An Example Bureaucratic Hassle

Last week I wrote:

I had an employee in a truck towing a pontoon boat from a marina we operate in Alabama to a marina we operate in California.  Apparently, we have grossly violated the law because to haul our boat from our own facility in one state to our own facility in another requires that we register as an interstate motor carrier and put DOT numbers on all of our vehicles.  Just great.  Who wants to bet that this will be an enormous and expensive hassle?

I dumped the compliance task on my Chief Operating Officer, who routinely deals with a lot of really irritating compliance issues without complaining.  He sent me this email this morning:

I've now left at least 5 recorded messages for USDOT employees, and spoken to 3 of them. I almost have my arms around this compliance issue. This was a very cruel assignment...will never forget this


  1. Michael:

    You have 2 states sided by oceans. Put the pontoon boat on a ship and send it to California. It shouldn't be a hassle since moving boats this way is a common practice.

  2. Bill:

    I am disappointed that you have failed to take advantage of this opportunity to point out how most regulation is intended to protect entrenched economic interests, in this case the truckers and teamsters who will get your business in the future because it is too great a hassle to do it yourself, even when it would cost less and take less time.

  3. Mickey:

    Unlike Bill, I am not disappointed in you for not pointing out the reason for the regulation. It isn't the only reason for the regulation, but it is the major one they would require a company transporting its own property to register.

    I was going to point out my own tendency to try and contract out these types of things just to avoid possible hassle. There are lots of insurance and regulatory pitfalls when it comes to doing things yourself. If it is an infrequent occurrence, I usually find it is appropriate to let some small contractor do it, presuming I can find one.

  4. Nick S.:

    Did you guys look into whether labeling your trucks that move interstate cargo as "NOT FOR HIRE" is sufficient?

  5. Charlie B:

    How did you get "caught"?

  6. CT_Yankee:

    Sign bill of sale of boat to employee, who then drives with "his" boat to new location, and burns the bill of sale if no one looked at it. Make the employee act as an individual who "borrowed" the truck/trailer.

  7. Dr. T:

    The US Government's new motto: Always finding ways to destroy relationships between bosses and employees.

  8. KMO:

    ...never forgetting...never...