If you own a horse trailer and would like to start an equine transportation business, you'll need to be sure that you are in compliance with regulations from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If not, you could risk having your vehicle and horse trailer impounded.
Getting the proper documentation
Hauling a horse trailer for profit means you will need to have proper documentation, including a commercial driver's license (CDL), commercial vehicle insurance, equine insurance, DOT stickers for your rig and your trailer, and registration with the FMCSA. Attend a DOT seminar to learn more about the licensing and vehicle documentation so you are in compliance with laws and regulations.
Each horse that you transport will need to have the proper documentation as well, particularly a negative Coggins test. If you will be transporting horses across state lines, the horses will each need to have an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI). Do not transport horses unless their owners provide you with these necessary documents or you could have risk getting fined if you are pulled over and unable to present the documentation to the law enforcement officer.
Having regular compliance inspections
Your towing vehicle and the horse trailer will need to meet compliance with safety regulations. This includes things like having a fire extinguisher in the rig as well as in the horse trailer, having operable emergency brakes and braking light systems, properly hooking trailer chains, and having a breakaway brake box. You will need to keep log books for mileage, a log of breaks you take while transporting horses long distances, a log specifically for maintenance of the towing vehicle and the trailer, and a log of any repairs that are made. You will also need to have working flashlights and a stocked first aid kit. To ensure that your rig and trailer meet the compliance requirements, have regular inspections done through a certified compliance inspection service.
In conclusion, having the appropriate documentation and keeping in compliance with DOT and FMCSA regulations can help prevent your equine transportation business from being fined or, worse, having your towing vehicle and trailer impounded. If there is any time during your business venture that you feel you are at risk, locate a compliance assistance service to have a mock audit done on your set-up and documentation. A mock audit can identify any issues that need to be resolved before you head out on the road again with your equine transportation business.