Trucking is a heavily regulated industry. Before your hotshot business can begin operating, there are numerous government requirements you will need to meet and also maintain. Here are eight documents you need for your hotshot business.
1.) Commercial Driver’s License
In order to haul heavy loads, you will need to obtain your commercial driver’s license (CDL). The purpose of a commercial driver’s license is to pull loads weighing over 26,001 pounds.
To be eligible for a CDL, you must be at least 21 years old and do not have any disqualifying criminal records. Do research to see specific requirements for your state.
Click here to learn more about getting your commercial driver’s license.
2.) Department of Transportation (DOT) & Motor Carrier Authority Numbers
Both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and motor carrier authority numbers are required to haul cargo in the United States. You can acquire both numbers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The DOT number is used to track your company’s safety record and compliance with regulations. The motor carrier authority number identifies the kind of trucking business you operate and the kinds of goods you are permitted to haul.
To get both of these numbers, you must complete the Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150) and Safety Certification Application. You will receive your numbers after the application is filed, but your request for authority must be reviewed by the FMCSA.
3.) Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
The UCR program requires all individuals and companies that operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate or international commerce to register their business under the UCR program and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet. This program applies to all interstate motor carriers, motor private carriers, freight forwarders, brokers and leasing companies.
The UCR system was created to verify active insurance coverage in each state where a motor carrier operates. You must register using your company’s USDOT and MC numbers. To learn more about UCR, visit your home state’s Department of Transportation website.
4.) International Registration Plan (IRP) Tag
An IRP license plate issued by your company’s home state allows your truck to operate in all states, as well as most Canadian provinces. The plate does require an annual renewal fee.
5.) Tax Forms
Depending on the weight of your truck, depends on the type of tax form you will need. Visit the IRS to see what tax form you will need to fill out.
6.) International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Decal
The IFTA is an agreement to simplify the reporting of fuel used by commercial motor vehicles (CMV)s operating in more than one jurisdiction. You qualify for an IFTA license if you operate your qualified motor vehicle in any U.S. state or Canadian province that is a member of the International Fuel Tax Agreement. To obtain the IFTA decal, contact the DOT.
Some areas do not require it such as:
United States: Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia
Canada: Northwest Territories, Nunuvit, and Yukon
Mexico: All states and the Federal District
7.) A BOC-3 Form
A BOC-3 is a document that designates a legal agent for certain processes that may be served. For example, if your business is based out of North Carolina, but you are sued by someone in South Carolina, you need an attorney in South Carolina who can receive the legal complaint and communicate to you and your local attorney.
The BOC-3 is designed for individuals or companies in the transportation industry, and it must be filed with the FMCSA.
8.) Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)
The SCAC is a two-to-four digit identification code that is used by the transportation industry to identify freight carriers in computer systems and shipping documents.
Some carriers do not have an SCAC number, and you do not have to have one to operate interstate commerce. However, most companies will not use a carrier if they do not have an SCAC identification number.
Be sure to keep these documents on hand and up to date. Let us know of any tips or experiences you have had in the comments below.