How to start the car hauling business

GOFORITAPP.COM has its loyal users who are willing to share their experience of how to start the car hauling business. In this serial of posts you will find the list of necessary steps of to get into car hauling business, how to pick up right truck, what issues should you expect and how to deal with them.

Car hauling business could be an option for you if you seek to start something that promises quick revenues from the very first day of operation. However it involves taking into account number of regulatory rules and procedures that can be time consuming, exhausting and expensive.

There are many companies which can help new entrants in car hauling business in registration process, but usually it costs couple thousand and not everyone is ready to spend so much money upfront.

I have to warn you that insurance really is the most worrisome thing for new entrants.

Now let’s get to the list what you need to consider to start up auto hauling business:

  1. Register a company (LLC, Corporation). In fact there are more options than just LLC or Corporation but I recommend those two if you want to enter car hauling business. Corporation would be better if you have more ambitious plans in future, for example if you believe that soon you will be adding new vehicles and new drivers to the company. Note that there are C corp and S corp. S corp is almost same as LLC in terms of taxation, you can always switch from C corp to S corp and back. May be S corp is good idea to save tax money, because unlike S corp C corp pays dividend tax. However if you plan to issue number of shares (Why not? Plan big!) and attract investors in future C corp is the only option. Once you register company now go to IRS website and get TAX ID, known as EIN or FEIN number. They all are the same. Process is easy, you will get PDF with tax ID number in the end.
  2. Apply for ICC/MC authority and DOT. These two are done by one application on DOT website (www.fmcsa.dot.gov). By the way you need to spend lots of time to read stuff on that website before you go ahead. And I recommend you to do so. So there is one huge application to complete to apply for MC authority and DOT number and as you are first time applicant it is called UNIFIED REGISTRATION  SYSTEM (URS). Do not confuse it with UNIFIED CARRIER REGISTRATION (UCR) However you need both, I will explain UCR below. You get DOT number automatically at the end of the application and it is FREE, however you pay somewhere $600 to submit application for MC Authority. Note that Fee is not refundable and you need to pay close attention to details what you are filing. As a car hauler you need to indicate in the application that you will be carrying gasoline as NON-BULK. This means that vehicles you are supposed to transport has gasoline in tanks, but you are not transporting gasoline as main commodity. NOTE that you need to register as COMMON CARRIER OF MOTOR VEHICLES. Do not make mistake and do not end up as DRY VAN or HOUSEHOLD GOODS CARRIER COMPANY :))) However if you make forgivable mistake you have time to go online and update your MC registration. Form -150 is required which is also found on FMCSA website.

 

GET READY!! you will receive lots of “TERRIFYING” SOLICITATIONS, BECAUSE YOUR CONTACT INFO BECOMES PUBLIC ON FMCSA WEBSITE (BTW GO HERE AND LOOK HOW SIMILAR COMPANIES LOOK http://www.safersys.org/CompanySnapshot.aspx). SO DO NOT BE SCARED IF SOMEONE CALLS YOU AND TELLS YOU THAT “YOU ARE AT RISK GOING TO FEDERAL PRISON BECAUSE YOU FILED YOUR DOT AND MC NUMBER INCORRECTLY”. THAT’S FUN TO LISTEN TO THOSE PHONE CALLS THOUGH.

3. FINISH these Small but necessary stuff.

a) UCR (ucr.in.gov) , knows as Unified Carrier Registration, it is administered by state of Indiana. I have no idea why this is needed and I believe you will have same perception, but you need this in order to do IRP registration (About IRP I will talk below). Process is easy and ONLINE, go to their website (ucr.in.gov) and follow steps, PRINT RECEIPT OF UCR PAYMENT. It is not expensive for up to 2 trucks it should be no more than $76 I guess. THE RECEIPT IS CONFIRMATION THAT YOU HAVE UCR. So KEEP this receipt in the truck.

b) IFTA registration. IFTA is also easy process done online, it varies state to state but usually IFTA registration happens on the STATE SECRETARY website. You fill in information for which you need DOT number, your company TAX ID, your TRUCK vin number, your TRUCK number plate (if you have temporary number plate it is fine, you can change it later). The fee for IFTA registration might vary by state but it should not be more than $15-20. I paid $10 in Connecticut. Quarterly you pay  IFTA based on the miles you drove in various states and the locations where you fueled your truck. Also do not forget to put IFTA decals on your truck. That is alerting Weight Stations if you do not have Up to date IFTA decal on the truck. Fine in Virginia for not having IFTA up to date is $500.

