commercial vs non-commercial license

Commercial vs. Non-Commercial Driver’s License: What You Need to Know 

You must obtain various license permits based on your needs when it comes to driving in the US. Focusing on the differences between commercial and non-commercial licenses is crucial while planning to choose truck driving as a career. 

In cases you are not paid to drive, you only require an ordinary license, i.e., ‘Non-Commercial Driver’s License’. It means that non-CDL is meant for individuals with personal vehicles who move from point A to point B without getting paid. If they want to get paid for this transit, they need to have a ‘Commercial Driver’s License’.  

However, there is much more to it. Sometimes, figuring out what kind of license one may require to run their trucking business and how to obtain it becomes very complicated. And for that, you need to understand the difference between commercial vs non-commercial driver’s license. It will help you determine the suitable license class for you. So, let’s begin! 

Commercial vs. Non-Commercial Driver’s License: What are They? 

Trucking businesses are often highly lucrative because transportation is necessary since goods must be moved from one place to another regardless of the circumstances. Be it food, clothes, raw materials, or any industry goods, products must be transported from one point to another, and trucks are widely used for that purpose.  

So, if you’re considering starting your career in the trucking industry or want to grow your business, you need to get a driver’s license first and understand its types and differences.  

What is the Meaning of Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)? 

A CDL is primarily issued to those individuals who drive large vehicles, including commercials, trucks, buses, and even construction equipment. To get a CDL license, a driver must take and pass written exams, skills tests, and road tests. Also, some other details that determine the eligibility of the employees include their age and health status. 

A CDL gives a person something that the regular driver will never have – permission to drive big machines. To get a CDL, you must also have certain Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) endorsements and meet specific employment demands requiring certain specialized skills. 

Types of Commercial Driver’s License  

The CDL has three main classifications: Subsequent classes include Class B and Class C. Class A is broader than Classes B and C and applies to distinct classes of vehicles and weights.  

  • CDL Class C: Depending on what you need to transport, you may drive any Class C vehicle but need to obtain additional endorsements. 
    H endorsements: Hazardous materials 
    P endorsements: passengers 
  • CDL Class B: This license allows you to drive a vehicle with the gross weight of more than 26,000 lbs. (about 11793.39 kg) 
  • CDL Class A: It gives you the freedom to drive more than 1 vehicle with a gross weight of over 26,001 lbs. (about 11793.85 kg). You can also tow a vehicle over 10,000 lbs. (about 4535.92 kg). 

What is a Non-Commercial Driver’s License (Non-CDL or NDL)? 

NDL is meant for driving personal vehicles and does not come with extra responsibilities or limitations of a CDL. A non-CDL is easier to acquire than a CDL, as you only need to take a written and road test. Depending on the state, the fee for getting or renewing a NDL could cost between $10 and $89. 

Vehicle restrictions for NDL holders include vehicles less than 40 feet in length and trailers under 9,000 pounds (about 4082.33 kg). While for the CDL holders, it limits the size of vehicles they can drive by the class of their license. A regular non-CDL allows one to engage in limited commercial activities like ride sharing or driving small moving trucks. So. if you want a license just for driving and transportation personal belongings, then non-CDL is just for you! 

Types of Non-Commercial Driver’s License 

Just like CDL, non-CDL has three types: Class A, B and C. But unlike CDL, is it easier to get a non-Commercial Driver’s License. 

  • Non-CDL or NDL Class C: It is the most restricted driver’s license in the non-commercial driver’s license category. You can drive vehicles with a capacity of less than 15 people. And a personal vehicle with a limit of 40 feet for vehicles such as motorhomes (RVs, trailer trucks). 
  • Non-CDL or NDL Class B: You may operate an RV up to 45 feet if you have the necessary endorsements from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 
  • Non-CDL or NDL Class A: You can operate a vehicle over 45 feet long without requiring DMV endorsement. 

Also Read – How to Start a Trucking Business with One Truck

Difference Between Commercial vs. Non-Commercial License In USA 

The fundamental differences between a CDL and a Non-CDL include the type of vehicles that the license allows an individual to operate or drive. It also considers the process of obtaining the license, and the commercial obligations of the license. Therefore, drivers must understand their privileges and the restrictions that govern their actions on the road. 

Get On the Road with the Right License! 

Commercial trucking can be financially lucrative and a satisfying career for those willing to devote time to it. Of course, any industry has pros and cons, and the trucking world is no exception. People working in the sector get the freedom to travel and discover new places. Besides this, they have job security, decent income, and options for an excellent work-life balance.  

So, if you want to start a trucking business, start by having a CDL if you don’t have one already! And if you need someone with a deep knowledge of this industry who will help you find the best loads from the shippers and grow your business. Reach out to our team of truck dispatch service providers now!!! 

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