Are you considering starting your own trucking business? The world of trucking can be incredibly fulfilling and freeing for truckers and business owners alike. However, there are a lot of different filings and authorities you have to obtain to haul legally. While it can be difficult to parse what’s necessary and what isn’t, with help from the experts, you can get everything you need to start your business. Here are all of the things you’ll need to become an owner-operator or business owner in the world of trucking:
Establish your company.
Establishing your trucking business is step one of the process. This step includes the process of deciding what kind of trucking business you want to establish. Do you want to be a carrier who does all the physical trucking and moving of goods? Or do you want to be a broker who contracts out work to other movers? Do you want to operate only within your home state (Intrastate) or across multiple states and even the whole country (Interstate)? These are the questions that you’ll need to ask yourself and anyone else joining you in your new business venture.
Establishing your company requires a fair amount of filing in its own right, from appointing a registered agent to filing things like articles of incorporation for your business. This is the most difficult part of the process of starting a trucking business, though. While there is plenty left to do, it does get a bit easier from here.
Get an EIN.
The acronym “EIN” stands for Employee Identification Number. This is often, though not always, an important step towards starting your trucking company in earnest. You have to get one of these numbers when you establish your company if it’s a corporation, LLC, or other kind of business involving employees. This number is a unique string of digits that government agencies use to identify your business, much like a Social Security Number. Sole proprietorships are a little different, so if it’s just you in the business, you’ll use your SSN instead.
Get a USDOT number.
USDOT numbers are how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) identifies your business. The FMCSA uses this number in its SAFER database to compile information about a given trucking company’s safety records. If your commercial truck weighs more than 10,000 pounds, then you’ll need to get a USDOT number for your business.
If you only intend to be an intrastate trucker, you may be able to stop right here! Many states only require their interstate carriers to get a USDOT number and insurance before they can begin their operations. However, you’ll need to make sure to check with your specific base state to ensure this applies to you.
Obtain an MC authority.
MC authorities, also known as MC numbers, are required for many interstate trucking businesses. If your business only operates in one state, you don’t need this filing! However, interstate hauling companies that meet certain conditions are required to get their MC authority. These companies either transport passengers or haul federally-regulated types of cargo. You can learn more about whether you need an MC authority or not by calling one of our agents.
Submit a BOC-3.
“BOC” stands for Blanket of Coverage, but this filing isn’t about insurance (we’ll get to that in a minute). BOC-3s set up a “process agent” for your business. This process agent accepts legal documents on behalf of the business from each state it operates in. You only need one BOC-3 on file, but it needs to include each state that you intend to operate in, even if that’s just California.
Get liability insurance for your trucking business.
Finally, on to the fun stuff! Liability coverage is a requirement for all commercial vehicles. Your liability insurance policy protects other drivers on the road in the event of an accident that you or one of your drivers causes. Notably, liability does not protect your business itself in the event of an accident, so we recommend getting more extensive coverage. However, once you have your liability coverage, along with all the other filings you need, you can begin your operations with your new trucking business!
Other filings to look into.
There are a few other programs that you may need to look into if your truck and/or operations meet certain requirements.
- IRP and IFTA are nearly essential for interstate operations. These programs are great to join if your business will traffic in interstate commerce regularly.
- Vehicles weighing more than 55,000 are subject to the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, which you can file using Form 2290.
- Some states have specific requirements, including their own individual carrier numbers (like CA numbers) and weight-distance taxes. Make sure to inquire about the requirements for your specific home state.