When you get a motor vehicle for personal purposes, you usually know the next steps to take: get your license plates and vehicle registration. However, if it’s your first time buying a vehicle for business use, you might not know what to do next.
Unless you have friends or relatives with commercial vehicles, it’s unlikely that you’ve learned the requirements to legally operate your commercial truck or car. In fact, you may not even know there are different guidelines for commercial vehicles versus personal ones.
What’s worse is that there are no resources to help you understand the distinction. Researching this topic online leads to nothing but dry and vague content by different DMVs. And seeking help on social media also leads to a dead-end unless you know people who own a business and have a vehicle for it.
With scarce information available, you might make all the wrong decisions, which is why it’s time to set the record straight. If you have or need to acquire a commercial vehicle, your next steps are to get commercial plates and vehicle registration.
Luckily, registering your commercial vehicle is as straightforward as registering your personal one. Getting commercial plates, on the other hand, is a little trickier.
What are commercial plates?
Commercial license plates are the distinguishing feature between motor vehicles for personal use and vehicles for commercial purposes. Depending on where you live, you might not need commercial plates. But most states will require them to classify your car or truck correctly.
Keeping that in mind, it’s essential to do research before you buy something you don’t need. The last thing you want to do is put energy into an unnecessary task, especially when you’re a busy entrepreneur who has a million items on their to-do list to complete.
How to determine if you need commercial plates
When you’re trying to discern whether you need commercial plates, there are a few things to consider to guide your decision. While doing research, ask yourself four questions.
1. Does your commercial vehicle have lettering or signage on it?
Lettering or signage on your vehicle is a straightforward clue that you need commercial license plates. Even if your lettering is removable because it’s magnetic, you’ll still need to purchase license plates simply because there’s signage on your vehicle.
2. Does your commercial vehicle surpass the gross weight limits?
Knowing how much your vehicle weighs will provide insight into whether or not you need commercial plates. In some states, smaller vehicles don’t need them.
But if you have a big truck, you’ll most likely need commercial license plates. Sometimes, this requirement is also true for trucks that you use for personal purposes.
3. Do your industry and location require specific commercial plates?
Based on the industry you’re in and your business location, you might need different commercial plates than other business vehicles. To know what you need, you’ll want to speak to someone that can help you.
However, make sure you’re talking to an expert. It’d be best to discuss this topic with someone who can understand what your business needs to be successful.
4. Does your business have or need delivery drivers?
This question also centers around your specific industry. For example, maybe you’re a restaurant owner who also provides a delivery service. If you have or plan to get delivery drivers, you might not need to get commercial plates.
But what if you own a company that offers and delivers tractor-trailers? In this scenario, you’d likely need commercial license plates.
However, what’s beneficial to consider is whether you have any signage on your delivery vehicle. If your company name is on your car or truck, you’ll likely need commercial plates regardless of your industry.
Still, it’s essential to keep in mind that these questions are general guidelines that you should consider. The requirements for commercial plates vary state-by-state, and your state could very well have demands that aren’t outlined in this article.
The benefits of having commercial plates
While it can be a hassle to determine if you need commercial plates, it’s not all bad. In fact, you’ll experience three benefits from having these particular plates.
1. Deduct the registration fee on your tax return
When you register your truck or car as a commercial vehicle and get the necessary plates, you can deduct the registration cost on your tax return. This benefit is even true for leased vehicles. As long as you register it as a commercial vehicle and get the right plates, you can deduct the registration fee.
2. Utilize designated parking spots
When your business is located in a crowded area, parking is a hassle. Thankfully, commercial plates help you avoid that problem. With commercial plates, you can park in various places that regular cars and trucks can’t access.
Given this convenience, this advantage can easily become your favorite benefit. But you’ll find this perk especially helpful if you use your commercial vehicle for pickups. Loading and unloading boxes or heavy material will be much easier if you can park somewhere close by that’s only designated for commercial vehicles.
3. Get cheaper insurance quotes
Commercial plates have financial benefits. When you register your commercial vehicle and get the correct plates, you can save money! Typically, insurance quotes for commercial motor vehicles are 10 percent cheaper than policies for cars and trucks for personal use.
Getting commercial plates without the DMV
Now, it’s time to discuss the fun part. Can you avoid the DMV when you try to get commercial plates? Simply put, you don’t need to go through the DMV to get these license plates.
There are other options like Barry Risk Management, Inc. Instead of waiting in long lines at the DMV, frustrated with the employees, and maybe angry with some of the customers, you can get commercial plates at home and online.
Barry Risk Management, Inc. provides an online solution that can help you get what your business needs. And if you have any questions, you can speak with a representative.
Having an expert in your corner will help you learn your state’s requirements and whether you need commercial plates. You don’t have to do the research alone or make multiple phone calls to the DMV for clarification.
You also don’t have to worry about submitting incorrect documents. The representative you work with will ensure you provide everything you need.
With Barry Risk Management, Inc., getting your commercial license plates has never been easier or more convenient. You can cross this task off your list instantly to move on to your next business objective and see your business grow.
For help on getting your commercial plates, contact a representative with Barry Risk Management, Inc. today!