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GWarren For Business & Nonprofits
GWarren For Business & Nonprofits, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 355
Experience:  30 yrs Counsel, AVP Corp Governance Fortune 100 finance/ins, Nonprofit Bds, law firm. OH NJ license
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Im starting a small passenger transportation business here

Resolved Question:

I'm starting a small passenger transportation business here in Boston, Ma. and I would like to know what kind of licenses, permits and insurances do I need.I'd like to start with 1 minibus transporting up to 15 passengers to and from work.Thank you, Raul.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  GWarren For Business & Nonprofits replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for contacting justanswer.

First, you may want to consider a form of corporation (likely an LLC, a Limited Liability Company) to protect you to the degree possible from personal financial and activity liabilities, rather than as a sole owner proprietor of your business. Typically an LLC works well unless you have a need for employment tax benefits in which case you may want to consider an S Corporation.

A link to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Corporations Division is provided below to guide you through that process, however, you may want to engage a local attorney through the local bar association lawyer referral service who you can interview as to their experience and fees to assist you.

http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/corfees.htm

Second, since you indicate you will be transporting up to 15 passengers (15 passengers or more requires a Commercial Driver's License CDL) you will need a Commercial Driver's License rather than a Chauffeured Limousine Services DRIVER’S LICENSE, likely a background check for which a fee will be charged, you may also need a special VEHICLE PERMIT and a Vehicle Inspection Fee (per vehicle). (You may want to consider transporting fewer than 15 passengers if you prefer not to acquire the CDL).

http://www.cdl-course.com/faq-ma.html

Most of the regulations for for hire, van/taxi/limo operators/owners and drivers are on the local level. Therefore, you will need to check with your local police department or department of transportation as depending on the municipalities you may serve with your business, you may also be required to file a for hire taxi/limo license application, Limousine Insurance Form showing proof of insurance. You may or may not be fingerprinted as part of the registration process and may need to provide character references.

You may want to initiate discussions with a local insurance agent or broker for a commercial automobile insurance company you can identify through a websearch. You will want to consider significant insurance limits and the insurance agent or broker will be able to guide you in that respect - likely a million dollar limits.

You may also want to consider carrying a fire extinguisher, flares and other safety equipment in the van.

You may find it very helpful to contact SCORE.org as SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business provides free volunteers face to face or online to assist individuals in starting businesses. Workbooks, coaching/counseling/mentoring are available as to business plans and other elements essential to a successful business.

While not in any way an endorsement, there is also a limousines on line discussion forum that may be helpful to your further van for hire efforts through the below link:

http://limousinesonline.com

You may also want to protect yourself by signing any documents involving your for hire van service with your name "by and on behalf of" then indicating your business' name.

As to the passengers you transport, you should always encourage them to wear seat belts.

Please let me know if you would like any further clarification. Best wishes on your business venture.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I appreciate the quick answer, but can you be a little more specific as to the exact licenses and permits I need and wether I can find them at the dep of transportation or somewhere else.The same thing for insurance, do I just need a vehicle insurance, or do I need to have the passengers insured as well, or maybe even more than that?Thank you.
Expert:  GWarren For Business & Nonprofits replied 5 years ago.
As you indicated in your question that you would be transporting up to 15 passengers for a total of 16 including the driver, I am addressing the answer as requiring a CDL in Massachusetts.

You would obtain proper permits and license through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (MRMV) at the direct links provided below (the MRMV can also respond to any specific questions you may have regarding the licensing and permit process for the passenger transport business) :

Following is a direct link to the CDL Manual issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles that provides full details regarding the issuance of the Commercial Drivers License:

http://www.mass.gov/rmv/cdlmanual/index.htm

Following is the direct link to obtain the permit and license:

http://www.mass.gov/rmv/license/8cdl.htm

As Allston connects with Boston you may want to initiate discussions with the City of Boston Department of Transportation to satisfy passenger transport regulations by the city. I am providing a direct link to the City of Boston Transportation Department so that you can contact the department to pursue proper coordination of your commuter passenger transport business:

http://www.cityofboston.gov/transportation/

As to vehicle insurance, you would insure the vehicle which would provide insurance coverage for bodily injury both per person and per occurrence or accident. As I am not licensed to offer insurance in Massachusetts I can only suggest that you consider bodily injury limits of at least $1 million dollars per occurrence in the event of an accident. An insurance agent or broker licensed in Massachusetts to offer insurance in the Commonwealth can specifically advise you as to limits of coverage available, premium cost and suggested amounts. The agent or broker may also have experience providing insurance coverage to passenger commuter transportation services and can more specifically advise as to whether greater limits (perhaps $5 million dollars for occurrence may be typical).

I hope this further detail is responsive and helpful.
GWarren For Business & Nonprofits, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 355
Experience: 30 yrs Counsel, AVP Corp Governance Fortune 100 finance/ins, Nonprofit Bds, law firm. OH NJ license
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