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Is it important for everyone to acquire an MC number?


The paperwork an individual needs to deal with when setting up their own trucking business or transport company is quite considerable. One of them is getting an MC number. The procedure for issuing an MC number is not very tricky but can surely be hectic and time-consuming. Therefore, it is always recommended that you start these procedures 3 to 4 weeks before starting your business. In this article, we have discussed from scratch what is an MC number, who needs it, and why they need it exactly.

When it comes to government regulations they are strict but often incomprehensible but with issuing an MC number you just need to know enough. The paperwork and legal procedures can be major hurdles in setting up businesses but having good knowledge of a subject make sure that you do not get intimidated by these legal terms and processes. This article will give you enough understanding about why you need an MC number if your business comes under the criteria set by the federation.

What to know about an MC number?

If you are anyone who has anything to do with transporting for compensation and rent you need to know the role of an MC number. Authority number, tracking number, and operating number are all the other names used for MC number.

The two letters in the MC stand for Motor Carrier. This is a unique ID issued to suppliers and transporters to keep their records managed with the federation. You might have also known it by FF and MX number. The federation responsible for issuing an MC number is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Unlike a USDOT number, you can have more than one MC number from different authorities if you are operating in different states.

Cutting it short, every interstate federally regulated carrier needs to have an MC number to operate legally. An Operating authority is further classified into subtypes specific for the authority you need to operate in and according to business type. The type of operating authority also influences the type of insurance that a company or an individual needs to have from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

It is worth noting that the federation does not refund applications in case you have selected the wrong type of operating authority. Therefore, it is suggested to select the type of your business carefully and issue an application for the MC number accordingly.

Who needs an MC number/operating authority number?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has specified eligibility criteria for businesses and individual transporters. All interstate transport companies and individual carriers who fall under the criteria need to have an MC number. Mentioned below are the carriers and companies that should have an MC number. The below subheadings also denote a specific type of authority number they should get based on the type of their business. As mentioned earlier if a company wants to transport more than one type of goods they should get separate authorities.

Motor Carrier for property except for household goods

For example, a transporter or a company that transports federally regulated commodities except for household goods for the public in exchange for compensation and payment falls under the category of motor carriers of property. All such motor carriers need to file proof of public liability to obtain operating authority from the federation.

A motor carrier carrying household goods also need to have an MC number

All the suppliers that carry only household goods for the public are also required to get an MC number. The carriers that fall in this category are generally for-hire carriers or companies providing such services in exchange for payment and rent. Items that are personally used in a house are considered household items. They are carried from a factory or shop at the request of a customer who intends to use the transported items in the house. The householder pays the transportation cost.

A broker that arranges for the transport of goods or passengers needs to issue an authority number too

A corporation, partnership, or individual who runs a brokerage firm that arranges for transportation of household goods for the public is also liable to issue an MC number. The broker in this binding does not hold any responsibility for the damage of the goods and the goods never come in his possession. A company is registered as a household goods broker if it provides services like binding and nonbinding estimates, inventorying, protective packing and unpacking of individual items at personal residences, and loading and unloading at personal residences.

Carriers whose headquarters are based in the United States may also fall under the eligibility criteria of an MC number

Those companies that transport and supply international household goods having their headquarters in the United States but are in control of a Mexican Citizen should also get an MC number issued from the federation.


Getting an MC number is surely an important step in setting up a transporting business. Operating without an MC number can cause serious problems for your business. An MC number cost can vary for everyone but it is generally up to $300. If you transport interstate commodities for the public you can get an operating authority according to the types of goods from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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