Beware of 3rd Party Companies

You will probably think this is a weird post considering my company IS a 3rd party company but you’ll appreciate this FAQs page even more when you’re done reading.

As an owner of a new business, you complete the online application for operating authority and a USDOT number. Now, what’s next? As you’re trying to figure this out, you can’t even think because your phone is blowing up with people trying to sell you services you’ve never heard of.

Here is a list of next steps, why and how to assist you. Essentially there are two sets of steps that need to be completed AFTER submitting your application to the FMCSA.

Let’s start with the 1st set of steps. You have your MC number and your USDOT number. The USDOT number can be used immediately to work inside your base state (state in which your business resides) while the MC # is in its 21-25 holding period with the FMCSA. It must be said you cannot use your USDOT number without the proper insurance in place.

How do you get out of the holding period with the FMCSA?
1. Have a company that is registered with the FMCSA as a Process Agent file the BOC-3 filing. The what? BOC-3 filing is a designation of process agents. If the FMCSA wants to serve your company legal documents, they go through your process agent to do so.
a. Helpful Hints to hiring a Process Agent:
i. Stay away from one-time fee companies. Reason being is the BOC-3 filing can fall off your motor carrier profile for many reasons, i.e.: name change, lapse of insurance coverage, etc. When this filing falls off, you then must pay the One Time Fee company AGAIN to have the filing put in place. After a while, it adds up and you were better off going with a process agent that charges an annual flat fee and files the BOC-3 as many times as necessary at no cost to you.
2. Have your Insurance Company file the necessary filings with the FMCSA. These filings show proof of insurance and are required. There should not be an extra fee for your insurance agent to make this filing as it is normally included in the cost of the policy itself.
a. BMC-91X (also knows as MCS-90) is the filing needed for motor carriers of property or passengers.
b. BMC-84 or BMC-85 is the filing needed for Freight Forwarders or Freight Brokers.
c. BMC-34 is the cargo filing required if you’re a Household Goods Moving Company.

3. Both filings are in place, now what? The FMCSA will send you an email after your initial holding period is up stating your operating authority has been granted.BUT, if you read more in that email, you still can’t begin operations until you have your Certificate of Authority in hand. Where do you even get that from? The FMCSA provides this Certificate of Authority for free and is typically mailed out 3-4 days from your operating authority being granted. However, some companies do not want to wait another 5-7 business days to receive the certificate. What can the company do to begin operations? The company can go to www.iccasap.com and purchase the certificate of authority for $17.50, that’s what!Upon payment, the certificate is immediately available for download. BE CAREFUL OF 3RD PARTY COMPANIES CALLING YOU TO SELL THE CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY FOR 100.00 (or whatever price). THE CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY IS PURCHASED BY 3RD PARTY COMPANIES USING THIS SAME WEBSITE OR SIMILAR WEBSITES. WHY PAY A 3RD PARTY COMPANY $100.00 WHEN IT ONLY COSTS THEM $17.50!

All Right. That’s the first set of steps needed to begin operations. Now for the second set of steps. Many of these steps can be done while in the holding period with the FMCSA and if you’re itching to get to work, I suggest you use this holding period to get busy with the steps I’m about to go over.

1. FMCSA Regulations Handbook: I recommend purchasing this from JJ Keller: Product Code: 347 FMCSR Greenbook Handbook www.jjkeller.com. It’s the cheapest website I’ve found to purchase the book. It’s 4.29. A book must always be in each vehicle aswell as each driver must be given a book. The first page of the book is the Driver’s Receipt of Handbook. Have driver sign and date stating a book was given to him/ her, rip the page out and put it with your office paperwork as it may be part of your DOT audit.

2. UCR Fees: Gov’t implemented program to train DOT officers annually. www.ucr.in.gov is the website. Use internet explorer browser and search using your DOT #. You should wait at least (24) hours before trying to pay your fees as the FMCSA site and the UCR site need time to merge. The UCR site updates daily at 10am; check back after 10am the next day if your information is not yet in the system. Why pay a 3rd part company fees ranging from $25.00 to $100.00 to process this for you? It’s so simple, go do it yourself.

3. IRP or IFTA (Apportioned Plates): IRP is an apportioned fee based on miles driven in two or more-member jurisdictions. If you are transporting people for hire or your vehicle has 2 or more axles and a GVW of 26k lbs. (includes combination of vehicles) or more OR 3 or more axles regardless of weight, you are required to have this. Also, any passenger vehicle that can hold (16) people (driver included) is required to have this. Reporting period for IRP is from July 1 – June 30 annually and IFTA is Jan 1 – Dec 31. This can be done through your local DMV or your DMV’s website. YOU MUST HAVE INSURANCE IN PLACE BEFORE YOU CAN DO THIS STEP. ALSO CONTACT THE LOCAL DMV OR CHECK THEIR WEBSITE FOR WHAT DOCUMENTATION NEEDS TO TAKEN WITH YOU TO COMPLETE THIS STEP!

4. ELD: I recommend the KeepTruckin or Transflo. Obviously, you should choose an ELD that works for your company.

5. Drug & Alcohol Consortium: You can do this yourself by calling a local drug and alcohol testing center and signing up for a pre-screening drug test and set up random pool drug testing. DO NOT HIRE a 3rd party company. Their sign on fees range from $75.00 – $300.00. Paying this fee is a waste of your money. You can set up your company the same way a 3rd party company will.

6. State Required Permits:
KYU: This is a free permit and is required for vehicles over 59,999 lbs. You can stop at the first weigh station you come to as you enter the state and get this permit there. If you want to get this permit beforehand, you can go to https://drive.ky.gov/motor-carriers/Pages/KYU.aspx and apply for the KYU license (this is the permit). KYU #s is not required to be placarded on your vehicle. Do remember, you cannot apply for a KYU permit until your operating authority is granted.
NYHUT: This permit is required for any vehicle over 18,000 lbs.Go to https://www.nyhut.com/ and apply for your NYHUT. The cost is $125.00.
NM WDT: Set up account online account by going to: http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/weight-distance.aspx. Permits cost around $10.00 per vehicle if you do this yourself. If you have problems while completing the application, simply call 505.476.2475.
Oregon PUC: Register and apply at the following website https://www.oregontruckingonline.com/cf/MCAD/pubMetaEntry/index.cfm.

7. 2290 Form: This is a heavy highway use tax aka HVUT for vehicles that weight more than 55,000 lbs. Fees are based on vehicle weight. The annual period runs from July 1 – June 30. You must have an EIN to process this form. www.irs.gov

8. US DOT Audit: Happens somewhere between the 3rd – 4th month in business. Looking for driver qualification files, vehicle maintenance files and safety compliance files. You do want to have your Driver Qualification, Hours of Service, Safety Compliance, and Vehicle Maintenance Checklists and Templates to be sure you pass the DOT audit. Do NOT pay a 3rd party company. Contact me and I’ll give them to you for free.

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