Motor Carrier vs. DOT Number, Registration Only…

If you have been following this blog, you probably already have a good idea of what I’ve been up to regarding the business start-up.  However, I’ve made some adjustments, let’s say, to how I’m going to be operating.  So I thought I’d do a little update to keep from confusing anyone (and myself!)

When I started this process I immediately went whole-hog and put in for my motor carrier status and authority.  After doing more footwork, I realized I didn’t need to go that route, so have pared it back to just a DOT number for truck registration purposes.

Note here… certain states require you to have a DOT number in order to register your vehicle for apportioned plates.  My state is one of these.  Others don’t have that requirement, so be sure to check before you leap.

Why this change?  Well, my new boss is an established motor carrier (MC), and a lot of the hassle in running a MC business will be taken off of me.

This is the difference:  I am set up as an independent LLC and lease my equipment to my boss.  I pay bobtail insurance on my stuff to cover me while driving on my personal time and to cover my equipment.  The boss carries the liability and cargo insurance required on his fleet vehicles (of course I pay for this as a business expense on a monthly basis as an O/O.)

While this route may not be for everyone, it is great for me!

By working under the authority of my boss, I am not required to do the massive paperwork dance required for MC’s.  I don’t have to worry about IFTA paperwork either, just keeping good records of mileage and fuel purchases in whatever states I travel.  His staff takes care of all of the other required record keeping.  And this also frees me from the responsibility of dealing with paperwork audits that MCs are put through.

Which leaves me with just the basic paperwork responsibilities, reciepts, log books, vehicle inspection reports, mileage records, and maintenance records.  Quite a bit better from my perspective than having to cope with the mountain of paperwork required by the MC while I’m out there trying to learn the ropes in a whole new-to-me world!

I suppose the moral of this story is that I’m learning as I go along.  Even with as much research as I’ve put in on the whole subject, there are simply some things you just have to learn by talking to the people who are already in the business.

Trust me when I tell you that the government publications often fall short when you are searching for a specific answer to a specific question.  A lot of these publications are so heavy on ‘legalese’ that it would take an act of Congress to decipher the actual message they contain.

Anyhoo, that’s where things stand today.  We’ll see how things look down the road a ways.


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