Trucking Authority 101

Already know what you need? Get started on your application by entering your zip code.

Prefer to speak with a CoverWallet consultant? Call (646) 844--9933 anytime

When it comes to transporting goods and delivering merchandise, most small businesses opt to lease firms to save on operating costs and licensing expenses. While this might be a good idea for those unable to build their rig, in the trucking industry having your own authority means greater profit by cutting the middleman or third player.

If you are a small cargo firm, moving company, freight forwarder, truck delivery service or a related establishment who wants to start a trucking business, getting yourself familiar with trucking authority is deemed to be essential.

What is trucking authority?

Also known as Operating Authority or Motor Carrier Authority, it is the permission granted by the government to transport goods in exchange for profit. The main body responsible for regulating the trucking industry is the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). Without trucking authority, you are not allowed to cross boundaries or even carry goods for delivery purposes.

Although required by law, not everyone in the field has trucking authority. Some companies are leased owner-operators, meaning revenues made are shared between the owner and operator. Alternatively, getting your own trucking authority gives you the operational freedom to choose your own loads, schedule and even route leading to a more efficient and income-generating business.

How do I get my own trucking authority?

Contrary to the common misconception, how you get your own trucking authority is really simple. As long as you have the right requirements on hand, in no time you’ll be able to start your own trucking company!

In order:

  1. Formally register your business either as a sole proprietorship or as a limited liability corporation.
  2. Obtain your Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
  3. Visit FMCSA’s website and download all necessary trucking authority application forms.
  4. Complete and submit all forms depending on which ones apply to your trade.
  5. While waiting for your application, secure liability and cargo insurance.
  6. Make sure that your insurance company notifies the FMCSA regarding your coverage.
  7. After receiving your authority permit, contact your state's Department of Transportation (DOT) and process other requirements such as International Registration Plan (IRP) forms, physical and drug tests, heavy vehicle fuel tax, payment for the registration fee, etc.

The whole trucking authority application process takes about 10–25 business days to complete. But, if your application is subject for further review, expect an additional eight weeks before you can obtain your own authority.

Even though the whole procedure is pretty straightforward, for small and start-up trucking companies the lengthy process can quite be daunting. We at CoverWallet understand this, and as a token of appreciation to our valued customers, we extend help to those in need by lending trucking authority application assistance to make the whole process easier and more convenient.

Are you ready to get down to business?

Great, just click get a quote and you’re off.

What types of trucking authorities exist?

Generally speaking, there are two types of trucking authorities you can apply for – contract and common. These two are different concerning who they can provide cargo transportation services to.

• Contract carriers are only allowed to haul freights for firms that they have contractual agreements with. • Common carriers can hire themselves to anyone wishing to have goods transported in exchange for payment, with or without formal contracts.

Both carriers are required to have at least $750,000 in liability insurance, but only common carriers are mandated to purchase cargo insurance.

How much does trucking authority cost?

Depending on the state you wish to operate in, trucking authority cost varies. The filing fee is set at $300 while the IRP for trucks with more than 26,000 lbs gross weight ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 and is recognized in all 48 states including the provinces of Canada. Moreover, those operating within NY, NM, KY and OR borders are required to have a simple permit that can amount from $7 to $15 per truck, provisional to the miles traveled.

Business Insurance

Running a business is challenging enough without having to worry about lawsuits, employee injuries or property damage. Having the right insurance gives you the peace of mind to focus on what matters - running your business.

The coverage you need depends on the type of business you run. A restaurant owner needs to be covered against customers possibly getting food poisoning while an accountant needs to be covered against calculation errors. CoverWallet's intelligent assessment system will identify the insurance you need based on your specific business, get you a policy that fits your budget, and do it all in less time than you think.

Get free quotes »