Steps to Get Your Trucking Authority
Updated: Sep 14
Whether you have been driving a truck for years or are new to the industry, if you want to work under your own operating authority and run your own trucking company, you have to apply for an MC number. Here are the steps you need to take to get on the road with your own trucking authority.
Register your business
The registration is done based on where you plan to operate your trucking company. You will also have to decide what type of business entity you want to run. There are different forms and filing if you want to form a sole proprietorship or limited liability company, so make sure you know what you want to form.
Obtain your EIN
If you form a limited liability company or corporation you have to have an EIN number issued by the IRS. If you form a sole proprietorship, you can get an EIN to use (recommended to protect your privacy), or you can use your personal social security number for your business entity. However, this can open you up to potential identity theft which is why it is not recommended.
Register for your USDOT All trucking companies must register with the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). Your USDOT number is your company's ID number which accesses all your company information like vehicle information, cargo, safety and compliance information. All the information under your USDOT is available for shippers that you haul for to see. Your USDOT is renewed every 2 years or anytime you make changes to your fleet size, name, phone number, address, or cargo type.
Apply for your MC Number with the FMCSA
Your MC Number is what gives you authority to participate in interstate commerce. Without an active MC Number, you cannot run a trucking company or drive a truck. You get your MC Number immediately after you apply, but it is not immediately active then.
After the initial application you have 20 days to complete the next 2 steps (BOC-3 and insurance policy). Then, once those have been completed, your MC Number will become active within the next 2-3 weeks. About 2 weeks after that you will receive your authority certificate in the mail. You cannot legally drive your truck until your MC Number is active and you have your BOC-3 and insurance policy filed with the FMCSA.
File a BOC3
You must file for a BOC-3 as the FMCSA requires you have a designated process agent in each state that can be served legal paperwork on behalf of your company if needed. If you make changes to your address, name, or phone number, you will need to file a new BOC-3 or your MC Number will be out in an inactive list 20 days later.
Get an insurance policy
You must have an active insurance policy to drive your truck. Just like with the BOC-3, if you make any changes to your address, phone number, or name, you must report it to your insurance company so that they resubmit the information to the FMCSA so you don't risk being put on the inactive list.
Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
Your UCR permit verifies you have an active insurance policy in the states that you drive your truck in. You use your USDOT and MC Number to apply for your UCR.
Pay your HVUT
Before you agree to the IRP, you must pay your HVUT. The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is an annual tax assessed on all heavy vehicles operating on public highways.
Get apportioned plates and IRP
If you operate your truck in multiple jurisdictions, you have to annually report your mileage drive in each state and pay taxes on those miles. You must set up your IRP for fleets of vehicles traveling in two or more member jurisdictions.
For the IRP, you'll need to know your trucks VIN, title information, in purchase cost and date, make, and model. You also need to have an idea of what states you plan to haul in. The registration fee of this is determined by the states you haul in and how many miles you drive in those states. Once you pay the IRP fee, you will get your apportioned plates.
Set up IFTA account
IFTA is an agreement across the lower 48 states of the United States on reporting fuel use by motor carriers that operate in more than one jurisdiction. Once you set up your IFTA account, you get an IFTA license and two decals for each qualifying vehicle. At the end of each fiscal quarter, you must complete your fuel tax report which lists all miles traveled in the participating jurisdictions and all your fuel purchases.
Enroll in a drug and alcohol consortium
All motor carriers must register with a drug and alcohol testing center prior to getting on the road. The FMCSA and the DOT require all motor carriers to have negative drug screens prior to hiring or driving themselves.
All your compliance has to be in order before you can get on the road and start driving. If you skip a step, your authority will not be active and you will not be allowed to drive, meaning you won't be able to start making money running loads.
We are here to help you not skip any steps and avoid all costly mistakes in this process. Give us a call today at (205) 397-0934 for more information or learn more here.