Want To Start Your Own Trucking Company?

Getting your own operating authority is typically a big step in starting a trucking company, but it’s just one piece of the large puzzle! What’s the first step to getting trucking authority and how do you do it?

First, let’s discuss what "trucking authority" is. Then, how to get an operating authority, what’s required to get an MC and DOT Number, and how the Innovative Logistics team can do it for you!

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WHY DO I NEED AN OPERATING AUTHORITY?


WHAT IS TRUCKING AUTHORITY?

Like many words in the trucking industry, motor carrier operating authority is synonymous with many other terms like; trucking authority, MC authority, DOT authority, MC Number, and USDOT Number. Most of the time, these terms are in reference to the same thing.


SO, WHAT IS OPERATING AUTHORITY AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Operating authority is required for most carriers who transport passengers, freight or automobiles in interstate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government agency that regulates the trucking industry and grants/revokes active operating authority by issuing Motor Carrier (MC) and USDOT Numbers. MC and USDOT Numbers serve as unique identifiers for your trucking company and help the FMCSA conduct inspections, monitor your safety scores, maintain compliance reviews, and more.


HOW TO GET OPERATING AUTHORITY

  • FORM YOUR COMPANY

Before you start filing paperwork to get authority, you need to form your company correctly, register your EIN number, and other business basics. Your new business requirements will vary based on each individual state. You will want to ensure you select the appropriate legal filing status (LLC, INC, Etc.)

Apply for a Free LLC Here

  • APPLY FOR AUTHORITY WITH THE FMCSA

You’ll use the Unified Registration System, which now replaces several outdated forms, creating a simplified online registration system. The filing fee is $300 for each type of authority. It’s however a lengthy process, and you need to make sure you have all the information you need to get started. We are here to guide every step of the way in this process. 

  • GET INSURANCE

Obtaining trucking insurance is often the biggest hurdle to get over for new trucking companies, so take your time to research and select this. Your authority will not be considered “active” without proof of insurance and processing agents (BOC-3). Insurance rates fluctuate and can be very expensive. Rates are determined by a variety of factors including company history, driving records, vehicle value, and other influences. Fill out the applications in detail and talk to the insurance companies about your company and plans to find the best insurance rates possible.

  • REGISTER FOR UCR

UCR is the Unified Carrier Registration system, this is to fund states to enforce motor carrier safety laws. Fees due under the UCR are based on fleet size and must be renewed annually.

  • REGISTER FOR IRP

The International Registration Plan (IRP) is a registration reciprocity agreement among them United States, Washington D.C., and Canadian Provinces providing for payment of fees based on an interstate carrier’s annual mileage in participating jurisdictions. IRP plate fees are based on the percentage of miles you operate in each state or Canadian province, so plate fees will vary. The average plate fee for a company operating one vehicle in all jurisdictions at a registered Gross Vehicle Weight of 80,000 lbs. is about $2,000.00 for 12 months. THIS IS ONLY AN ESTIMATE.

  • REGISTER FOR IFTA

In relation to fuel purchases, interstate motor carriers are required to file IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) taxes on a quarterly basis through the taxing authority the carrier’s base state. The International Fuel Tax Agreement (or IFTA) is an agreement between the lower 48 states of the United States and the Canadian provinces, to simplify the reporting of fuel use by motor carriers that operate in more than one jurisdiction. An operating motor carrier with IFTA receives an IFTA license and decals for each qualifying vehicle it operates. The carrier must file a quarterly fuel tax report. This report is used to determine the net tax or refund due and to redistribute taxes from collecting states to states that it is due.


This tax is required for motor vehicles used, designed, or maintained for transportation of persons or property and:

  1. The Power Unit has two axles and a gross vehicle weight or registered gross vehicle weight in excess of 26,000 pounds, and/or
  2. The Power Unit has three or more axles regardless of weight, and/or
  3. Is used in combination, when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight.
  • HEAVY VEHICLE USE TAX FORM 2290 (HVUT)

If you own a vehicle with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more, you are required to file a Heavy Vehicle Use Tax return, or form 2290, with the IRS each year. Also, there are four states that have additional taxes to haul within them. If you plan to haul regularly through Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, or Oregon, you’ll need to complete those registrations as well.


We can help. We have helped countless carriers form their companies, activate their MC authority, and start hauling freight. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, we’ll customize a program that fits your needs depending on the filings and registrations you need. Plus, we have additional resources and helpful information for you to get started on the right path.

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COSTS TO GET YOUR OWN AUTHORITY?

The FMCSA charges $300 to file the required paperwork and get your authority issued. This includes your MC and DOT Numbers. To reinstate an authority that has been suspended, the cost is $80, and if you need to change the name on your entity, the cost is $14.


If you want active authority, you’ll have to spend significantly more. 


General Estimates:

  • $2,000-$6,800: Insurance Down Payment (per truck)
  • $500-$3,000: IRP (apportioned plates per truck)
  • $100-$550: Heavy Vehicle Use Tax Obligations (per truck)
  • $500: Additional State Specific Tax Obligations (per truck)


Contact us today so we can put together some estimates to determine what it will cost you to start a trucking company including other filing and registration fees, insurance down payments, and taxes.

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TYPES OF OPERATING AUTHORITY

In the Unified Registration System, where you apply for your MC and DOT Numbers, there are several different types of operating authority you can choose. The three main types of operating authority are motor carrier, broker, and freight forwarder. Depending on your type of operation or the cargo you carry you might need to have multiple operating authorities.

Most applicants will need to register with the Unified Registration System (URS) online to obtain active operating authority. However, the process of applying for authority from the FMCSA is not simple and depends on whether you’ve applied before. That’s just another reason why Innovative Logistics Group is here to help you!

As you can see, getting trucking authority on your own isn’t always as easy as just submitting an application to get an MC number or DOT Number. Our team of experts know exactly what needs to be done and can simplify the process for you!

Call us at 704-499-8300 to get started!

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Authority Service Prices

Compare our authority packages and find the best fit for you.

Motor Carrier Authority

$600


Quick Start Setup!

USDOT Number

MC Number

BOC-3 Process Agent Filing (Free as part of our package)

Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)

Select

Authority Setup and Compliance Assistance

$199

Per Month

$599.00 Down

Motor Carrier Authority Setup

4 Monthly Consulting Hours

Preparing IFTA Reports

Preparing for the New Entrant Safety Audit

Select

LET’S GET STARTED WITH YOUR AUTHORITY!

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO START A TRUCKING COMPANY?


There is no simple answer. But the truth is that the cost of starting a trucking company varies business-to-business and state-to-state. Startup cost also fluctuates based on the type of trucking company you want to start, including cargo you plan to haul, the operation you want to run, insurance coverage, and more. New trucking company owners can invest somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 to start a small trucking company. Applying for the authority is only one of the many steps in starting your own company. Let Innovative Logistics Group help you with that.