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What Is Operating Authority (MC#)

Published by Chris Townsend

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What Is Operating Authority (Motor Carrier Number)?

Operating authority is a type of legal regulation that is required by all moving companies that transport goods between states on behalf of others for some form of financial compensation. It often goes hand-in-hand with a U.S. DOT number, which is a requirement for state to state moving companies, though not necessarily required of all in-state movers. There are a few moving companies that may not need operating authority, but they are few and far between and most movers will have to maintain operating authority to legally operate.

Types of Operating Authority

Depending on the type of operating authority, there will be a different letter combination assigned to it. The most common one is an MC number, which stands for “motor carrier” number. An FF number refers to a freight forwarder, which is a company that arranges for transportation of goods, rather than hauling them itself. An MX number refers to a motor carrier that is owned by a citizen or resident of Mexico and is obviously less common in the United States. For the most part, moving companies you encounter should have an MC number if they are the company that will be transporting your belongings for you. Those companies with an FF number are brokers, which means that simply arrange for the transport between you and a carrier.

Three Men & A Truck is a licensed moving company that operates in all 50 U.S. states. With more than a decade of experience, we are capable of providing moving and storage services to any location you need to go! We offer FREE cost estimates for all services, which you can request today by calling us at (888) 202-0036, or by using our FREE online price quote request form!

All types of operating authority are specific to a given company, which makes it easy to look them up and verify information about the company. Just as most moving companies you deal with should have an MC number, they should also have a U.S. DOT number if they operate between different states, referred to as interstate transport. A U.S. DOT number is not required in every state if the company only operates in that state, but the majority of states do require a U.S. DOT number in addition to a number that designates their type of operating authority.

What Information You Can Find Based On Operating Authority

Like a U.S. DOT number, you can look up a moving company based on their operating authority using the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Moving Company Database. (You can also look up a moving company based on their name if you are unable to find a registration number for them.) It’s definitely advisable to look up information about a moving company before you agree to hire them so that you can verify certain information about them. Once you’re able to find a company’s records on in the moving database, you can verify that they’re a carrier, meaning they do the moving themselves, rather than operate as a broker. You can also check to see if they have current operating authority to move household goods, find information about their past safety performance and audits, and find out where their headquarters are located.

operating authority meaning what is an operating authority

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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