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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) & Terms
1. What is operating authority?

“Operating authority” is the term used by transportation regulatory agencies to describe a grant of legal permission by a federal or state government to engage in for-hire interstate (state-to-state) or intrastate (within a state) transportation by motor vehicle. Essentially, it is a business license. Much like a plumber needs to be licensed and insured, so too does a trucker or mover (also called a motor carrier). In certain areas called “Commercial Zones” no trucking license is needed if you operate solely within the zone. However, if you are unlicensed and you transport regulated commodities where one or both points are outside the zone, you run the risk of being issued notices of violation and having to pay substantial civil penalties.   Effective September 2002, you also run the risk of being placed out-of-service by a law enforcement officer. If you transport residential household goods on a regular basis, you will need household goods authority (moving license) and a tariff which lists your rates and charges. You can get a tariff through DOTAuthority.com.
 

2. What types of authority/licenses are there?


Authority is broken down by type (“common”, “contract” and “broker”) and commodity (“property except household goods”, “household goods” and “passenger”). “Common” carriers are essentially companies that are open to the public for hire. They are issued certificates of public convenience and necessity. “Contract” carriers only serve businesses with whom they have-- you guessed it-- a contract! they are issued permits “Brokers” merely arrange for transportation but don’t actually take possession of a shipment. They are issued licenses. General commodities are classified as “Property Except Household Goods”, while the personal effects of a homeowner being moved to a new residence are considered “Household Goods”. Most carriers that operate bus companies or van services are required to have “Passenger” authority. There is also 'freight forwarder' authority. Freight Forwarders are essentially travel agents for freight who arrange for motor carrier, rail, ocean and/or air transportation to get freight from Point A to Point B. Surface Freight Forwarders are issued FF Numbers.

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3. How much does it cost to get operating authority?


If you apply for interstate authority through DOTAuthority.com, the cost to get your operating authority is a one-time, flat fee of $750. This includes the federal filing fee, your USDOT safety tracking number,your ICC/MC registration number and BOC-3 Process Agent form. You will also be asked to comply with the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) System at the time you place your order for authority and pay a state fee depending on the number of trucks you will operate. our system will compute the fee for you. Beware, as some scam permit companies will charge you unusally low authority filing fees and may not actually provide the service! To protect yourself, use only a USDOT licensed practitioner.

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4. How much can it cost me if I operate without authority?

Operating without authority can lead to civil penalties and nightmare appearances before administrative law judges. The USDOT recently assessed
$9,500 in civil penalties to a carrier for not having the proper authority.

At the state level, those states that require that you have operating authority can also impose civil penalties. In New York State, for instance, the penalty for operating without authority can be as high as $5,000 for each violation. In certain jurisdictions it is actually considered a crime if you continually operate without authority and is punishable by jail time and/or fines.

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5. What do I need to do to get operating authority?


To get your interstate operating authority and take advantage of our same-day electronic filings (no additional charge) just fill out our
on-line questionnaire through the DOTAuthority.com website. You should know that there is no longer an Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). It was dissolved by Congress in 1996 (Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act). Applications were then handled by the Federal Highway Administration for a short time but are now no longer processed by that agency. There are now two agencies under the USDOT that perform the remaining licensing, insurance and tariff/complaint review functions that were formerly performed by the ICC. You may use this website to file for DOT operating authority.

For your convenience, DOTAuthority.com accepts VISA, MasterCard and American Express. All credit card transactions are processed in our online secure environment or we can take your credit card information over the phone or by fax. If you would like to pay by business check or money order, simply print out the form and mail it to: PO Box 1007, Commack, NY 11725, along with your payment. If you would like to speak with a representative before you move forward with your on-line application, call us at (888) 414-1874 or
send us an email.



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6. Do I need experience in trucking or moving to get authority?

To get Interstate Authority you do not need any prior experience. In order to obtain Interstate household goods authority, you must simply be able to certify that you are fit, willing and able to exercise the special care associated with transporting household goods.

To obtain household goods operating authority from New York State to operate point to point within New York, you or a key employee need 2 years of experience with a licensed mover and a bona fide place of business in New York to apply and you may have to attend a household goods conference, at which time your fitness will be assessed. To obtain 'property except household goods' authority from New York, you do not need prior experience. This would enable you to do commercial office moves only.

If you would like to apply for New York State trucking or moving operating authority,
send us an email, or call us at (888) 414-1874 and we'll help you make the 'right moves'.

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7. Do I need insurance?

If you apply for authority to be an Interstate carrier then you will need to obtain liability and cargo insurance. When you apply through DOTAuthority.com, we will 'steer you in the right direction' and help you find a broker that specializes in commercial transportation insurance if you don't already have an insurance broker. We do recommend, however, that you look into insurance rates before you file your application as your application fee is non-refundable.


Auto Insurance

TIP: When you do obtain your insurance THE BUSINESS NAME ON YOUR CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE MUST MATCH THE EXACT LEGAL NAME AS INDICATED IN YOUR APPLICATION FOR AUTHORITY.


Get $250,000 in term life insurance for about 50 cents a day

The dollar amounts in parentheses represent the minimum amount of bodily injury and property damage (liability) insurance coverage you must maintain and have on file with the federal government when you operate vehicles having Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more.

