DBE Trucker Requirements

DBE Trucker Requirements

This tab discusses various requirements you may encounter when bidding work as a DBE trucker. 

Doing Business with DBEs

The sections below only discuss DBEs in the context of bidding as a DBE trucker. For a fuller picture of how bidding works with DBEs, see the prime consultant section on contracts with DBE Requirements.

DBE Goals

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program exists to create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for transportation contracts. The Program requires ADOT to set DBE contract goals if it determines that it cannot meet its overall goal for DBE participation in other ways.

In essence, a DBE contract goal is a requirement that a certain percentage of work for the project be performed by certified DBEs. When counting DBE participation, the DBE must be certified in the category of work it performs in order for that work to count towards DBE participation. Further, only the value of work actually performed by the DBE counts toward DBE participation, and it is only counted after the work has been paid for. Certain special rules apply for trucking firms. These special rules are discussed below.

More information on the ADOT DBE policy and how it is implemented can be found in the BECO section of the ADOT website.

Commercially Useful Function

It is important to note that DBE involvement only satisfies DBE goals if the DBE serves a commercially useful function. Generally, this means that the DBE must perform the whole of a task itself and the task must be necessary for the completion of the project. The specific rules vary by the task being performed, however.  

As a DBE, you will not be considered to be performing a commercially useful function if you acts only as an extra participant in a transaction or project to provide the appearance of DBE participation. If you do not perform or exercise responsibility for at least 30 percent of the total cost of its contract with your own work force, or if you subcontract a greater portion of the work of a contract than would be expected on the basis of normal industry practice for the type of work involved, ADOT will presume that you are not performing a commercially useful function. 

For you, as a DBE trucking company, to be deemed to be performing a commercially useful function, you must be responsible for the management and supervision of the entire trucking operation for which you are responsible on a particular contract. Further, you firm must own itself (i.e., you cannot be a subsidiary of another firm) and operate at least one truck, and you must use that truck each day on which it is earning credit toward the DBE goal.

If you are presumed not to be performing a commercially useful function as provided above, you may present evidence to rebut this presumption. Decisions on commercially useful function matters are subject to review by FHWA, but are not administratively appealable to U.S. DOT.

See this video from the FHWA for more information on what qualifies as a Commercially Useful Function.

For more information on good faith efforts, as well as information on what sort of work satisfies the commercially useful function requirement of DBE goals, read the Commercially Useful Function Checklist on the ADOT website. 

DBE Goal Credit

In some cases, not all of the money paid to a DBE can count toward the DBE goal. In trucking for instance, if you lease additional trucks (including operators) from another DBE, the total value of the transportation services counts toward the DBE goal. However, if you lease additional trucks (including operators) from a non-DBE, credit towards the DBE goal is earned by the additional trucks only up to an equivalent amount to that earned by the DBE-owned trucks. For additional trucks leased from non-DBE companies, only the fee or commission paid to the DBE as a result of the lease agreement is counted toward the DBE goal.

For example, if Firm X (a DBE) owns and operates two trucks and leases three trucks from Firm Y (a non-DBE), then the costs for the trucks from Firm X and two trucks from Firm Y would count toward the DBE goal. For the additional truck from Firm Y, only the commission paid to the DBE as a result of the lease agreement would count toward the DBE goal.

Good Faith Efforts

Sometimes a bidder or proposer may not be able to find certified DBEs to meet a contract goal no matter how hard they try. It is acceptable to not to meet a DBE contract goal so long as the bidder can demonstrate it has made a good faith effort to do so. That is, the bidder has taken all reasonable steps to find certified DBEs for the contract but still has not been able to meet the contract goal.

Good faith efforts requirements exist to ensure that prime contractors take DBE goals seriously and make a real effort to satisfy them. If the prime contractor is unable to meet the DBE goal on a contract or fails to make a good faith effort to meet the DBE goal, as determined by ADOT, the prime contractor will not be awarded the contract.

DBE Commitment Affidavits

DBE Commitment Affidavits are statements from the prime contractor and each DBE subcontractor that those DBEs will perform the specified work on the project, and that the work performed by DBEs sums to the specified amount.

Each DBE subcontractor and supplier must also submit an Intended Participation Affidavit specifying the work they intend to do on the project. That form can be found in the BECO section of the ADOT website. 

Bidder’s List

The bidder’s list is a list of all subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and manufacturers bidding on the ADOT project in question. The apparent low bidder on ADOT projects must submit this by the fifth working day after the opening of bids. The Bidder’s List form can be found in the BECO section of the ADOT website.