Getting your trucking authority is the next step in accelerating your trucking career. Many go from being a company driver, to an owner operator, then running on their own authority. This is not an EASY process, but one that is typically well worth it. Many choose this route because of the flexibility, income potential, and being able to be your own boss. You can follow these steps to get started with your own authority.
1. FILE YOUR BUSINESS
This step is often over looked. It is important to make sure you choose your business format first. A lot of people choose between a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, or some form of Partnership. I highly recommend talking with a CPA or Tax Lawyer to determine what your best business format will be. Then, after that you will need to file the forms with your State at the Secretary of State level, or your local city or county, depending on what you choose. This important because you want to make sure your business if formed legally and the name is available.
2. File for Your Tax Identification Number or Employer Identification Number
What is commonly known as an EIN is your business's TAX ID # that needs to be filed through the IRS. This is completely free to do so and can be done at ww.irs.gov once you have your business filed and know how you are going to set your business tax classification up. DO NOT DO THIS BEFORE TALKING WITH A PROFESSIONAL! A common mistake is people file this incorrectly, so make sure you are doing this correctly to avoid fines or fees.
3. FILE FOR US DOT AND MC #
These can be done simultaneously if you file your MCS 150 Form through the FMCSA. This is a pretty simple online process which can be done at fmcsa.dot.gov . They will issue you your MC# and DOT # following the application and will take approximately 20 business days from that point to go active. Although, it will not go active unless you finish the other steps in that time period.
4. OBTAIN A BOC-3
A BOC-3 is a form required by FMCSA to get your authority activated. What it does is essentially give you a processing agent in each state. These are fairly easy to get and can cost between $10-$50 depending. You only need to file this one time for the life of your company, unless you need to change your name. DO NOT BUY A SUBSCRIPTION OR ANNUAL SERVICE!
5. Get Insurance
Carriers are obligated to carry both cargo and liability insurance. The coverage amount required is depending on the type of company you have. Although, the most common requirement is $750,000 in liability insurance and $100,000 in cargo insurance. Please know, that most brokers will require $1,000,000 in liability to work with them though. I recommend talking with an insurance professional, if you need one recommended, call us. They will then file the required form with FMCSA to make sure your authority goes active.
Now these are the 5 required steps to get your authority! Hooray! But, this may not be all you need you may need these services depending on your business operations. I will quickly go over them below:
IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) /IRP (International Registration Plan)
This is your fuel tax filing and your apportioned plated. These are typically required if you are crossing state lines and your equipment in rated over 26k. This can typically be filed through your DMV or local DOT office can point you in the right direction
Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
This is an annual filing required. This annual fee is based off the number of trucks in your fleet and can be filed at https://plan.ucr.gov/
2290- Heavy Haul Tax
If you were an owner operator, you are probably familiar with this tax. But this is your highway use tax https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-2290
New York, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Oregon all have traveling permits that are required and are essentially more of a highway or distance and use type of permit. You can buy them at the port of entries or file them through the state once a year to save money.
How are you going to get paid on that first load? How do you get paid after hauling a load? All really important questions. Visit www.inmotiondispatch.com/factoring for more info. But essentially, it is a service that provides you capital in exchange for your invoices so you don't have to wait the 30 days to get paid after hauling a load
Using a dispatch service can be really helpful when starting out. A dispatch service can help you find loads, and keep your organized over the road. They may have connections to brokers and freight that you may not with your new authority. To inquire or learn more visit www.inmotiondispatch.com/dispatching
Fuel is an ongoing variable, and very expensive expense. Use a fuel card to save money on fuel. Contact us at www.inmotiondispatch.com/finance to inquire on a free fuel card to save up to $0.50 per gallon at the pump and earn free showers and parking.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a representative of FMCSA or USDOT, and am an individual that has accumualted these steps from research. I reccomend you still work with FMCSA or DOT to assure you have everything you need to get your authority active and get and stay compliant.