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How to Perform USDOT Number Check and Why Is It Important

Posted in How-to on December 2, 2022

If you are relocating your household goods from one state to another with a mover, you should perform a USDOT number check on the company before you hire them. The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number is issued to motor carriers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is responsible for protecting the public from unsafe and unreliable trucking companies, helping you avoid scams during a move.

The top relocation businesses employ a USDOT number as a government tracking identifier. It resembles a license plate number in certain ways. You can instantly view a company’s safety rating, complaint history, and accident history by entering its USDOT number into the government website. Learning how to check the DOT number allows you to have a stress-free move, enabling you to avoid potential scammers when selecting a mover.

Let’s Start With the Basics – What Is the USDOT Number?

Before you actually do a USDOT number lookup, let’s check what it actually is. After all, you’re hiring cross-country moving services that should be reliable and efficient. You surely don’t want to find out you’ve been scammed after the move and end up without your belongings and money.

A USDOT number is a distinctive identification that keeps track of safety data for commercial motor vehicles such as moving trucks. According to a government agency called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), every motor carrier that transports cargo across state borders requires it.

Additionally, 38 states mandate that local businesses must get DOT numbers from the FMCSA before they can transport goods across state boundaries. So, when you decide it’s time to move, one of the things on your to-do list (besides gathering all the packing tips and deciding what to keep) should be checking whether a relocation business is legitimate.

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Why Is It Important for People Moving Across the Country?

A USDOT number, also known as a DOT number or US DOT number, is crucial since it keeps people who are relocating to a new state from fraud. It’s a quick and simple way to look into a company’s safety record, complaint history, and legitimacy.

The FMCSA maintains records on every company that has been issued a DOT number. These include information on the company’s safety record, insurance coverage, and compliance with regulations. By checking the DOT number, you can be sure that the company you are hiring is safe and reliable.

However, some businesses use phony DOT numbers to get around their safety records. It’s shady and seldom, but it does happen. In those circumstances, you can check the validity of the USDOT number on the website of your relocating firm using the FMCSA.

By contacting the FMCSA to verify the company’s USDOT number, you can prevent being taken advantage of and recognize a relocation scam. That way, you can proceed with organizing your move without a worry on your mind and be sure you’ll have professional help and efficient packing service.

What Does MC Stand for?

A transport company’s safety record is linked to its DOT number. The FMCSA permits a business to provide interstate transportation if it also has an MC number. Any mover you employ to transport your possessions across state lines needs to get an MC number. So, don’t let checking the MC number be one of the things you forget when relocating.

Two long-distance movers carrying boxes
Reliable cross-country movers should have an MC number as well

How to Perform a USDOT Number Check When Moving Cross-Country?

Probably the first thing that comes to your mind when searching for a trustworthy relocation business is whether performing a USDOT check is difficult. Luckily, it can be done online in a few simple clicks, and you’ll be sure to move safely, even if you are hiring movers for the first time.

The best way to check a company’s USDOT number is to go to the FMCSA website and use their search tool. You will need the company’s legal name and its USDOT number. The search will return results for the company you searched for, as well as any companies that have used a similar name in the past two years.

Visit the FMCSA website to conduct thorough research on the company you want to hire. Search the company name, DOT number, and MC number to verify a USDOT number. Even though this information isn’t usually evident, movers need to list their USDOT and MC numbers on their websites. You can also search by name if you choose. The outcomes can be used to look up a company’s history regarding complaints, accidents, safety, and insurance.

But what to do if a company fails and doesn’t have all the needed information? This can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re relocating for the first time. So, what happens if a business doesn’t follow the USDOT regulations? If a company doesn’t adhere to USDOT requirements, it will have a negative impact on its safety rating. A business with no breaches is given an acceptable rating, whereas risky businesses are given conditional or unsatisfactory ratings. In that case, continue your research until you find a reliable relocation team.

What Should You Look for When Checking?

Planning a move to another city requires a lot of planning and organization – if you want it to be a successful one. However, it can seem like too much, from figuring out how to live on your own to preparing yourself for some possible negative feelings, such as depression after relocating. However, choosing a relocation business is something you just have to do in order to have an efficient move.

