All types of shipping and moving businesses are strictly regulated for the benefit of customers. When it comes to relocation, all of us are on the lookout for a licensed moving company. In fact, the reasons are quite clear — moving is stressful enough, so we look for professional skills, experience, security, and safety of our belongings. No one wants to deal with frauds or scams. Existing norms have been developed to ensure the safety and reliability of services in the transportation industry. Licenses, certificates, as well as a DOT number are valid evidence of professional movers.
What Is a USDOT Number?
When it comes to the safety aspect, it is one of the top priorities for all levels of authorities, both state and nationwide. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (commonly referred to as the FMCSA), one of the branches of the US Department of Transportation (or the DOT), has implemented rules to ensure and increase the safety of services, including the registration of movers by a USDOT number. Actually, DOT numbers are used to identify service providers and monitor whether they are compliant with existing safety norms and requirements.
To receive a USDOT number, a company should apply for the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program, the 1.5-year program in the field of carrier safety. Once the company has proved the safety of its operations during the program and successfully passed the safety audit, it receives its USDOT number.
Clients, in their turn, can inspect a moving company for performance, safety, and reputation before booking it.
What Does DOT Stand For?
The “USDOT” stands for the “US Department of Transportation”. If you know a DOT number, you can find the essential data on the chosen company, such as complaints history, company’s available fleet, license plates, on-road safety records, liability coverage, etc.
Simply put, it is a unique code that identifies a company for the DOT. The code helps the government keep records and collect data on the company’s audits, performance, and check-up results.
When clients check a company by its DOT number, they receive updated information on:
- Legal address and contact numbers
- The range of services.
- Insurance information, customer reviews, safety ranking, available trucks, and accident reports.
- Size of the fleet.
Does Every Mover Need a USDOT Number?
A well-reputed licensed moving company is most likely to have a USDOT number besides being fully certified.
Well, not all movers are obliged to obtain a USDOT number. Local moving companies operating within states where a DOT number isn’t obligatory can run their business without it. However, long-distance movers that provide interstate services should have official registration with a DOT number.
State Moving Requirements and Necessary Licensing
Businesses offering interstate moving services must pass a registration process and receive a USDOT number. In some states, relocation companies should have a DOT number to provide even local moving services.
As of January 24, 2022, updated by the FMCSA, a USDOT number is required in the following states: California, Arizona, Oregon, Alabama, Wyoming, Alaska, West Virginia, Missouri, Iowa, Utah, Colorado, Ohio, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New York, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, and Washington.
If a company has been registered and earned a USDOT number, it is fully legitimate and allowed to provide moving services. However, registered moving businesses may also differ in their rankings and performance. That is why it is always recommended to check a company’s records by a DOT number.
How to Check a Mover’s USDOT Number
In case of interstate moves, it is important to figure out the requirements of all states that movers will pass through and verify that the company is registered there. Simply put, movers should be registered in all states they provide services in. Study a company’s website: if a company is registered and has a DOT number you can definitely find the number on the website page where all licenses and certificates are listed. Besides, movers usually print a USDOT number on trucks.
If you decide to check whether a DOT number is obligatory for moving companies operating in the state you live in, you can contact the local branch of the Department of Transportation. Besides, you can check the list of businesses officially registered via the FMCSA system. Use the search tool on the FMCSA platform, enter the company’s DOT number, then the company’s history records will be displayed on the website.
When you verify movers’ records by the DOT number, avoid companies with a low safety ranking, numerous customer complaints, and mismatching legal names and company names. Note a scope of services, and whether a company is legitimate for intrastate and/or interstate shipping services.
How to Find a Good Moving Company
When you are in quest of a moving company you can rely on, it is recommended to perform a DOT number check for the chosen movers. To tell the truth, serious businesses never neglect obtaining additional certificates and licenses that can boost their reputation in the public eye. Even when a DOT number isn’t required by the state regulations, professional movers apply for the NESAP to prove the professionalism and safety of operations.
To ensure that you have put the eye on a legitimate and reliable company,
- Study the company’s website. Pay attention to licensing details, traffic records, insurance coverage, the scope of certified services, and contact details. Look for a USDOT number and license — movers with high ranking usually provide information about certificates and licenses in the bottom bar on the Home page.
- Now you can search the FMCSA platform for the company’s DOT number and retrieve the essential data and records about the chosen company. If you notice any red flags, such as low safety ranks, complaints, etc., you’d better look for other movers.
- Additionally, you can check a company’s rating at the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The BBB A+ rating, clean records for the DOT number, and a valid license are strong evidence that the movers you’ve selected are professional and qualified.
- Once you’ve scanned the company, now you can request a free quote using an online calculator or virtual estimation.
Altogether, legitimate professional movers have clean records and high ratings. Besides registration with the DOT, they are often members of industry-focused associations, for instance, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) or the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).
With all the data on hand, you can choose a pro-company that ensures seamless headache-free relocation for you and your family.
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