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Posted in After the Move, How-to on January 25, 2023
Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

How to Get a DOT Number and Why Is It Important for a Company to Have It

Are you about to start a new business venture and want to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork? You probably want to learn how to get a DOT number and wonder what this exactly means. Knowing what a DOT number is, why it is beneficial for your business, and how to obtain it can give you some peace of mind when starting your new relocation company or when looking for a confidential one to hire.

A DOT number, or US Department of Transportation (DOT) Number, is an identification system used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This important identifier will help ensure compliance with federal regulations as well as provide access to additional benefits like filing documents electronically and possibly even finding discounts on annual insurance costs.

Learn How to Get a DOT Number, and Your Business Will Operate Smoothly

The DOT number is a unique identifier used to track vehicles that are used for interstate commerce and car shipping. If you are starting a business that uses trucks or other motor vehicles for transportation, you will need to learn how to obtain a DOT number for your company. This number is essential for ensuring that your business operates smoothly, complies with federal regulations, and remains in good standing with the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

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Benefits of Obtaining a DOT Number

Having a DOT number provides many relocation benefits to businesses that use motor vehicles for interstate relocation. A DOT number allows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to keep track of your company’s safety record, showing its compliance with federal regulations regarding hazardous materials (movers won’t move some items) and other goods transported across state lines. Additionally, having a DOT number can help you secure better insurance rates and make it easier to move when you apply for permits and licenses related to the transportation industry.

What Is a Certification by the Department of Transportation?

The DOT certification is similar to the DOT number, except it is assigned to the individual driver rather than the white glove moving company. If a driver possesses a DOT card, it means they are qualified to drive a commercial vehicle in the United States.

Whether your company uses semi-trucks or smaller vehicles for relocation to other cities, nearly all states require contracted drivers to have DOT certification. A CDL holder has proven their competence in meeting DOT standards.

The US Department of Transportation does not oversee the physical examination or driving tests required for DOT certification. If someone wants to keep their DOT certification for another two years, they’ll need to go through physical fitness testing every year.

Keyboard packed with a plant before long-distance moving and woman checking a USDOT number
Businesses that use motor vehicles might profit greatly from having a DOT number

How to Obtain a DOT Number

Applying for a DOT number is relatively straightforward. You can apply online through the FMCSA website or contact them directly by phone or mail. When applying, you will need to provide some basic information about your company, such as your:

  • Name,
  • Address,
  • Phone number,
  • Type of vehicle being used for transport.

How to Get a USDOT Number for a Truck?

You can access the registration form on the FMCSA webpage. In the event that you are unable to use the internet, you may call the toll-free number provided by the FMCSA in order to have a form mailed to you.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a DOT Number

If you require a DOT registration for your business, you won’t have to pay anything to get one, but if you want an MC number, you’ll have to pay $300 for each operating class that you need to apply for.

Who Does Not Require a DOT Number?

It’s inevitable that there are certain people and organizations that are not providing white glove moving service and that won’t need a DOT number. However, these exceptions are extremely unusual, so you should confirm without presuming that you fall into one of them.

The first and most obvious exception is to those who relocate objects just for convenience rather than to move them for sale. A family organizing a relocation across a border with their belongings is an example of this.

However, it is not sufficient to merely state that you are not getting paid for the transfer – the person operating the vehicle must likewise not be receiving money from the products’ transit. For instance, the person operating the vehicle carrying the sofa to someone’s new home cannot be one who stands to gain monetarily from the outcome. They are permitted to take prize money, which is the only exemption to this rule.

Some States Don’t Require It, But Then You Cannot Operate Outside of Them

Other exceptions are those operating in states without DOT requirements. In the United States, 19 states do not now require DOT registration. If you reside in one of these 19 states and run your business there, you are obviously exempt from the DOT laws. Take Vermont, for instance. On the other hand, if you move to another state and one of the states you travel through isn’t under the exception, this can be problematic.

However, this can be challenging because if your trucks also fall into any of the other necessary categories, they won’t be permitted to leave the state (over 10,000 lbs, transporting people for hire, or hazardous substances).

Relocation trucks on the road
It is not necessary to register with the DOT in 19 states

The FMCSA Registration – How to Apply for a DOT Number

If you are a business that moves goods over state lines, it is important to be aware of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) registration process. This process is designed to help keep our roads and highways safe for everyone by ensuring that businesses meet certain safety standards when moving goods across state lines. Let’s take a closer look at the FMCSA registration process.

