A stock photo of a stacks of paperwork on a desk.

You have to finish your homework before you hit the road

What documents does an owner/operator need to start?

Becoming an owner/operator requires more than that buying a tractor, hooking up to a trailer and hitting the road. Your first several steps on your journey to running a trucking business will involve copious amounts of paperwork and spending a fair amount of time on the phone talking to various government agencies. So, what documents does an owner/operator need to start? This is not an exhaustive list and you might need to do some different things based on the state where your business is going to be based and incorporated. Speaking with a lawyer and/or a professional business manager wouldn’t be the worst idea when you’re starting out.

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Commercial Driver’s License — It may seem obvious, but the first thing you need to be a truck driver is a commercial driver’s license. The steps and fees needed to get a CDL may vary a bit from state-to-state. However, you will need to pass a background check, a written test and a driving test. You must be 18 years old to operate a commercial truck in the state and over 21 to cross state lines.

Federal DOT and Motor Carrier Authority Numbers — These numbers are used by the government to make sure you are following safety protocols and to identify the kind of trucking business you are operating. Both numbers can be obtained through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You will need to complete the Motor Carrier Identification Report (Form MC-150) and Safety Certification Application.

Unified Carrier Registration — Obviously you’d never pick up your first load without having insurance. The Unified Carrier Registration system was created to verify that you’re covered by a minimum level of insurance. More information about the requirements for the UCR can be found on your home state’s DOT website.

Patriot Truck Sales is here to help you make your business as successful as possible. Our product experts have a lot of knowledge about this industry. Let us know what questions you have by calling, 972-554-4700.