Owner Operators - Owner Operator REXpert

More individuals today are applying for their own authority than ever before. There are many reasons why individuals want to obtain their own authority. The reason that may be the one single best reason is that they want to work for themselves, transport what they want, go where they want, and have owner-operators lease to their authority.

If you intend to obtain your own authority, there are certain things that must be adhered to and things you should be aware of when applying for your own authority. The basic things you should be aware of are Insurance, authority, process agents, and state permits. I put the items in this order as I believe this is the order you should go in getting your own authority.


The minimum amount of insurance that you must obtain for vehicles over 10,000 GVW is $750,000 for your bodily injury and personal damage (BI&PD), and $10,000 cargo insurance. However, the industry standard states that shippers require you to have a minimum of $1 million BI&PD and $100,000 cargo insurance providing you do not transport hazmat.

you talk to your insurance agent, MAKE SURE the agent can handle both the liability and cargo insurance for you. Many insurance agents only want to handle your BI&PD and do not want to handle your cargo insurance. It is my personal suggestion if your insurance agent cannot handle both, then find another insurance agent. One of the problems is that once you have paid for your BI&PD it might take you weeks before you can find an insurance agent to write your cargo insurance. This is causing you to pay premiums on your BI&PD when you cannot get a copy of your authority until the cargo insurance is also filed with the FMCSA.

When you choose an insurance agent, MAKE SURE the insurance company can make the required BMC filings with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) before any payment is made to the agent. Some insurance agents can provide insurance to intrastate trucking companies, but cannot make the filings for interstate trucking companies.

NOTE: Example to save you money. If your MC number was granted on March 1, your authority will not be available until March 20 ??" no exceptions. But you must have your BOC-3 and insurance on file within the 20 days if you expect to get a copy of your authority on the 20th day. However, when you pay for your insurance, make an effective day of about March 15. If you paid for your insurance on March 1, your next payment should not be due until April 15. This can save you about one-half of a month's premium. And, you can still get your authority on the 20th.

The most single reason individuals that apply for their authority do not get their authority is that they later find they just cannot afford the insurance. The answer is, get a quote BEFORE you make application for your authority.


On the date you apply for your authority, you will obtain a copy of your authority 20 days from that date providing your BOC-3 and insurance are on file at the FMCSA. If you fail to get both of these on file within the 20 days, you will have a total of 80 days from the date you applied for your authority to get the BOC-3 and insurance on file. Failure to comply within the 80 days, you will lose whatever you have invested as of that date. If after the 80 days you still want to obtain your authority, you will need to make another application and pay the same fees again.

The most single problem when individuals apply for their own authority is that they do not have a "Legal Name" on their application. NOTE: You cannot apply for authority under John Doe Trucking and expect your insurance agent to file the insurance under John Doe d/b/a John Doe Trucking. These names do not match so therefore there will be a delay in getting your authority until this has been corrected.

The cost for transportation consultants to help you with your authority seems to vary across the Internet when, actually, most are approximately the same cost. Some consultants charge a low rate for the authority, but then add the BOC-3 and obtaining a copy of your authority. Other consultants provide a higher charge and include the BOC-3 and getting you a copy of your authority on the grant date.

In my opinion, the best transportation consultants today to help you with the authority that is best for you are those that have a "Practitioners License." These are individuals who have passed a very difficult test and have extensive training to properly advise you of what is best for you.

Most consultants cannot tell you the real reason between "common" and "contract" carrier authority. The difference is important if you ever want to transport for the U.S. government.


A process agent is a representative upon whom court papers may be served in any proceeding brought against a motor carrier, broker or freight forwarder. Every motor carrier (of property or passengers) shall make a designation for each state in which it is authorized to operate and for each state traversed during such operations. Brokers are required to list process agents in each state in which they have an office and in which they write contracts. Many commercial firms will arrange process agents in any state for a fee.

Who is to have process agents? Everyone with an MC number is required to have process agents.

Companies that supply process agents charge anywhere from $30 (one time fee) to over $200 for exactly the same service. You should inquire whether the process agent company has annual fees and if they do, you might want to look for another process agent company.

You also might want to inquire from the individual that is trying to sell you their process agent service of what the letters "BOC" stand for and the meaning of the number. Companies that want to sell you the service of the BOC-3 should know what the letters and number actually stand for. (They do have a meaning.)

The BOC-3 MUST be filed by one of the commercial firms directly to the FMCSA BEFORE your authority will be granted. The commercial firms are the only ones that can file the BOC-3 within minutes. If you purchase the BOC-3 from a non-commercial firm, then it could take days. Of course, you can file your own, providing you obtain a name and address from individuals in all the states that you intend to transport in.


SSRS (Single State Registration System) was discontinued December 31, 2006, and is no longer a requirement. SSRS has been in place since January 1, 1994. It replaced a bingo stamp system that started in the 1960s allowing states to charge carriers a registration fee for each vehicle operating in that state. Drivers would show state inspectors the registration stamps displayed on cards inside the vehicle.

UCRA (Unified Carrier Registration Agreement) will eventually take the place of the SSRS, but no date has been set. Under UCRA, many previously exempted carriers, including private carriers, inter-modal carriers, transporters of agricultural products, freight forwarders, equipment brokers, and leasing companies, would be required to register. It is unknown at this time exactly when the UCRA will be required. It would be very wise to insure that your correct information is contained in the safersys.org and the L&I (Licensing and Insurance). If there is a bad address in your records and the USDOT cannot locate you, it is possible that your authority could be voided or you could pay high fines when the time comes to register and the USDOT cannot find you.

IFTA: The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is an agreement among states to simplify the reporting of fuel taxes by interstate motor carriers. There is no requirement for brokers or freight forwarders to obtain their IFTA sticker.

Will your GVW (gross vehicle weight) be over 26,000 pounds? If so, then you will need to obtain an IFTA license as well as mileage permits for the states of New Mexico, New York (required if over 18,000 lbs.), and Oregon. Trucks over 60,000 pounds will also need to obtain a KYU number from Kentucky. You might want to check with your permit office for any requirements from other states that are not listed above.


My latest free transportation e-book is available only from layover.com. Download your copy today from www.evilsizor.info/get.htm. The e-book contains so much information including the entire USDOT motor carrier regulations, continually updated at no cost to you. You can purchase the regulations from various companies and pay several hundred dollars for the data that will probably be outdated by the time you get it. The e-book also contains most of the questions and answers that have been obtained through layover.com through the past several years.

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Rex Evilsizor & Associates specializes in filing motor carrier authorities (both freight and passenger) with the Federal Highway Administration. Rex is a retired ICC investigator (Special Agent) and Licensed Insurance Agent with more than 49 years of transportation experience.

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