What Is An MC Number?
If you know the trucking industry, are already a truck driver, or are looking to start your own trucking company, you would have heard what an MC number is before. However, if you are new to the industry you may have some questions on what an MC number is, who needs one, and how to get one.
So, what is an MC number?
A motor carrier authority, also referred to as an operating authority, is a unique identifier assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to trucking companies that operate in interstate commerce. Interstate commerce is when carriers operate and haul loads across state lines. Companies that are transporting passengers or are moving federally regulated commodities across state lines are required to have an active MC number.
Why do I need to get an MC number?
You must have an active MC number to have interstate authority, however it also comes down to the type of cargo you will be hauling. For example, if you work for a company but only haul within states lines, otherwise known as intrastate authority, you may still be required to have a trucking authority because of the cargo.
If you are hauling inter-modal freight, you're required to get an MC number because he cargo that is being transported in the containers has been travelling across state lines. The cargo could have originated from anywhere, which is why this type of authority is required. Intrastate authority only covers truck drivers that are hauling freight that originates and is delivered within the same state.
What is a USDOT number?
Some of you may have also heard of a DOT number, otherwise known as a United States Department of Transportation number. The FMCSA requires that all drivers that operate in interstate commerce hauling cargo or transporting passengers have one. A DOT number is your company's ID number that keeps track of safety records, as well as information on vehicle type, type of operation, cargo, and compliance. This information is made public for freight brokers and shippers to access.
How do I get an MC number?
The process to get your motor carrier authority usually takes about 3 or so weeks, so it is important to start the process a few weeks before you plan to operate under your own authority. You file for your MC number with the FMCSA and pay a required filing fee. We will file this for you for free, so you don't make any mistakes.
While you get your MC number immediately after you file, it is not active right away. You'll have 20 days after you file to complete your BOC-3 and get an policy with an insurance company. A BOC-3 represents that you have a process agent in each state that can serve legal paperwork on your behalf. This is required by the FMCSA.
About two to three weeks after you have filed your BOC-3 and insurance policy with the FMCSA, your MC authority will become active. It is extremely important to remember that you cannot start hauling loads until this has been done and your authority is active.
If you're starting a new trucking company, there are some extra steps you need to take to become active. As well as getting your MC and DOT number, you'll need to pay your Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT), set up an International Registration Plan (IRP), and get you
r apportioned plates. For the IRP, you must register all vehicles that operate in multiple jurisdictions to report all miles driven and pay taxes on those miles annually.
Next, you'll need to set up an International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), which is an agreement between the lower 48 states and Canadian provinces to simplify the reporting of fuel taxes, and must be completed quarterly. You also need to complete your Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) which states that you have an active insurance policy in the states you operate in. Lastly, you must enroll in a drug and alcohol consortium to prove you have negative drug screens before hiring carriers or driving yourself.
Let us help you start the process by filing your authority for you, completely free! Click here for more information.