What do I need to start a freight and moving company?

If you are thinking start a freight and moving companyYou must be clear about how to do it correctly, because in principle you will need to manage permits, licenses, insurance and of course have the necessary equipment to operate the business.

How to start a freight and moving company

To the start a freight and moving company You must do it legitimately, because if you start with small jobs for example during the weekend you may think that at the moment you do not need insurance, but this thought will only lead you to start with problems.

Business plan

Develop a business plan establishing your real goals, the budget with the initial capital, the possibility that you require financing and also research other successful moving companies for ideas.

Establish your business

Think about how you will establish your business, because the moving industry is saturated with beginners who are willing to offer their services at a very cheap price because they rarely have insurance and the required permits, you must compete like a professional and you should even consider the possibility of offering various services such as loading, unpacking and expanding out of state.

The training

You need to train yourself to properly handle a moving business, since although it is not complicated, you will deal with valuable goods that you must take care of, therefore you must understand everything about packaging and cargo, since with adequate training, you can offer a service efficient and you will also learn to save space, time and money.

The physical space

You must consider a safe and large enough physical space thinking about the future of your business. In fact, at first you may think that a single car will be enough, but suddenly your business will expand and you will need a fleet of trucks, so think about a large and adequate physical space to offer good facilities to your customers’ merchandise.

The teams

First of all you will need to buy a truck and equip it with the DOT sticker, which corresponds to the United States Department of Transportation.

Well, the FMCSA is the entity in charge of monitoring and ensuring compliance with the safety regulations of all carriers.

Your business will be subject to meeting security registration requirements, in addition to operational security registration as part of business regulation, because if your business is subject to security requirements, you will also be required to have a USDOT number.


If you start a small cargo transport company, you can work with shipping companies and distributors without the need to pay the expenses that correspond to large companies, but even if it is a small cargo business idea, you must comply with all state requirements and obtain the licenses required by the United States.

The business structure

Contact an attorney to advise you on the best structure for your business so that they can protect you on a personal level.

The most common options are a limited liability company or a corporation and then you must obtain the federal tax identification number, which will be used for any procedure you need to carry out at the bank, for a credit or payroll service.

Unified operator registry

As a freight carrier, you must apply for the unified operator registration, paying an annual fee of $ 76, as this is a requirement for carriers and brokers.

Keep in mind that the process for registration with the FMCSA requires your company to define the type of operation of your business as either a carrier, broker or supplier of intermodal equipment.

The agency is charged with the administration of federal motor vehicle safety regulations and hazardous materials regulations that pertain to the interstate truck and bus industry.

This determination is based on the self-classification of the commercial operation of your company, for which you will use criteria such as the type of cargo, the operation and your type of company.

Steps for the FMCSA registration process for freight forwarding

If you want start a freight and moving company, you must register with the FMCSA, for which you can follow these steps:

Step 1: First of all, you must determine if you need to comply with the requirements that imply the need for you to register with the FMCSA, since in principle it is necessary for companies that operate commercial vehicles that transport cargo or passengers in an interstate commerce, therefore if your business operates this way you will need to register with the FMCSA and obtain a USDOT number.

Keep in mind that the USDOT number will serve as your only identification when your business is monitored, as it will need security compliance reviews.

As your business will be dedicated to the transport of goods regulated by the federal government and it is also the property of third parties, in addition to the DOT number you will need an MC number.

Although depending on the type of operating authority granted to you, you may receive an MC, FF or MIX number and you may even need multiple operating authorities so that you can sustain the business operations you have planned.

Well, the operating authority is the one that dictates the type of operation that your company can execute and the load that it can transport.

Step 2: Then continue with the process by completing the FMCSA application, you can do it online through the Unified Registry System.

In addition to submitting the application for the authorization of operation, as a carrier you must present legal documents that vary according to each registry.

Step 3: Determine the notification and state registration requirements, you can do it at www.usa.gov/

Step 4: Follow the new business insurance program. Well, if as a carrier you want to operate in interstate commerce, you must complete the MCS-1SD form.

As a new business you will be monitored during the initial period of 18 months, as you must operate safely, keep records up to date, you will receive periodic inspections and your business must be approved by a security audit.

Step 5: You will get the permanent record from USDOT.

Step 6: You must keep the information corresponding to the USDOT number updated, because every time you change the name or address or other details of the registry, you must update your DOT, the authority registration with the FMCSA and even this entity requires that all companies that are under its jurisdiction update the information every two years.

Insurance to start a freight and moving company

Contact your insurance provider to provide you with commercial insurance, business insurance with coverage for any merchandise that may be damaged during the transfer.

Well, you will also need cargo insurance and civil liability insurance with a cost that varies according to each state.

For example, in Texas, cargo insurance requires a coverage value of at least $ 5,000 and liability insurance of at least $ 300,000.