Startup FAQ

Some Questions About How to Start a Trucking Company

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How much does the Apex Startup Program cost?

The cost of setting up your trucking company through the Apex Startup Program varies according to the state you are located in. But in general, the total cost will be around $1,000. Please see below for a short breakdown of the fees.

• Formation documents with the Secretary of the State in your home state: Varies (every state’s fee is different)
• Form SS-4 with the Internal Revenue Service: Free
• Form MCSA-1 with the FMCSA (USDOT & MC Numbers): $300
• Form BOC-3 with the FMCSA (Designate a Process Agent): $150
• UCR Form with the Unified Carrier Registration System: Varies by fleet size
• Non-refundable Apex administrative fee: $435

How long does it take to start a trucking company?

We want the startup process to be as smooth as possible, and we will work closely with you to make sure we have all of the paperwork we need. Generally, you should expect the startup process with Apex to take anywhere between 2 to 10 business days. Once the startup with Apex is complete, your authority will become active as soon as the government has proof of your insurance on file, but not less than 10 days.

What is a USDOT Number?

A USDOT Number is a unique number assigned to motor carriers that operate commercial vehicles in interstate commerce. Your USDOT Number helps identify your company for audits, compliance reviews, investigations, and other safety information.

Is a USDOT Number transferable?

No, a USDOT Number is not transferable to a new company. You will need to apply for a new one. Please contact Apex for help obtaining a USDOT Number.

Where can I get my USDOT PIN if I don’t remember it?

If your USDOT PIN is lost or forgotten, it can be requested from the FMCSA here.

What is an MC Number?

Or What is Trucking Authority?

If you plan to haul regulated freight across state lines, you’ll need to apply for a motor carrier number or an “MC Number.” An MC Number, also known as operating authority, is a number given to carriers who transport regulated freight in interstate commerce. Unlike the USDOT Number, you might need multiple operating authorities depending on your business. Other types of authorities include brokerage authority and freight forwarder authority.

Who is my Registered Agent?

A Registered Agent is a person designated to receive service of process if your company is involved in a lawsuit. The Registered Agent should be an officer or employee of your company, and you’re usually required to designate one when you form your company. Your state will also direct all official communication to the Registered Agent.

Who is my Responsible Party?

A Responsible Party receives all official notices from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This person must be an officer or manager who controls, manages, or directs your company and its assets. You’re required to select a Responsible Party when applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and you must give their Social Security Number (SSN) to the IRS.

What is a DBA?

A DBA, or “doing business as”, is a trade name, which may be in addition to the legal name of your business on file with the Secretary of State. If it makes sense for your company to use a DBA, you should make an additional filing with your Secretary of State, stating that your company plans to use a DBA.

What is a BOC-3 filing?

The BOC-3 is a form filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that identifies a process agent in every state that you’re hauling in. A blanket filing is the most popular, which identifies a process agent in each of the 50 states and District of Columbia.

Note: a BOC-3 process agent is not necessarily the same as the Registered Agent of your company. Your Registered Agent is the process agent for purposes of your company in the state where your company has been formed. A BOC-3 process agent is the process agent required to be on file with the FMCSA.

What is a D-U-N-S Number?

A Data Universal Numbering System, or D-U-N-S® Number, is issued and regulated by Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to identify a single business entity for credit reporting purposes. The nine-digit number helps to identify your business, is associated with credit related to your business, and is required to register for federal or government contracts.

What is the gross vehicle weight and where do I find this?

Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the value recommended by the manufacturer as the upper weight limit of a fully loaded single motor vehicle. This number should be labeled on the side of the driver’s side door. The gross combination weight rating (GCWR) is sum of all GVWRs for each unit as well as the towed unit. If your GVWR or GCWR is greater than 10,001 pounds, you will be required to have a USDOT Number.

What is the timeline for getting my truck and my insurance?

Once you get your MC Number, the FMCSA gives a 20 day window to get proof of insurance on file. If you don’t get your proof of insurance on file within 20 days, you may receive a 60 day extension. If proof of insurance is still not on file after the extension, the FMCSA could dismiss your application. If this happens, you’ll have to make additional filings to reinstate that operating authority. In general, you will have about 3 months from when you get your MC Number until the FMCSA deadline for proof of insurance to be on file. Once your insurance is on file, the FMCSA should “activate” your MC Number.