c) NYS Highway USE TAX (HUT). Yes, you need it if you operate in the east coast. Also other states have something similar, just research online this is simple process. You need Truck VIN number, Number plate (temporary works) DOT number and process is easy on their website (tax.ny.gov/bus/hut/huidx.htm). However you need to file quarterly and you need to keep track of miles you drive on NYS highways. The filing fee can only buy you Big Mac, so I do not even remember exactly how much it is.

d) Heavy Duty Highway Use tax. If your truck’s gross weight is over 55 000 pounds you need to file and pay this tax (irs.gov/uac/about-form-2290).

e) BOC-3, register agent form. This is one time thing, when you do your MC authority registration do BOC-3 form filing right away. Google companies that offer BOC-3 filing. Process is online and easy.

f) You need to do DOT inspection on your truck in order to get IRP registration completed. Does not matter your Truck is brand new or used you need to take it to the facility where DOT registration is done. It is easy though and should not cost you more than $150. Some shops might do it for $75, so look for it in your area.

 

g) VIN verification. This is insane but some STATE DMV IRP units might ask you to provide VIN verification certificate. Dealers do it and DMV has on the website list of approved dealers.

4. INSURANCE. This is a headache I will be honest to you. So once you submit MC authority application you need to wait around two weeks to buy insurance. OF course you can buy insurance anytime AFTER MC registration but it is waste of money, why do you need to pay for insurance in advance and lose two weeks? So FMSCA gives you 20 days to submit insurance. I recommend you to find insurance company right away which will give you quote and is ready to file BC-91 form with FMSCA as soon as you pay money. As far as you have new company and car hauling is extremely risky business for many insurance companies you will have hard time to find insurance company that will actually take you. Note that Progressive dropped offering policies to new entrants but then they renewed again. When I did I had to make approximately 50 phone calls to finally find insurance willing to work with me.  And pay attention you do not need to have some CCC rating insurance company, most of the brokers and especially new car brokers require you to have AAA rating insurance company. So as you are a new entrant insurance will be very expensive. Expect to be paying somewhere $1500-2000 a month in insurance. Surprised? This is not all, Insurance company will request you to pay 25-30% upfront and you pay interest on the rest during the installment period. So once you have paid for insurance policy the rest is on them, your insurance company should file BC-91 form with FMCSA in order FMCSA to activate your MC authority. Your insurance certificate will have your TRUCK, your TRAILER and YOUR name as insured.  FMCSA requires your liability insurance to be at least $750 000, but I recommend you to do $1m cause many companies requires you as auto hauler to be carrying that much coverage. Regarding cargo insurance usually it is $250 000 for 9 car hauler trucks, but depending what you are hauling you can adjust it according to your needs. For example I have 4 car hauler truck but I still carry $250 000 cargo, because I haul new Cadillac Escalades or New Porsche Cayennes and dealers and brokers requested me to have that much coverage. Also some companies might ask you to have general liability and workers compensation, they are not expensive but it is another process to get them. So be prepared to be asked to provide those.

5. Buying Truck and Trailer. I recommend to apply for Truck financing early in the process to get approval and once you have approval you can finish it anytime and sign papers. I recommend you to get financing on your business, but as it is almost impossible because you have just registered your company then you need to get truck under your name as individual. Regarding trailer if you are ordering it in the factory, note that they need 1-2 months to build trailer for you. So you need to start process of building trailer much earlier than other things. However you can always buy used trailer. Trailer registration is easy, you will pay sales tax in your state’s DMV. Many people register trailers in state of Maine online without going there.

6. IRP registration. Well this is almost same as registering your vehicle in DMV, but do not make mistake do not register your truck as regular COMMERCIAL VEHICLE. You will lose money. Usually DMV offices have IRP units. IRP means International Registration Plan. Also some dealers (especially pick up truck dealers) are unaware of such process and they fill papers as regular commercial truck registration. So you need to know this and tell dealer that you DO NOT PAY SALES TAX. IRP registration fee varies by gross vehicle weight. For 80 000 pounds GVW trucks the fee amount is $2000.  To complete IRP registration you need Insurance certificate mentioning DMV IRP unit as certificate holder (Your insurance company knows it if you are unaware how you can put IRP as certificate holder, so contact them, it is 1 hour process) It must list all vehicles insured and it must list your individual name as insured if truck is under your personal name. You will also need lease agreement between you and your company if your truck is registered on your name and not company’s. Also you will need non-trucking insurance in this case. Yes IRP process is also exhausting, time consuming and very bureaucratic but you need it to be able to operate interstate. IRP registration is usually completed in 5 days and you will pick up number plates and CAB CARD. Keep CAB CARD in truck all the time.

This should be all. Now you are ready to pull your first load.

GOOD LUCK AND DO NOT FORGET TO USE GOFORIT APP TO SIMPLIFY CAR INSPECTION PROCESS AND EARN EXTRA CASH!