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How to Get a DOT Number for Cross-Country Moving Services

Posted in How-to on February 17, 2023

Whether you’re just launching a cross-country moving business or looking to expand your current service offerings, having the proper licensure is essential in providing quality and compliance services. However, in order to operate as an interstate mover, you must know how to get a DOT number. In this blog post, we’ll explore all the necessary steps needed in order to apply for and obtain a DOT number so that you can begin serving customers throughout state lines safely.

Getting a DOT number for cross-country moving services is relatively simple. All businesses that provide interstate moving services must have a DOT number, which can be obtained through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). When applying, you will need to provide information such as your business name and address, legal status, and the like. Once the application is approved, you will receive your DOT number – and you can start helping people with moving across the country safely and efficiently.

What Is a DOT Number?

Since relocation is a traumatic experience for many, those who plan a move to a new city are likely to get cross-country moving services provided by professional long-distance movers. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know which company is the right pick for them. One important factor they will consider when choosing a relocation company in order to avoid relocation scams is the DOT number.

A DOT number is a unique identifier assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to any business that transports people or goods across state lines for hire. All movers that help people move to a new state must have one in order to operate legally in the United States. If they don’t have one, they are considered illegal and could face serious penalties from the FMCSA.

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Why Is Obtaining a DOT Number Important?

The DOT number tells you that cross-country movers have gone through all of the necessary steps required by federal law in order to become interstate movers. This includes:

  • Registering with FMCSA,
  • Filing proof of insurance and registration documents,
  • Meeting certain safety requirements.

The presence of a valid DOT number indicates that the relocation company is legitimate and qualified to transport the client’s belongings across state lines – which guarantees a stress-free move for all those who wish to hire them. Without this number, people who want to organize a move may be putting themselves at risk by hiring an unsafe or unqualified mover, so they are likely to perform a USDOT number check when their time to move comes.

Long-distance mover holding boxes
Reliable movers need to have a transparent DOT number

Who Needs to Apply for a DOT Number? A Short Overview

Knowing who needs to apply for a DOT number and how to go about the registration process can be confusing. This guide will provide an overview of the different entities that require a DOT number, as well as tips on how to apply.

Commercial Vehicle Owners and Operators

If you own or operate any type of commercial vehicle, then you are required to obtain a DOT number. This includes truck drivers, bus drivers, and all other drivers who transport passengers or cargo for hire. In order for your application for a DOT number to be approved, you must meet certain eligibility requirements and have the proper paperwork completed.

Intermodal Equipment Providers (IEPs)

Intermodal equipment providers (IEPs) are companies that provide intermodal containers, such as shipping containers, to customers in order to facilitate the transportation of goods between two geographic locations. IEPs must apply for their own DOT numbers in order to remain compliant with federal regulations.

Long-Distance Movers

Cross-country moving companies that specialize in providing packing services and transporting goods across state lines also need to apply for this number. If your company offers services for residential or office moves, then it is required by law that you obtain a DOT number from FMCSA. If you wish to help people achieve their relocation benefits and make earnings in the process, you must also comply with all other applicable federal regulations related to interstate moving services in order for your business operations to remain legitimate.

Other Entities Requiring a DOT Number

Other entities may also be required to obtain a DOT number depending on their activities and operations, such as freight brokers, hazardous materials haulers, tow truck operators, and so on.

How to Get a DOT Number

Obtaining your company’s own individual DOT number doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Here are the basic steps you need to follow:

  • File an application with the FMCSA – this can be done online. You will need to provide information about yourself and your company, including contact information and vehicle details such as make, model, year, VIN numbers, and so on.
  • Complete background checks – if you want to operate interstate or international commerce, you must complete background checks on all drivers employed by your company in order to be compliant with federal regulations. This includes drug testing and criminal background checks, as well as other requirements specified by the FMCSA.
  • Wait for approval – once you apply for a DOT number and all background checks have been completed and satisfied, you will need to wait for approval from the FMCSA before your company can legally operate its commercial vehicles on public roads within or outside of the state where it is based. The amount of time it takes for approval varies depending on several factors, such as the overall workload of the agency and the completeness of the paperwork provided by the applicant.

How to Get a USDOT Number for a Cross-Country Moving Truck

As you can see, getting a USDOT number is fairly straightforward. However, there can be specific steps involved depending on the type of business entity and its operations. If you plan on helping people move from the East Coast to the West Coast and vice versa, make sure to get more information from the FMCSA website or by calling their helpline. The most important thing to remember when applying for your DOT number is to make sure that all required paperwork has been completed correctly and submitted on time – otherwise, your application may be delayed or denied altogether – and then potential customers won’t be able to contact you when they need to hire movers.

