Get Your Own Trucking Authority Checklist

Strong Tie Insurance September 13, 2021 Our Blog

When you’ve decided to start your own trucking business, you will need to acquire your own trucking authority to gain permission from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to operate, as well as a reliable commercial truck insurance California.

But if you’ve tried searching online for how to go about getting your trucking authority, you may find yourself confused or overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available on the topic.

For those who are ready to get their trucking authority, here is a checklist of everything you need to have in order to have your own trucking authority and operate your trucking business.

Employer Identification Number

All trucking companies need to be registered businesses. But if you’re a limited liability company or corporation, then you also must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) which you can get from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

EIN is used primarily for taxation purposes, and it’s one of the requirements for obtaining your Trucking Authority from the FMCSA.

US Department of Transportation Number

As a business that will be transporting goods or cargo, you need to register your business with the US Department of Transportation (USDOT).

Moreover, you need to acquire a USDOT number which will be used to collect and monitor your company’s safety information during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and other forms of inspections.

To get your USDOT number, you should register through the Unified Registration System. You will be asked to provide truck information, the scope of your operations, the kind of cargo you will be hauling, and other information pertaining to the nature of your business.

All the data you provide will be filed under your USDOT number and this will be made available to everyone you work with. Acquiring your USDOT number is free of charge. And once you get your USDOT number, you’ll be given a PIN to use when you make changes in the data filed with USDOT or FMCSA in the future.

Motor Carrier Number

As a trucking company, you may need to haul commodities from one state to another. Hence you need a Motor Carrier (MC) Number, also known as trucking authority or operating authority, which functions as an interstate operating authority.

The MC number serves to identify you as a carrier as you transport regulated goods and cargo interstate.

To get your MC number, the same information you provided to get your USDOT number will be asked. Once you provide all the relevant information, you will be issued an MC number.

BOC-3

Once you are issued an MC number, you still cannot operate your trucking business and will have to fulfill two things within 20 days of receiving your MC number. One of those requirements is filing the form BOC-3 or Designation of Agents for Service of Process.

BOC-3 is a federal filing requirement for all transportation companies operating in the United States. BOC-3 requires you to identify FMCSA agents or Service Of Process (SOP) agents whom you authorized to receive legal documents on your behalf.

As you’ll be traveling interstate for business, you will need to appoint one agent in each state, and the agent must be physically located and present at the address provided during normal business hours.

To file your BOC-3, you can go through a process agent who is authorized to file online. Otherwise, you will need to file the hard copy to FMCSA yourself.

Do note that each time you make changes to your data filed under your MC number, you’re required to re-file BOC-3.

Trucking Insurance

Another requirement to accomplish within 20 days of receiving your MC Number is trucking insurance. Depending on your type of trucking authority, you may be required to have two forms of insurance, primary liability, and cargo insurance.

Primary liability insurance covers injuries and damage to property when you’re at fault for an accident. Meanwhile, cargo insurance covers physical damage or theft of commodities you are transporting.

Both types of insurance are incredibly important not only to protect the goods of your client but also to protect you from incurring large expenses in moments of accidents.

FMCSA requires trucking companies to have at least $750,000 coverage for primary liability and at least $100,000 coverage for cargo. These are bare minimum coverage. If you are hauling special cargo, you will need higher coverage for cargo insurance.

Once you’ve been approved for insurance, have your insurance provider report your coverage to FMCSA. This, along with a filed BOC-3, are necessary for your trucking authority to take effect.

International Registration Plan & International Fuel Tax Agreement

There are many requirements to comply with when you’re operating a trucking business. To make trucking easier, there are cooperative programs such as the International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) which collect and distribute registration and fuel tax revenue between member states and Canadian provinces.

All trucking companies that operate interstate and have over 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or have three or more axles on the power unit are required to have IRP and IFTA accounts.

To set up your IRP account, you have to ask your local IRP office for the necessary forms. Take note that your base jurisdiction is the state where your vehicle is registered in. Once you’re done with registration, you will be given an Apportioned License Plate for your vehicle and an Apportioned Cab Card which lists all the jurisdictions you are allowed to operate in.

Meanwhile, to set up your IFTA account, you can either get the form online or from your state Department of Transportation (DOT), depending on your state. After filing and finishing your registration, you will receive your decal for the year which lasts until Dec. 31 of every year.

Attach the IFTA decal in the lower right corner of your IRP front registration plate.

Obtain Commercial Truck Insurance California

Ready to put your trucking authority to use? Don’t forget to obtain a commercial truck insurance which FMCSA requires of all trucking companies!

With over 20 years of experience protecting trucking clients, Strong Tie Insurance will provide you the commercial truck insurance California you’re looking for. 

If you’re looking for commercial truck insurance California, you can get a free quote by contacting us at Strong Tie Insurance today.