Owner Operators - Owner Operator REXpert

I am a Licensed Insurance Agent and retired Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) Investigator with more than 49 years in transportation. For the past 16 years I have been a transportation consultant assisting those who would like to get their own motor carrier or broker authority. Send me your questions and I will use my expertise and knowledge to answer them.

Q When can owner-operators lease to a broker?
A Brokers can never give loads to owner-operators as owner-operators do not have motor carrier authority. Owner-operators must lease to a motor carrier and never to a broker.

Q What, in your opinion, is the best authority to have for 2008?
A In my opinion, it is best to have both common and contract carrier authority, and broker authority. Having both motor carrier authorities will provide more opportunities from shippers and brokers that are not aware that you can really do everything with either the common or contract carrier authority. There really is no difference between the two today. With motor carrier authority you can have as many owner-operators lease to you that you can handle. With broker authority, you can broker all excess loads to authorized motor carriers. Having both motor carrier and broker authority provides you with the best of both worlds.

Q Do I need a CDL to own a trucking company? I want to start a trucking company and only hire owner-operators.
A No, you do not need to have a CDL in order to get your own trucking authority. You also do not need any trucks since you will only be using owner-operators.

Q I have a chance to transport vans from ships in Los Angeles to other parts of California. Do I need interstate or intrastate authority for these moves since I will not be leaving the state of California?
A The shipments you are describing are foreign commerce and is in furtherance of interstate transportation. Shipments to and/or from ship channels, even though you do not leave the state, are in furtherance of interstate transportation. You will need an MC number and USDOT number.

Q I maintain offices in two States. Where do I maintain the trucking records?
A A motor carrier with multiple offices or terminals may maintain the records and documents at its principal place of business, a regional office, or driver work-reporting locations. All records and documents that are maintained at a regional office or driver work-reporting location shall be made available for inspection upon request by a space agent or authorized representative of the FMCSA within 48 hours after a request is made.

Q I am considering getting either broker or freight forwarder authority. Can you explain the difference, in particular as it pertains to the cost?
A The cost for obtaining either broker or freight forwarder is the same. However, the authorities are not the same. A freight forwarder assembles and consolidates LTL shipments in their warehouse and takes possession of the shipments and then calls a trucking company to transport the shipment to a destination where the shipment is unloaded into another warehouse where the LTL is then moved to their various destinations. A brokered load is where you go to the shipper and pick up the load and take it directly to the destination. A broker does not take possession of the shipment.

Q What is the first thing I should do before applying for motor carrier or broker authority?
A Make sure you can get the required insurance and make sure the insurance company can make the proper filings with the FMCSA. If you make application for authority and do not get the insurance on file within 80 days, the FMCSA will keep your filing fees. Then the next time you apply, you will have to pay for the filings fees again.

Q I am getting my own authority and I have just been issued my MC number. Where do I display the MC number on the motor vehicle? And, what are the markings that must be on the truck?
A The marking must display the following information: (1) The legal name or a single trade name of the motor carrier; (2) The motor carrier identification number issued by the FMCSA, preceded by the letters "USDOT"; (3) If the name of any person other than the operating carrier appears on the CMB, the name of the operating carrier must be followed by the information "operated by"; (4) Other identifying information may be displayed on the vehicle if it is not inconsistent with the regulations. (Note: The MC number is not displayed any longer, only the USDOT number.)


The size, shape, location, and color of marking must (1) Appear on both sides of the self-propelled CMV; (2) Be in letters that contrast sharply in color with the background; (3) Be readily legible, during daylight hours, from a distance of 50 feet; and, (4) Be kept and maintained in a manner that retains the legibility required.

Q I maintain offices in two States. Where do I maintain the trucking records?
A A motor carrier with multiple offices or terminals may maintain the records and documents at its principal place of business, a regional office, or driver work-reporting.

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Ask Rex...

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.

Due to the amount of questions we receive, we are unable to answer all of them individually. We will answer as many as possible in this column.

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