Care to share your sources? Care to cite some real life experience with these sources?e

big5er-

My source is myself. I got busted on the Ohio Turnpike with just my dually and an EMPTY 7000# gvw enclosed (motorcycle size) trailer. I was on the way back from picking the trailer up at the factory in Elkhart, IN, so my assumption is he pulled me over thinking I was a trailer transporter with no USDOT number on the side. In his defense, a ton of trailer transporters cross the OH turnpike every day. But I digress. He looked over my paperwork, and the mere fact that I had paid for the trailer with a check from my business made me commercial in his eyes and he wrote me a stack of tickets starting with no usdot number, and as a DOT LEO, you can fill in the rest. No log book, no fire extinguisher, no commercial plate on the truck, etc, you get the idea. Any yes, I am always courteous with LEOs, I respect that they have a hard job to do.

 

To fill in the backstory, I had been firmly skating the gray area in my 40' race trailer w/ living quarters for some time, and even though that trailer was legitimately titled and licensed as a "house vehicle" (ohio term for a camping trailer) and a non-commercial plate on the dually, I figured it was a matter of time in that rig before I got busted using it to haul hot rod parts to sell at car shows. The exact definition of the birdhouse discussion by the way. The surprise was getting busted in a tiny little EMPTY 14' trailer.

 

Anyway, after a bunch of phone calls and in person discussions with both the Highway Patrol (that wrote the tickets) and the PUCO (Ohio's DOT) I ended up settling the thing for $200 and getting my USDOT number. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. My little single employee (me) outfit with one pickup truck and trailer that I use for about 6 hot rod shows a year has all the same rules and requirements as WalMart's fleet. Employee record keeping (I had to interview and hire myself on paper), random drug and alcohol testing program in place (for just me), cdl, logbooks, physical, federal forms (and fees) to file annually, puco new company audit, annual vehicle inspections and record keeping, ok you get the idea. So yeah, I have an excellent source.

 

You are correct, there is an exemption for "hobbyists", but once you make a profit, or attempt to make a profit as we all know not every business is profitable, you are not a hobbyist, you are a business. The DOT does not care one whit if my little business (or WalMart) makes a profit at the end of the year, if you are "transporting goods in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise", you are commercial. Wonder why that is in quotes? That is what was quoted to me.

 

So Phil, if you as a LEO are using common sense and not citing the guy with one birdhouse, and making the decision there on the side of the road whether one birdhouse or 100 makes you commercial, that does not mean that the one birdhouse is not commercial, only that you have common sense. And I will put it out there that the average DOT LEO goes by the letter of the law rather than common sense. Been there, paid that ticket.

 

Another source. We live right on the OH/PA border. It is almost impossible to conduct business without crossing the state line. I have had two personal friends busted just over the state line with a pickup and small trailer (with the company name on the side, admitted) for no USDOT number and the same armload of tickets I got, because they were over the state line (interstate commerce) with no USDOT number. No, those were not RV's. It makes no difference in how the vehicle is titled or registered in making the commercial/non-commercial designation. Yes, there is a 50 mile exemption, but it only applies INTRASTATE.

 

Another source. Local racer friends. Nope, they are not selling anything physical like birdhouses. Rather they are selling sponsorship on the race car, and competing for a purse. The PA State Troopers have a habit of setting up near a racetrack, or at the turnpike exit, on a race weekend and busting every rig without a usdot number, with the same aforementioned armload of tickets.

 

One more personal example? Going to a hot rod show in Daytona Beach, FL. With my non-commercial dually and the 40' "house vehicle". I follow the signs and "all trailers" stop at the scale. I get the instruction to pull around and bring the paperwork inside. When he said "do you know that thing weighs almost 29000#?" I knew I was in trouble. Without even asking what was in the trailer, he told me I could either go back out to the truck and make a phone call and acquire $170 worth of fuel and trip permits and have them faxed to him at the scale, and then he would do me the favor of not writing me a $1000 ticket for not having those permits. Or he could just write the ticket.

 

Yeah, Phil. Been there, got the ticket. Personally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

RV Cable Grip

RV Cable Grip

All the water you need...No matter where you go

Country Thunder Iowa

Nomad Internet

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

RV Air.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...