If you find that you need to choose a truck operating authority after being exempt in the past, or you need to change from one type of operating authority to another, you can do so using the process outlined below. A thorough understanding of how operating authorities work and what they require can help you save time and money during the process. Since your truck operating authority could impact the insurance you are required to carry, choosing the right model for your business is essential if you want to ensure you are getting the best possible rates on your insurance.
What is an Operating Authority?
An organization or company that operates as a for-hire carrier, that transports passengers interstate, or transports regulated commodities needs to have an interstate operating authority or MC number. This number is in addition to the DOT number, not a replacement for it.
Operating authorities are designated by the FMCSA and there are several different versions. You may have more than one operating authority, depending on your business model and what you carry. Different cargo may require different authorities. Operating authority is covered under 49.U.S.C 13902 in several different sections and can be one of several types, including “MC”, “FF”, and “MX”.
Your operating authority matters because it also provides detailed information about the type and level of insurance you are required to maintain. If you have a private fleet, operate only within a designated Federal Commercial Zone, or only haul exempt, non-federally regulated cargo, then you do not need an operating authority; all other carriers need to be covered.
How to change from one truck operating authority to another.
When you registered your organization for the first time, you may have chosen an operating authority that suited your business at the time. If you have grown or shifted focus since then, another operating authority may be more appropriate for your organization.
If you have made a mistake during the initial registration process and your application has not yet been finalized, you can ask for a change in operating authority without additional fees. If your application is already complete, a fee of $300 will be required.
The FMCSA maintains a web form for switching from one truck operating carrier to another; the form you need will depend on your requested change.
- Use OP-1 if you are changing to a carrier, household goods or broker
- Use OP-1 FF if you are switching to a freight forwarder
- Use OP-1 P If you are requesting a change to a passenger authority.
In addition to the form, you’ll need to provide a statement that describes your switch and includes what you are switching from and what you are switching to. You or an authorized representative listed in MCMIS must sign the application to make it complete. You’ll also need to include any current numbers or documentation.
The FMCSA will process your application and once approved, you’ll be able to operate under the new authority.
Scaling up your organization or shifting business models or your customer base are the most common reasons to switch from one operating authority to another. While you can switch as often as you need to, each time you make a change, you’ll have to go through the process and pay a fee, so be sure you are truly ready to make a switch before starting the process.
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