Do I Need an MC Number?

If you plan to transport people or cargo for compensation, you might want to know more about the role and importance of an MC number.

Some business owners wonder if they need an MC number and this question is often confusing when you consider the differences between the various rules and regulations which apply in terms of operating authority. In other words, different numbers and permits are required for different reasons but the MC number is not to be confused with a USDOT number or any other type of permit.

But in order to fully understand the requirements, we must also know the different types of operators which need to have an MC number.


What is an MC Number? 

An MC number is another name for an “FF” or “MX” number which can be obtained from a FMSCA operating authority. For the operator, this number provides the company with operating authority and this duty is upheld by federal law in the United States.

However, an MC number does not cover an operator in the same way as a USDOT number. For instance, a USDOT number will permit a company to operate in any state or outside of any state but more than one MC number might need to be obtained from different authorities.

Companies must obtain an MC number if they directly or indirectly transport people interstate for compensation. Also, this number is required for companies that transport regulated commodities in a similar way for the purpose or commerce or compensation. In case you might be asking yourself, this means that both private carriers and “for hire” carriers must have an MC number to transport people or cargo. What’s more, a carrier must obtain an MC number if they operate within a commercial zone as designated by federal law.

Note – Commercial zones are often territories that include more than one state and lie on the border of major cities such as Washington DC or Virginia.

Now, let’s consider whether you might need an MC number for your company…


Do You Need an MC Number for Your Company?

Is this a “for hire” company? If the company is transporting people or cargo for compensation, you will require an MC number as a “for hire” company. If you plan to transport people or cargo across state or national borders, you will also need interstate operating authority.

While certain exceptions do exist, the chances are that you will need an MC number if the company falls under the two criteria above.

But then there’s Intrastate operating authority which applies to some companies that only transport cargo and people within one particular state. A USDOT number is needed for these companies and you can find out more about the USDOT number here.


How to Apply for an MC Number

It’s best to get started with your application as soon as possible because obtaining an MC number can take up to a few months. You will need to apply for an MC number with the FMCSA here and a valid credit card is needed for the application fee which is non-refundable.

Either way, you should now understand that an MC number is most often required for companies that transport people or cargo. And it’s always best to apply for operating authority as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary delays or complications on the road ahead.

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