*Non-hazardous commodities ($750,000).
*Hazardous materials referenced in the FMCSA's insurance regulations at 49 CFR 1043.2(b)(2)(c) ($1,000,000).
*Hazardous materials referenced in the FMCSA's insurance regulations at 49 CFR 1043.2(b)(2)(b) ($5,000,000).

The dollar amounts in parentheses represent the minimum amount of bodily injury and property damage (liability) insurance coverage you must maintain and have on file with the federal government when you operate vehicles having less than Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds.

*Any quantity of Class A or B explosives, any quantity of poison gas (Poison A), or highway route controlled quantity of radioactive materials ($5,000,000).
*Commodities other than listed above ($300,000).


Over 50? Save up to $250* on auto insurance.

--Common Carriers must also file evidence of a $10,000 cargo insurance policy. NOTE: shippers and brokers expect carriers to have $1mm commercial vehicle liability and $100,000 cargo liability insurance. We therefore recommend these levels of insurance.

--Brokers must file evidence of a $10,000 surety bond/trust fund.

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8. Why should I choose DOTAuthority.com to prepare and file my application for operating authority and represent me?

 

9.  What is a “Transportation Practitioner” and why should I use one to represent me rather than a “Permit Consultant”?


A Permit Consultant is uncertified and usually charges excessive fees for authority filings. A Transportation Practitioner is a professional that is certified by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) as an expert in regulatory matters. A Practitioner is admitted to practice before the USDOT only after proving he is fit to serve the Transportation Industry. He must possess a background in Transportation, usually in the capacity as a former government transportation regulator and must pass a federal bar exam much like a state-licensed lawyer.

Using a Transportation Practitioner to prepare and file your application and serve as your representative assures that your application will be handled by a qualified professional. When you use DOTAuthority.com's Practitioner, your application is not just filed, it is managed. We do everything we can to make sure that you apply for the right authority and comply with all requirements within the required 20 day period and help you avoid having your application dismissed.
 

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10. What is a Process Agent?

When you apply for Interstate Authority, you are required to have a process agent on file for all 50 states. A process agent is merely someone with a bona fide place of business in the state that will accept legal documents on your behalf and forward them to you. When you apply for authority with DOTAuthority.com, we arrange for our partner process agent service company to make your required BOC-3 filing. If you did not apply through DOTAuthority.com, you can still get a process agent for $100.

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11.  What is a Tariff?

A tariff is a published listing of a mover's rates and charges and the rules that apply to the transportation of a residential household goods shipment. Effective Jan. 1st 2008, all movers must now publish an individual tariff. Collective rates are no longer lawful and the 400N AMSA tariff has been discontinued.

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12. Do I need a Tariff?


If you apply to become an Interstate common carrier of household goods (mover) the
United States Code and Federal Regulations require that you publish a Tariff before you can begin lawfully operating.

Your Tariff must include all of the rates and charges that you will charge a shipper of household goods and you may not apply a rate or charge unless it appears in your published Tariff. There are severe
civil and criminal penalties for not publishing and abiding by your lawful tariff. To find out more information about the Federal Tariff Requirement, call the USDOT directly at: 202-565-1578. Note: if you will be transportating household goods, be sure to ask about the tariff requirement for a moving company.

DOTAuthority.com will publish your easy-to-read, custom Tariff for a one-time fee of $750 for Interstate Rates and $550 for New York State Rates. There are no annual fees, no subscriptions and no "primers".

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13. What happens after I get my operating authority?


Once you get your Interstate operating authority, you must register your authority with the "Unified Carrier Registration" (UCR) System (formerly known as "Single State Registration System". Essentially, you must pay each of the participating states a fee for each vehicle you will operate in their state per year. If you file for UCR through DOTAuthority.com we will tell you when it is time to renew your annual UCR.

If you are a moving company, you may not operate until you also publish your Tariff. You do not need to file your Interstate Tariff with the government but you must make it available to representatives of the US Surface Transportation Board and the public upon demand. Certain states such as New York State may require that you file your Tariff.

Make sure you are in compliance with apportionment (IRP), highway use taxes and fuel taxes (
IFTA ) before you commence operations. Movers are exempt from New York State highway use and fuel taxes but still need to comply with IFTA.

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14.  How long will this whole process take?

You can expect to begin operating within 3-4 weeks when you electronically file your application for authority and your UCR System application through us. The actual time, however, will depend on how quickly your insurance company makes the required insurance filings. Currently, passenger and household goods authority applications take slightly longer due to a new FMCSA background investigation policy.


REFUND POLICY


On all services, once a filing has been made and government filing fees, if any, have been submitted, there are no cancellations or refunds possible. Due to the volume we deal with, most filings are submitted to government agencies instantly upon receipt by electronic means.

UCR RATES


Current Year UCR Pre-Registration Schedule (effective on or after April 28, 2010)

0-2 vehicles/broker (tractor trailer is now 1 vehicle): $187
3-5 vehicles (tractor trailer is now 1 vehicle): $358
6-20 vehicles (tractor trailer is now 1 vehicle): $615
21-100 vehicles (tractor trailer is now 1 vehicle): $1876
101-over vehicles (tractor trailer is now 1 vehicle): CALL 888 414 1874

BOC-3 Filing Service Fee: $100
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