A DOT number lookup is simple to perform, but understanding the results might be challenging. We’ll go over the signs you should look for to confirm the legitimacy of your relocation company. Making sure the information on a company’s website matches what you find while searching the FMCSA website is the quickest approach to determine whether it is legitimate:

  • The USDOT number – If a company’s website doesn’t list its DOT number, you can use its name to conduct an FMCSA search.
  • Name – Verify that the company name listed in the FMCSA database matches the one you intend to hire.
  • Phone and address information – Verify that the company’s website’s address and phone number match those on the FMCSA website.
  • The number for the state carrier – The state carrier ID number confirms that the business has an intrastate relocation license, even if it isn’t needed to obtain a DOT number.
  • Operating condition – If a company is legitimate and safe to work for, this should read “ACTIVE.” If a company returns results such as “Inactive USDOT Number,” “OUT-OF-SERVICE,” or “NOT AUTHORIZED,” stay away from them.

Don’t get scammed, and avoid some of the most common mistakes people make while relocating across the country.

Two cross-country movers carrying stuff for a customer
Be aware of all signs you should look for

You Can Check the Crash Record of Your Chosen Long-Distance Movers

By clicking on the hyperlinked text that reads “Inspections/Crashes In US” in the top left corner of the search results screen, you can view a company’s history of crashes. The last 24 months’ worth of state-reported crashes are included in crash records, which are divided into three categories:

  • Fatal – The number of collisions with at least one fatality.
  • Injury – The number of accidents when a person was hurt but not killed.
  • Tow – The number of collisions where a car needed to be towed, but no one was hurt or killed.

Preparing for a big move has a lot of little and big tasks, as you can see. However, omitting even the smallest one can be detrimental, especially when it comes to picking the right team that will help you move.

With the USDOT Number, You Can Check Safety Ratings

By clicking on the hyperlinked text that reads “Safety Rating” in the top left corner of the search results screen, you can find out a company’s safety rating. The FMCSA gives the long-distance moving company one of three grades:

  • Satisfactory – The company has received the highest grade, indicating that it conforms with all USDOT rules and FMCSA safety standards.
  • Conditional – If the business does not adhere to one or more DOT rules and FMCSA safety standards, a conditional rating is assigned.
  • Unsatisfactory – The company is significantly out of compliance with USDOT standards and FMCSA safety criteria, according to this assessment, which is the lowest grade possible.

Number Allows You to Check Insurance

You can obtain insurance records by clicking on “Licensing & Insurance” in a blue box in the top right corner of your page. Insurance records aren’t listed in the main FMCSA search results.

To find out about license and insurance, enter the business’s DOT number or name. The report might not contain much information, but you will be able to cross-check the company’s fundamental facts and determine whether its insurance is still in effect or has been withdrawn.

You Can Also Check for Complaints

A DOT search frequently yields no results for complaints. It’s advisable to spend five to ten minutes researching web reviews rather than relying on the FMCSA for information on complaints. Two excellent starting points are Google and Yelp.

Hopefully, everything we mentioned so far will allow you to quickly research any potential mover you want to hire. No one said preparing for professional movers will be easy, but when you have the right team who will help you, everything else will be a piece of cake.

A girl is sitting outside and looking up long-distance movers online
Check complaints, insurance, and safety ratings of the team you're planning to hire

FAQ

Check frequently asked questions about finding the relocation business that will support you during the entire relocation process and even help you make decisions like when is the best time to move.

Are There Any Other Ways to Ensure the Mover Is Trustworthy?

You can learn more about your movers and the caliber of their cross-country relocation service in various methods. Ask your friends and coworkers about their experiences working with other companies and if they have any recommendations.

Researching businesses on the BBB website is possible once you are aware of which ones to hire and which to perhaps avoid. You can learn about client concerns and the company’s decision to address them. You’ll be able to proceed quickly once you’re sure the company is reliable.

Is Verifying the Digits Easy?

It is not necessary to be technologically skilled to research the numbers and make a stress-free move. All that is required is to enter the business’s legal name into the SAFER System. The next step is to choose the right company from all the results. However, once you find it, the numbers will be displayed on the company’s profile page.

Can I Find Old Customer Complaints Using the Registered Digits?

Sadly, there are no consumer complaints listed in any of the SAFER system profiles. The ratings and compliance – or lack of it – with policies and laws are given more attention. It offers information about the company’s reputation but not on how each individual has found the company’s relocation, shipping, and packing services.

Ensure Your Movers Are Trustworthy With a Simple Check

A DOT number check is an important step in choosing a moving company. By taking a few minutes to do this research, you can be sure that you are hiring a safe and reliable company to transport your belongings. Also, a reliable team should be by your side every moment of the move and make the whole process a breeze. So, finding a trustworthy relocation business is more than just every other task on your relocation checklist.

Julie Grace

Originally from The Golden City, Julie has explored the ins and outs of moving and has written all the tips down.

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