Everything to know about trucking authority

Semi-truck driving down the highway at sunset.

When starting your own trucking business, there will be plenty of paperwork involved, including getting your own trucking authority.

What is trucking authority?

Simply put, having trucking authority means you’ve received permission from the government to be paid for hauling freight. In other words, you can officially create your own trucking company and make money. Trucking authority, also called operating authority, is provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) by way of a specific Motor Carrier (MC) number.

How do you get your own MC number?

The first step you’ll need to take to get your own trucking authority is to determine the overall shape of your business. This means you’ll need to choose a name for your trucking company, whether you’ll be an LLC, C Corporation, S Corporation, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship, then get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Depending on the type of cargo you want to carry, you’ll have to specify which motor carrier authority you operate under. Also, depending on which state you live in, you may need Intrastate Authority to transport freight within that state. When you apply for trucking authority, you’ll need to specify the types of loads you’ll transport and the region in which you intend to travel.

If your vehicle and cargo are over 10,000 pounds, you’ll need to register for a USDOT number. All trucking companies also need to carry primary liability and cargo insurance. Then, once you confirm the type of cargo you’ll transport, you can apply to receive an MC number from the FMCSA website.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require all truckers for hire, brokers, or freight forwarders to file a BOC-3 form before their authority will be issued. Only a process agent has the authority to file BOC-3 form.

How long does it take to get trucking authority?

In most cases, completing the process takes between five and seven weeks. You may have to wait a short while longer if the FMCSA decides to conduct a further review of your application.

How much does authority cost?

Your next question might be, “how much will it cost?”

According to the FMCSA site, fees are as follows.

Permanent Authority$300.00
Notice of Name Change$14.00
Reinstate Authority$80.00
FMCSA trucking authority fees

Note: the FMCSA does not refund application fees. You may want to review the types of authority before submitting your application.

Trucking companies also need to complete the Unified Carrier Registration process (UCR). Then, you’ll need to acquire the specific decals and signage displaying your DOT number and the motor carrier’s legal name on both sides of every truck.


You may be exempt if you fall under the following:

  • Private carrier that transports your own cargo
  • Only carry federally exempt commodities
  • Operate exclusively within a designated “commercial zone” that’s exempt from interstate authority zones
  • If the gross vehicle weight rating is 10,000 lbs or less, you will not require a trucking authority

Benefits of having your own trucking authority

If you’ve spent a lot of time as a truck driver for a company or as an owner-operator, you probably want to expand your horizons. This natural inclination leads directly to gaining your own trucking authority, which means you’ll be able to work totally independently. Additionally, you’ll see a significant increase in your profits each month.

As with any expansion of a business, you’ll have more responsibility. You’ll have to find your own loads, negotiate rates with potential clients, hire new drivers, and manage multiple trucks. But in the end, it’ll be worth it for your long-term success in the transportation industry.

Getting your own authority also means your business is the real deal – and in the transportation industry, legitimacy and professionalism are key to your growth and prosperity as a company.

Ready to learn more useful information on how you can gain legitimacy, optimize your efficiency, and maximize your profitability as a trucking company? Explore the Optym blog and check back for new posts!

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