Cross-country movers loading furniture into the truck
If you wish to help people with moving cross-country, you'll be glad to know that obtaining a DOT number is pretty easy

Complete and Submit the Application and Pay the Fee

How to get a USDOT number for a truck? As mentioned above, the first step is to complete and submit an application form. You will need to provide some basic information about yourself and your long-distance moving company, including your name, address, phone number, email address, business type, type of vehicle you plan to operate, and so on. In order to obtain a USDOT number, you must pay a fee – this fee can be paid online via credit card or check through the FMCSA.

Wait for Approval of Your Application

Once you have submitted your application, it’s time to wait for approval from the FMCSA. This waiting period can last anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on how busy they are and how many applications they are processing at that particular time. During this waiting period, make sure to regularly check with the FMCSA in case there are any issues or questions with your application that need clarification or resolution before it is approved. Once your application is approved by the FMCSA, you will receive an official confirmation letter stating that your registration has been accepted and providing additional information about what comes next.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a DOT Number?

If you wish to help people move efficiently, avoid common relocation mistakes in the process, and try to make their relocation easier, keep in mind that the cost of getting a new DOT number (or renewing an existing one) is around $300 for businesses located in the United States. Additionally, businesses may be subject to additional fees depending on where they are located or what type of goods they are hauling.

Maintenance – Why Keeping Your Information Up-To-Date Is Crucial

If you want to remain in the relocation industry and provide relocation services for those who plan to move to a new city, it’s important that you keep your DOT number up-to-date. Not only is it required by law, but failure to do so can result in serious consequences that can severely affect your business.

How to Renew and Make Changes

To renew your DOT number, you will need to file a renewal form every two years. After filing this form, you will receive an updated certificate with an expiration date for your DOT number. If you need to make changes to your existing DOT number, such as changing the name of your business or updating its address, you will have to file an amendment form with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This form also needs to be completed by all companies that are making changes due to mergers, acquisitions, or dissolutions. Once you have filed this form, you should receive a new certificate with the updated information.

There’s a Penalty for Non-Compliance

It is essential that you keep your DOT number up-to-date because failure to do so could result in hefty fines and other penalties from the government. Depending on how long it has been since your last renewal date, you may also have to pay additional fees or face further legal action if caught operating a CMV without an updated registration document.

A truck on the road
You need to know how to obtain a DOT number, so you don't face any penalties down the road

Avoid the Penalty and Make Sure Your Transportation Is Registered

If you’re a cross-country moving company owner, know that it is very important to make sure that your transportation is registered. You can be penalized if you do not have the proper registration – and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can easily get a DOT number online, so make sure you don’t risk getting in trouble with the law. Additionally, keep in mind that questions about the DOT number are among the most common questions to ask movers – so make sure you have the answer prepared.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who’s looking for a reliable company that can provide quality relocation services, we at Cross Country Movers would be more than happy to help. If you have any questions or simply want to request a free quote for your move, don’t hesitate to contact us.


What Is a DOT Number, and Why Do I Need One?

A DOT number is used to identify companies that transport goods or people over state lines and is also required for any company operating commercial vehicles. This number must be displayed on every vehicle owned by the company, so it gives law enforcement a way to check if the company is licensed in that state. Obtaining and maintaining a valid DOT number are important steps for any business operating vehicles across state lines, such as cross-country moving companies that help people reduce their anxiety about the move by assisting them in the relocation process.

Who Needs a DOT Number?

Companies engaged in commercial activities across state lines are legally obligated to obtain a DOT number in order to do business. In addition, DOT numbers are also required for some interstate freight brokers and freight forwarders.

How Much Does It Cost?

How much does it cost to get a DOT number? Depending on the type of entity you register for, the cost for a USDOT number typically is around $300.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Number?

It typically takes between four and six weeks for FMCSA to process an application and approve it if all necessary requirements are met.

What Information Do I Need to Provide?

When applying for a DOT number, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that you provide specific information such as your legal name and address, type of business entity, fleet size, contact information, company officers, and other relevant documents. The FMCSA also requires that the person or business filling out the application have a valid US driver’s license, social security number, and proof of insurance. Additionally, applicants must submit a background check.

Can I Apply for a DOT Number Online?

Yes, it is possible to apply for a DOT number online. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) offers an online application process that can be completed in just a few minutes by providing the necessary information about your business and vehicles.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My DOT Number?

Companies need to renew their US DOT number every two years.

What Happens if I Don't Have a DOT Number?

If you are operating a commercial vehicle and do not have a DOT number, then you may be subject to fines and other penalties. In addition, your business will be unable to get insurance coverage for the vehicles it operates without a valid DOT number. Failing to register with the FMCSA can result in costly legal consequences and the suspension or revocation of your operating authority.

Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

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