The insurance company will also want to know if your company is buying or leasing its tractors, trucks, and/or trailers. This allows them to underwrite your company for its liability coverage. Have your equipment in place before contacting an insurance provider, so that the insurance company has enough time to get the proof of insurance to the FMCSA on time.

What are the insurance requirements for interstate trucking companies?

If you plan to haul non-hazardous materials across state lines, the FMCSA requires your company to have $750,000 in liability coverage. Cargo insurance is not required by the government, but it’s highly recommended because some brokers, shippers, and other third parties might require it. Typically, motor carriers have cargo coverage of at least $100,000.

Your company’s proof of insurance must be sent to the FMCSA online, and it must come directly from the home office of the insurance company giving your company coverage. The liability coverage filing is called a Form BMC-91. Most motor carrier insurance providers are familiar with this requirement, and send the proof of insurance to the FMCSA in a timely manner.

How soon can I start hauling freight?

You can start hauling interstate freight as soon as your authority is activated by the FMCSA. How long that process takes can vary depending on whether the correct forms are filed with the FMCSA, whether proof of insurance on file, and whether your company is registered with other agencies.

Can I haul intrastate without an active MC Number?

You can operate with a USDOT Number within your base state without an activated MC Number, but you cannot haul regulated commodities in interstate commerce. You must also comply with your state’s regulations.

Do I have to factor with Apex if I use the Startup Program?

No. Starting your company with the Apex Startup Program pre-approves you to use Apex’s factoring services; however, you are not required to. Our factoring program is extremely beneficial and can help your new company obtain reliable cash flow, receive credit information and view all of the features on our load board, NextLOAD.

Do I need to own a truck to start a trucking company?

No. Many motor carriers choose to lease equipment rather than buying equipment outright. Other motor carriers have owner-operators leased on, meaning the owner-operators use their own trucks but run under the motor carrier’s authority.

What is an owner-operator?

An owner-operator is someone who owns and operates their own small trucking business. Typically owner-operators lease onto a larger trucking companies and haul under the larger carrier’s authority.

What do I need to do after the Apex Startup Program?

Once you’ve completed the Apex Startup Program, there are still a few registrations to keep in mind. At the conclusion of the Apex Startup Program, we provide a list of the registrations as well as ongoing requirements that you need to be aware of during your first year in business.

What is the Unified Registration System?

The Unified Registration System (URS) is the FMCSA’s new electronic on-line system where carriers, freight forwarders and brokers register and update company information with the FMCSA. The URS is intended to streamline the authority process and give the FMCSA more accurate information. Read more about the changes the FMCSA made to the URS in 2016 on our blog.

What is the Unified Carrier Registration?

The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) is not a part of the FMCSA. The UCR is an annual registration for carriers, freight forwarders and brokers who operate in interstate commerce. The UCR collects and distributes registration information and fees from 41 states. You can read more about the difference between the URS and UCR here on our blog.

What happens to my UCR filling fee if I add more trucks during the year?

The UCR Registration filling fee is based on the amount of trucks in your fleet. However, if you add to your fleet throughout the year, you do not need to update the UCR registration until your renewal for the next calendar year — even if the additional truck(s) would bump your registration filling fee into a higher range. 

How do I run my trucking company?

You have a lot of flexibility when you run your own business. However, Apex has helpful resources to get you started on the right track. You can download our free whitepaper, "What to Expect as a New Entrant: A Guide to Running your Trucking Company during the First Year", which gives you an idea of what you need to know when starting your own trucking company. For help forming your own trucking company, please contact Apex today.

How should my trucking company pay for fuel?

We recommend using a trucking fuel card, like the Apex Fuel Card. With our fuel card, you’ll get significant discounts at thousands of truck stops nationwide, and you’ll have improved fuel management tools to help control costs.

To learn more about how to spend less on fuel, download our free whitepaper, “How to Save Thousands on Fuel.”

Ready to Start Your Trucking Company?

If you have questions or need assistance to start your trucking company, let us help. Apex Capital is one of the few companies that helps you form your trucking company and apply for your trucking authority. We make the process simple, which saves you time and makes the process stress free.

Call 855-347-2739 or fill out an application here.