Explore Your Requirements for FMCSA Registration

The first step in the FMCSA registration process is determining your business’s particular needs and requirements for registering with the FMCSA. These requirements will depend on several factors, such as your business’s size, the type of transportation being provided, and whether or not you are operating under a contract. It is important to thoroughly research your particular business’s needs so that you can ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

Finish the Application Process with the FMCSA

The next step in the process is completing the actual application form for registering with the FMCSA, as we explained earlier. Once you have completed this form, you will need to submit it along with any additional documents that may be required by your state or local government agency. Be sure to keep track of any paperwork associated with this process so that you can easily refer back to it if needed in the future.

Find Out Which States Need to Be Notified and Registered

Once you have completed the initial application for registering with the FMCSA, it is time to research any additional notification and registration requirements that may be imposed by your particular state government agencies. Depending on where your business operates from and what types of white glove moving services it provides, there may be additional notification/registration steps necessary before receiving approval from these agencies. Doing this research ahead of time will help save time and energy down the road when filing all of these documents together at once.

Launch Program to Ensure the Newcomer's Safety

Next up in the FMCSA registration process is initiating a new entrant safety assurance program (NESAP). This program requires businesses that move people or goods over state lines to develop and implement a safety management system in order to promote safer driving practices while operating commercial vehicles across multiple states. This includes developing policies and procedures on how drivers should operate their vehicles safely, as well as training programs for employees who transport passengers or goods over state lines regularly.

Completing this program successfully will help ensure compliance with all applicable regulations set forth by both federal and state governments regarding commercial vehicle operation on public roads and highways nationwide.

Keep Your USDOT Number and Operating Authority Up-To-Date

After successfully completing all necessary steps related to registering with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it is important to remember to maintain and update both your USDOT number as well as any other required operating authority information regularly throughout each year. Doing so will help ensure that your business remains compliant with all applicable laws and regulations governing commercial transportation across multiple states while also keeping the relocation process efficient when transporting customers’ possessions between different locations throughout those states each day.

When Is a DOT Number Obligatory?

You probably have questions about how to find out if a vehicle needs a DOT number. It might be confusing to discern when they are genuinely required, given the prevalence of myths that some jurisdictions or businesses are exempt from having them. This is usually related to making a common relocation mistake of not checking this information when preparing for movers and becoming a part of a relocation scam. You should keep this in mind when checking a hired company and avoid relocation anxiety.

If your business is going to engage in any of the following, you will need to apply for a USDOT number:

  • Utilize heavy vehicles (those weighing in excess of 10,000 lbs),
  • Allow workers to operate a company vehicle on a highway,
  • Shuttle paying customers from one place to another (9-15 people),
  • Carry more than 15 people for any purpose,
  • Transportation of potentially harmful items.

What to Do After Receiving Your DOT Number

Once you have obtained your registered DOT number from the FMCSA, there are several steps that must be taken in order to remain compliant with federal regulations and operate safely on public roads. For starters, all drivers must take part in regular drug testing programs and maintain up-to-date records of their driving histories. Additionally, all vehicles must be inspected regularly and equipped with proper safety features, such as brake lights, turn signals, headlights, and mirrors, before they are allowed on public roads.

With so many rules and regulations in place relating to interstate auto transport operations and relocating furniture and other fragile possessions, it’s important that businesses take the time needed to ensure that they remain compliant with all relevant laws. They should try achieving this while also keeping their employees safe at all times while operating out on public roads.

White glove movers packing a moving truck
It is mandatory to have your vehicles examined frequently and fitted with appropriate safety features

How Quickly Can You Get Your USDOT Number?

Once your application has been submitted and approved, the FMCSA will verify that all necessary insurance requirements are met before issuing your USDOT number. This process typically takes between three and five business days after submitting your application, depending on how quickly all documents can be collected and verified. It is important to note that if any documents are missing or incorrect or additional information is requested by the FMCSA, the verification process could take longer than expected.

Once you have submitted all the necessary information, it typically takes around two weeks to receive your approved DOT number in the mail (if you have all the important documents filed and regularities met). This sometimes happens within one business day after all required documents have been received and verified by the FMCSA. Once you have received this notification, you can begin using your new USDOT number for any commercial vehicle operations that require it.

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The USDOT Number Provides Operators With the Peace of Mind

All in all, understanding why a USDOT number is important is a must for individuals and organizations that are moving large amounts of goods across state lines. It helps facilitate the process while protecting the consumer’s rights and interests when hiring long-distance movers. Furthermore, it safeguards the safety of those traveling on the roads and provides resources to those involved with interstate commerce.

The Department of Transportation works hard to ensure ample resources, like truck driver safety information, are readily available to those who need it. Thus, if you are looking for reputable white glove movers and professional long-distance moving services, look no further than Long Distance Movers. Our company meets all the national standards and is sure to make your move easier, so feel free to give us a call and request a quote.

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