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How to Get Motor Carrier Authority

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Feb. 8, 2024, 11:08 p.m.


Here is how to get motor carrier authority:

  • Research the various requirements for motor carrier authority in your state
  • Make sure you understand all of the regulations that will affect your business
  • Determine what type of insurance and bond coverage you need to obtain and purchase it
  • Contact the Department of Transportation (DOT) office in your state to get an application and complete it
  • Submit the application with any additional required documents, such as copies of insurance certificates or bonds
  • Pay the applicable processing fees
  • Register your vehicles with appropriate agencies, if necessary
  • Provide proof of registration and comply with other requirements set by your state’s DOT department
  • Once approved by the DOT, print out a copy of your authorization


Becoming an authorized motor carrier involves several steps that ensure your freight business operates within the confines of law and industry standards. This article provides a detailed guide to help you understand the process and steps needed to obtain your Motor Carrier Authority.

What is the Motor Carrier Authority?

Motor Carrier Authority, often called operating authority, is a certification issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that authorizes freight transportation companies to haul cargo across state lines. If you plan on operating a business that involves the interstate transportation of goods, obtaining your Motor Carrier Authority is essential.

Steps to Get Motor Carrier Authority

1. Business Registration

Before you can apply for Motor Carrier Authority, you need to establish your business entity. This could be as a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, or a corporation. Depending on your location and business type, this process may involve registering with your state's Secretary of State, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, and setting up a business bank account.

2. Obtain a USDOT Number

The next step is obtaining a USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) Number, which is a unique identifier for your business. It allows for the monitoring and collecting of safety information during audits, inspections, crash investigations, and compliance reviews.

You can apply for a USDOT number through the FMCSA's online Unified Registration System (URS). Remember that some states also require a USDOT Number for intrastate commerce, so check your state's regulations.

3. Apply for MC Number

Once you have a USDOT Number, you can apply for your Motor Carrier (MC) Number, also known as your Operating Authority Number. This number identifies the type of operation that a motor carrier runs. You can apply for the MC Number through the FMCSA's URS, the same system used for the Do I Need a USDOT Number.

4. Insurance Requirements

After obtaining your MC Number, you must provide proof of insurance to the FMCSA. The insurance requirements vary depending on the type of cargo you intend to transport and the weight of your vehicle. Usually, freight brokers are required to have a surety bond or trust fund in the amount of $75,000.

5. BOC-3 Filing

The final step in the application process is the BOC-3 (Blanket of Coverage) filing, which assigns a process agent to represent your business in any legal proceedings in each state where you operate. You can file your BOC-3 form through the FMCSA's URS. Once you complete all these steps, the FMCSA will grant you active authority, and you can begin your freight transportation business.

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Beyond Obtaining Your Motor Carrier Authority

While securing your Motor Carrier Authority is essential in setting up your freight business, the journey doesn't stop there. Want to Know about MCS-150? You must continue to prioritize safety and regulatory compliance, pursue ongoing growth opportunities, and foster strong customer relationships to build a successful, sustainable business.

Maintaining Compliance and Safety

Once you receive your Motor Carrier Authority, it's crucial to stay up to date with safety regulations and compliance requirements. Do you know How To Request the DOT PIN Number? This includes proper driver training, vehicle maintenance, record-keeping, and compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Frequent safety audits and inspections should also be part of your standard operating procedure.

Building a Business Strategy

Operating in the freight industry requires a robust business strategy. Visit & learn about IRP and IFTA registration. This includes defining your service offerings, identifying your target market, setting competitive pricing, and planning for scalability. Remember, a well-thought-out business plan is an essential roadmap to success in the freight industry.

Providing Excellent Customer Service

Customer service is key in any business, and the freight industry is no different. Ensuring on-time deliveries, maintaining open lines of communication, and promptly addressing any customer concerns can help you build a strong reputation and foster customer loyalty.

Continuous Learning and Growth

The freight industry is continually evolving, and as a motor carrier, you must keep pace with industry trends, emerging technologies, and regulation changes. How do you get a California DOT number for applying fleets? Attending industry workshops, webinars, and conferences can help you stay informed and identify opportunities for growth.

Incorporating Technology into Your Freight Business

Technology plays an increasingly significant role in the freight industry. As a new motor carrier, embracing technology can help streamline operations, improve efficiency, and provide better customer service.

For example, transport management systems (TMS) can automate various logistics processes, GPS tracking can provide real-time updates on freight movement, and customer relationship management (CRM) tools can help manage customer interactions more effectively.

Networking and Building Relationships

Building relationships within the industry can help you learn from experienced operators, find reliable partners, and even secure more business. Visit and learn about the US DOT drug and alcohol consortium. Joining industry associations can provide networking opportunities, as can attending trade shows and other industry events.

Investing in Your Team

Your team is the backbone of your freight business. Investing in training and development helps ensure that your team has the necessary skills to perform their roles effectively. Furthermore, fostering a positive company culture can help attract and retain quality employees.

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Maintaining Financial Health

Sound financial management is crucial for the survival and growth of your business. Know how to find an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit. This involves diligent bookkeeping, careful budgeting, and strategic financial planning. Regularly reviewing and analyzing your financial performance can help identify areas for cost-saving or potential investment.


Obtaining your Motor Carrier Authority is critical to launching a successful freight business. Though it may seem overwhelming, understanding each step and carefully completing your applications can streamline the process.

As you venture into the freight transportation world, remember that getting your Motor Carrier Authority is just the first step. Do you know what is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement? Running a successful business also involves providing excellent customer service, maintaining safety standards, and staying compliant with any changes in transportation regulations.

Summary: How Do I Get Motor Carrier Authority?

  • Contact about Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements to learn more about policies for How Much is a Motor Carrier Number.
  • Gather the necessary documents, such as a completed USDOT number application, an operating agreement, and insurance information.
  • We can submit these documents to the FMCSA and once you pay all applicable fees.
  • Wait for your application to be processed; depending on the caseload of FMCSA, you could wait several weeks or months for approval.
  • Once your application is approved, you’ll receive a registration packet with instructions that explain how to submit proof of financial responsibility and safety performance history records.
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