Traveling Man (Woman)



You got your CDL and you’ve leased on with a carrier and you are experiencing the open road. Man….the life. Right? Not so for some. You are out there doing what you want but something is missing? Just not complete, working for someone? It could be me? How?

If you have the desire, the fortitude, and don’t mind the hard work, ( you’re doing it now) and are not risk adverse…..get your Authority. In the Owner Operator system you have to have your own Authority if you ever want to hire drivers and build a multi truck business.


What is an Authority?


In our world an authority is permission handed down by FMCSA or Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, for those not of our world. There are two types of authority you can apply for: Contract and Common. A Contract Carrier hauls freight only for firms that it has a contract for. A Common Carrier can hire itself out to any entity wishing to pay to have (legal) goods transported, whether a formal contractual relationship exists or not. In either case the carrier must hold a minimum of $750,000 liability insurance, but only Common Carriers need to have cargo insurance. (1)


Having an Authority, what does it mean?


Having your own Authority enables you to bypass the middleman. Go Directly to the receivers, shippers and load matching services to obtain freight. It’s more work and responsibility, but with bigger payoffs. Obtaining an Authority is the only way to maximize your profits as an Owner Operator, without it you are limited to working for a leasing company.


How do I obtain an Authority?


1)      Set yourself up as a formal business. You can do this as a sole proprietor or LLC (Limited Liability Corporation)

2)      File with the IRS for an employer identification number (EIN)

3)      Apply online to for application for Authority, you can process online for quicker results.

4)      Submit form OP1, OP1(b), or OP1(ff), whichever applies to your case. There were some changes after 12/12/2015 that apply to first time applicants (URS)

5)      You’ll need to obtain liability and (if you’ll be a Common Carrier), cargo insurance. Note the more cargo insurance you have the more you can haul, so buy as much as you can afford. The minimum required by law is $100,00.

6)      Once filed and received, you should get your Authority permit forms in the mail in about 10 days

7)      At this point you have satisfied the Feds. Next contact your state DOT to take care of the following:

·         Your uniform carrier registration fees

·         Your IFTA forms (there is great software out there to track this)

·         International Registration Plan

·         Your single state registration

·         Your DOT physical and alcohol/drug test

·         Your heavy vehicle use tax


There you have it. There are many computer programs and apps that you should look at to help track your business most have a free trial period, if you don’t have access to a good bookkeeper.  You are your own boss. Good luck and be safe.


If you have any questions or need help with setting up or reviewing your insurance needs. Please contact us at or or you can call us at



(1)    TruckingOffice