How to Get Your Trucking Authority
Updated: Jun 17
Getting your trucking authority is a lengthy process, but you have to follow each step correctly to avoid any costly mistakes in the long run. Whether you've been driving a truck for years or are completely new to the trucking industry, you have to apply for your own authority to run a trucking company. We are here to make sure you don't miss a step.
1 - Register your trucking company
You must register your business based on where you plan to operate your trucking company. You also need to decided what type of business entity you want to run your trucking company as. Depending on whether you want to run your business as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company, there are different forms you'll need to fill out.
2 - Get your EIN
For a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, you have to have a EIN issued by the IRS. It is also recommended to get an EIN when you have a sole proprietorship, but it isn't mandatory. If you don't get an EIN with a sole proprietorship, you have to use your personal social security number which could open you up to identity theft, so it is not recommended.
3 - Register your USDOT
All trucking company must register with the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). Your USDOT is your company's ID number. You can access all your company's information through it like vehicle information, cargo, safety and compliance information. All this information is available for shippers to look so they know who is hauling for them. Every 2 years your USDOT is renewed or anytime you make changes to your fleet size, name, phone number, address, or cargo type.
4 - Apply for your MC Number
Your MC number is what give you the authority to participate in interstate commerce. You cannot run a trucking company or drive a truck without an active one. After you apply for your MC number with the FMCSA, you get it immediately, however is it not active yet. After this, you have 20 days to complete your BOC-3 and insurance policy steps. Once you have those filed with the FMCSA. your MC number becomes active within the next 2-3 weeks. About 2 weeks after that, your authority certificate will come in the mail. NOTE: you cannot legally drive your trucking until your MC number is active and your BOC-3 and insurance policy is filed with the FMCSA.
5 - File a BOC-3
The FMCSA requires you have a designated process agent in each state that can be served legal paperwork on your behalf. This is what a BOC-3 is for. If you make any changes to your address, name, or phone number, you need to file a new BOC-3 or 30 days later your MC number will be put on an inactive list.
6 - Get an insurance policy
To drive your truck you must have an active insurance policy. Just like with the BOC-3, any changes made to your address, phone number, or name, must be reported to your insurance company. They then must resubmit the information to the FMCSA to prevent you from going on an inactive list.
7 - Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
A UCR permit verifies that you have active insurance in the states that you operate in. To apply for your UCR, you use your USDOT and MC Number, so it cannot be done before having these.
8 - Pay your HVUT
Before the next step (agreeing to the IRP), you have to pay your HVUT. The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is an annual tax accessed on all heavy vehicles operating on public highways.
9 - Agree to the IRP and get apportioned plates
When you operate your truck in multiple jurisdictions, you have to annually report the miles you drive in each state and pay taxes on them. You set up your IRP for fleets that travel 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 before setting this up. The registration fee of the IRP is determined by how many miles you drive in each state you haul in. Once this fee is paid, you will get your apportioned plates.
10 - Set up an 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 multiple jurisdictions. Once your IFTA account is set up, you get an IFTA license and two decals for each qualifying vehicle. At the end of each fiscal quarter, you must complete a fuel tax report that lists all miles you traveled in in the participating jurisdictions and all your fuel expenses.
11 - 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.
Prior to getting on the road, all your compliance has to be in order. If you skip a step or make a mistake, your authority will not be active and you will not be allowed to drive. This will delay you getting on the road and running your trucking company. Once you have gotten your authority and are ready to start running your business, make a plan to get paid and find loads.
We are here to help you avoid these costly mistakes. We will file your authority for FREE so you don't need to worry about skipping a step.
Call us today - (855) 552-4689 or fill out this form and a specialist will be in touch!