Forming an LLC for a trucking company requires more than just filing documents with your secretary of state. Here’s what’s required:
1. Form a TX LLC
If you’re starting your business from scratch, you can begin by forming your Texas LLC. Before you do, you’ll need to be certain of a few details, such as:
- Company name (which you’ll want to verify with TX’s Taxable Entity Search)
- Texas Registered Agent’s information
- Whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed
You’ll use this information to file a Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State. After you do, make your business official by completing important tasks like writing an LLC operating agreement and opening a business bank account.
For details on the entire Texas LLC formation process, see Northwest’s page: How to Start an LLC in Texas.
2. Apply for an EIN
Obtaining an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS is an important part of enforcing your LLC’s limited liability status. An EIN works like a social security number, but for businesses instead of individuals. You’ll also need to use your EIN when registering your business with the Department of Transportation.
3. Get a USDOT Number
Your trucking business will have to comply with federal regulations, which means registering with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Applicants are urged to apply online using the Unified Registration System. If you’re unable to apply online for any reason, you may complete the paper form (MCS-150) and mail it to:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Attention: USDOT Number Application
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590
4. Obtain an MC/Docket Number
If your business operations include transporting passengers or federally regulated commodities across state lines, you’ll need to get Authority to Operate, also known as an MC or docket number. While “motor carrier” (MC) is the most common type of operating authority, you can also apply as a freight forwarder (FF) or as a carrier domiciled in Mexico (MX). Just as with your USDOT number, you can apply for your docket number using the FMCSA’s Unified Registration System.
5. File Form BOC-3
You’ll need to keep a process agent on-file with the FMSCA, using Form BOC-3. Your process agent will receive service of process (SOP) on your behalf and notify you when an SOP has been received. This is essentially what your resident agent does at the state level for your LLC, only your process agent receives legal notices pertaining to your activities on the road (i.e. if your truck is involved in an accident that spurs lawsuit). Though it may seem redundant to have a resident agent and a process agent, these are two different services and you’ll need to make sure you have both.
Fortunately, Northwest Registered Agent also provides process agent services, which you can read more about on our BOC-3 Process Agent for Motor Carriers page.