BLOG October 18th, 2019

How to get USDOT number? – A quick guide

usdot number

How to get a USDOT number? Nothing can slow you down and require a ton of paperwork and time as bureaucracy.

Being the necessary task you have to complete to start a trucking company, we will provide you with a short and straight to the point guide on how to get that USDOT number.

What is a USDOT number?

Every company that wants to do business in the transportation industry, that business being the transportation of passengers or cargo, must be registered with the FMCSA and have to possess a USDOT number.

Why is the number required and what do they use it for?

It serves as an identifier to monitor the company’s safety information which is gathered through various inspections, audits, and compliance reviews.

Do you need it?

If your vehicle (or vehicles) are used to transport hazardous materials that require a safety permit or if your vehicle’s gross weight rating or gross vehicle weight or combination of weight gross and a weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, you need a USDOT number.

Aslo, if your vehicle is used to transport 8 or more passengers for compensation or 15 or more passengers without compensation (all including driver) you need that number.

If any of these vehicles are involved in interstate commerce in the USA they are required to have a USDOT number.

How to start the process of acquiring USDOT number?

To start the application you need to have some information ready.

The information you need to prepare:

  • Cargo classification
  • Hazmat classification, if you transport hazmat
  • Operation classification
  • Company operation
  • Type of vehicles
  • Number of vehicles
  • Driver status (total drivers, total CDL drivers, interstate, intrastate)
  • Ownership of vehicles (trip lease, term lease, own)

You will have to download and fill out one of the three forms that are for your type of business.

The basic form for all carriers is MCS-150.

MCS-150B is the form for a Hazmat application.

MCS-150C is the form for application for intermodal equipment providers.

Choose the one you need and start filling it out!

We would advise you to complete the application online, which will be much easier and faster. If you don’t apply online, you have to download the forms, fill them out and mail them to FMCSA.

How long does it take?

It depends on how you applied to get one. If you sent the application via mail, it may take up to four to six weeks.

Online applications are processed instantly, and if there’s no reason for you to get rejected, you will be granted a USDOT number immediately.

Common issues and questions

A lot of people are confused by the fact that FMCSA in the online application asks for their credit card, even though the service should be free.

The reason they do this is to confirm the identity of the applicant, so if you don’t have your own credit card, you won’t be able to complete the registration online.

Another common question is can you get USDOT number if you don’t have your own authority, and the answer is YES. You can lease your services as long as you comply with the FMCSA law section 376.11.


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