If you have set up a trucking company, then you need to get your hands on operating authority. This is one big piece of the puzzle to conduct your freight forwarding, carrier moving, and business transportation activities. However, for beginners, it is not an easy thing to understand about trucking authority. If you are wondering what the trucking authority is and how do you get your MC number, then read the article below.

Here I’m going to briefly explain everything about getting MC No:

Understand “Trucking Authority”

In a trucking industry, every motor carrier operating company must get familiar with terms like trucking authority, USDOT number, MC number, DOT authority, etc. Most of the time, these words are used interchangeably.

Getting “Trucking Authority” or “Operating Authority” is essential for motor carrier companies and freight forwarding businesses who are directly involved in transporting passengers and moving goods interstate.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The trucking industry is primarily regulated by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration)—a government agency. This regulatory agency grants operating authorities like MC and DOT numbers. These numbers serve as ‘’unique identifiers’’ for trucking businesses. FMCSA is responsible to ensure safety compliance, conduct necessary inspections, monitor road safety, etc.  

6 Easy Steps to Get Operating Authority

To acquire operating authority for your trucking business, you need to;

  • Form and register your company
  • Apply with the FMCSA to get authority. You can also check on the online registration system.
  • Get the best insurance or full-coverage plan
  • Register with Unified Carrier Registration
  • Register for International Registration Plan for payment of fees—depends on interstate carrier’s annual mileage
  • Register for International Fuel Tax Agreement which is a taxing authority
  • Lastly, file for HVUT which is a heavy vehicle use tax, in case the gross weight of your MV is more than 55,000 pounds

Types of Operating Authority

Under UCR systems, you can apply for a DOT number and get an MC number. However, there are several different types of authorities available that you can choose from, depending on the nature of your trucking business and personal preferences.

In general, there are three different types of operating authorities;

  • Motor Carrier
  • Broker
  • Freight Forwarder

Being a newbie in the trucking industry, you are required to carefully weigh down your options. You need to pick the right type of operating authority that can work well with your business operations or the nature/type of cargo you carry.

Getting MC Number

MC number is an addition to a DOT number and most motor carrier companies, forwarders, and transportation businesses need this to carry cargo or transport passengers in interstate commerce. It is required by FMCSA to apply for an MC number to support business operations.

MC is an authorization number assigned by the FMCSA agency to support interstate travel and commercial activities. You need to acquire an active MC number to freely operate within different cities and locations. If your trucking business is being operated within one specific state that has been covered under the Govt. authority, then you can expect some relaxation. However, to make your motor vehicles move beyond the borders, then the MC number is a must.

How to Get an MC Number

Getting an MC number can be an easy task on your end if you are already familiar with the process. Read this section carefully as I’m going to explain how to get your MC number.

You need approximately 3 to 4 weeks to obtain the MC number. Once you have made up your mind to start a trucking business, now is the time to start thinking about processing your MC number as well. You cannot expect your MC number to be active the minute you apply with the FMCSA. Things will take reasonable time.

Up next, you will have 15 to 20 days to sort BOC-3. Simultaneously, you need to buy a good insurance plan for your trucks or MVs. You cannot operate your business with uninsured vehicles. It is suggested to get the best rate by comparing different policy plans. Once you have got your MC number, you will need to file for HVUT.

Remember that the MC number is acquired to differentiate your business from other trucking companies in the industry. If you are not willing to register for it and get identification, then there is no point in investing your money in a trucking business.

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1 Comment

  1. You got my attention when you said that you must register for IRP and pay fees depending on the interstate carrier’s annual mileage. This could be a helpful tip for those who are interested in handling a trucking business. I could imagine the need for trucking business owners to get help in securing plates and permits.

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