How to become your own trucking authority:
Applying for your Motor Carrier Authority and going into business for yourself should not be an overly complicated process if done correctly. The information below may not be everything you may need to know about obtaining your own Motor Carrier Authority, but it is meant to point you in the right direction.
1. Cost- This is the most important part to plan out as the startup expenses can add up quickly. Having good credit can save a lot of money on your insurance and your financing for your equipment. Good credit could be the difference between paying $10,000/year and paying $22,000/year for insurance. Be sure to project the following accurately:
- Truck and Trailer
- Vehicle Registration Fees
- Insurance (Can vary from $6,000 to $30,000 for new authorities)
2. Insurance- It is sometimes best to start here before opening a new authority. Truck insurance cost can vary greatly for new companies anywhere from $6,000 – $20,000 for short haul and $10,000 – $30,000 for long haul. There are many factors which can affect rates such as: credit, age of driver, age of owner, CDL experience, age of equipment, driving record, and much more.
3. Pick the best tax structure- One of the big benefits of having your own business is the tax benefit. It is advisable to not choose the cheapest option upfront and consult with a CPA about what is right for you. Going with the cheapest option can open you up to liability and also end up costing you more money than you save at tax time.
4. Who will apply for your motor carrier authority- This is the most important step and we recommend using a professional. Many people will try to do this themselves or choose cheap companies to do it for them and often come to regret it. You will need to fill out paperwork with several different entities:
- MC number, issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- DOT number issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation
- BOC3 process agents who can accept legal documents on your behalf
- Truck Insurance (Hyperlink it to a quote page)
- UCRA, Unified Carrier Registration Act
- IFTA, tracking your mileage per state
5. New Entrant Audit- The FMSCA or a state partner will audit every interstate trucking company within the first 18 months of operation. It is important to be prepared for this, if you are not you can find yourself in a nightmare situation. DOT Consultants (not the people who help you create a company) can help you with this.
6. Additional permits- New York, Kentucky, and New Mexico require additional permits. If you will be traveling through those states you must have these ahead of time.
7. IFTA- Tracking the miles you travel and how much fuel you purchase in each state. Every quarter you have to report those miles to the state you are based in.
8. KNOW YOUR OPERATING COSTS- If you do not know how much it costs to operate per mile you do not know how much you need to make on a load. The most common mistake new motor carriers can make is looking at how much a load pays instead of calculating how much the load pays per mile, in some cases not realizing they are not making money.