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July 8, 2020

What’s the Difference Between an MC Number and a DOT Number?

A red semi on a road next to red rocks.

When starting your own trucking company or even considering becoming a broker, you may need your DOT Number, MC Number or both. But, what’s the difference between the two? Does your trucking company need one, both, or neither? How much do they cost?

These are commonly confused regulations. Getting what you don’t need can waste money. Not getting what you need can get you in trouble with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If you’re trying to determine what you need, Here are the general rules between the two:

DOT Number MC Number
Needed for interstate commerce Yes Yes
Needed for intrastate commerce Yes No
Needed to haul your own property Yes No
Needed to haul your own construction equipment Yes No
Working for-hire to haul someone else’s property Yes Yes
How much does it cost to get? $99 $499

*If you are planning on hauling hazardous materials, the rules are much different. Call Motor Carrier HQ to let us help you determine what you need.

What Is a DOT Number?

A DOT Number acts like a driver’s license for your trucking company. You can get a DOT Number to verify with the FMCSA that your company is operating as a trucking company.

A DOT Number is often used to verify that you are using a vehicle commercially, whether you’re hauling your own products or moving equipment with a qualified commercial motor vehicle.

What Is an MC Number?

An MC Number is also called operating authority or trucking authority. Operating authority is most commonly needed when you’re planning on working for-hire in interstate commerce (hauling loads in more than one state) or hauling hazardous materials.

The MC Number is more expensive than a DOT Number and requires a $300 fee set by the FMCSA.

There are different types of trucking authority, including:

  • Motor Carrier of Property
  • Motor Carrier of Household Goods
  • Broker of Property
  • Broker of Household Goods

The FMCSA does not offer refunds if you apply for the wrong type of authority. It may cost you more if you apply for the wrong one, so you should know what type of authority you need before you apply.

Leave It to Us

Not knowing the differences between an MC Number and DOT Number can get your trucking company in big trouble. There are a lot of exceptions and rules that may make it hard to determine whether you need an MC Number, a DOT Number, or both.

If you want to get your DOT Number or MC Number, give Motor Carrier HQ a call! We can get the proper authority and build a custom game plan for your business. Relying on experts can save you money by only getting what your business needs and never what you don’t.

Are you ready to order? Get your DOT Number or your MC Number by ordering online. If you want to learn more about these two numbers, we’ve also covered more commonly asked questions about these two policies down below.

Who Needs a DOT Number?

Companies need a DOT Number if you have a vehicle that meets the requirements set by the FMCSA.

Your company qualifies for a DOT number if you meet one of these requirements:

  • You’re using the vehicle to haul hazardous materials that require a safety permit either in one state or intrastate
  • Your vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more
  • You’re using a vehicle designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers for hire
  • You’re using a vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers and is not used for compensation

At Motor Carrier HQ, we can get your DOT Number for you for $99.

Who Needs an MC Number

Trucking companies need an MC Number if:

  • They’re planning on operating for-hire
  • They’re transporting passengers or arranging transport in interstate commerce
  • They’re hauling federally regulated loads or arranging transport in interstate commerce

There are also exceptions, and you can ask us if your company meets any of them. These exceptions are:

  • Anyone who is hauling their own property
  • Anyone who hauls loads that are not federally regulated
  • Anyone hauling in states and areas that do not follow regular interstate commerce rules

If you decide you want your MC Number, you can have the paperwork handled for you by us. Order our complete operating authority package for $499.

How Long Does It Take To Get Your DOT Number and MC Number?

Once you fill out the appropriate paperwork, you can get your DOT Number in about an hour. It is active immediately and you can start operating your business right away. You can also get your MC Number around the same time as your DOT Number, but it takes at least 21 days for your MC Number to be active.

Learn more about how long it takes, how to get one, and what you can do while waiting for your MC Number to become active.

What Else Do You Need To Start Your Trucking Company

If you need your MC Number, there are a few other pieces you may need to make sure your trucking company is compliant, like the BOC-3 filing agent and more. We cover operating authority more in depth and even how much it costs to start a trucking company in our podcast Haulin Assets. It’s a great resource for anyone thinking about starting their own trucking company.

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I’ve listened to the Haulin Assets podcast since it started and I knew when I was ready to get my DOT started I would have the guys at Motorcarrier HQ take care of it, well they didn’t disappointed in how quickly and professionally they started my LLC and got me my DOT numbers, I’ll be going back sometime next year for them to get my MC started and complete the process to getting my authority, hope this helps someone who is on the fence.

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