The following are frequently asked questions concerning the motor carrier registration. The guidance below is referenced in Chapter 4901:02 of the Ohio Administrative Code.
For help with filing intrastate registration or insurance information, visit the PUCO Motor Carrier Registration system help page.
Intrastate (Ohio-only) operations
New online process for motor carrier registration
Q - What is an intrastate motor carrier?
A - An intrastate motor carrier transports cargo between two points within the state of Ohio. These are two categories of motor carrier:
- Private: if you transport your own property, equipment or material (including employees) in commerce
- For-hire: if you transport someone else’s property, equipment, material or passengers for compensation
Q – What is a CPCN?
A – ‘CPCN’ stands for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. All for-hire motor carriers that operate point-to-point in Ohio are required to have a CPCN from the PUCO before beginning operations. Motor carriers must renew their CPCN annually and keep all company and insurance information on file with the PUCO current. Motor carriers that operate in interstate commerce must also keep all company and insurance information on file with the PUCO current. However, instead of renewing a CPCN annually as intrastate motor carriers do, interstate carriers must pay their Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) fee annually.
Q – When is a CPCN required?
A – All for-hire motor carriers that operate point-to-point in Ohio are required to have a CPCN from the PUCO before beginning operations. CPCNs will NOT be issued to private carriers.
Q – Is a CPCN necessary if I already participate in IFTA, UCR or IRP programs?
A – Yes, the initial registration for a CPCN is required for all for-hire motor carriers that operate point-to-point in Ohio regardless of participation in UCR, IFTA or IRP programs however annual renewal for a CPCN is not required for motor carriers that participate in the UCR program, except for household goods (HHG) carriers. IFTA or IRP holders that operate intrastate commerce still must renew their CPCN annually.
Q – I am starting a new trucking business and operate as a for-hire carrier in Ohio. I will be hauling metal scrap, recycled paper and construction debris. What do I need to do in terms of filling out paperwork with the PUCO?
A – First, apply for an intrastate USDOT number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Then, submit an intrastate registration application with the PUCO for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). As you start this process your insurance company will also need to file your proof of insurance with the PUCO. Once these steps are complete you will receive a CPCN which you will need to renew annually. (The renewal period is May 1-June 30.) Finally, you will need to keep the company and insurance information you have on file with the PUCO current throughout the duration of your business.
Q - How do I file for intrastate registration (CPCN)?
A - Please follow the steps below:
- Apply for an intrastate USDOT number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Submit an intrastate registration application with the PUCO for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). If you are required to file your business name with the Ohio Secretary of State, please ensure your business name listed with the Ohio Secretary of State matches your business name that is on file with your USDOT number.
- During the registration process, you will receive notice after your application is approved to have your insurance company file your proof of insurance with the PUCO. Once these steps are complete and you have paid your registration fee, you will receive a CPCN which you will need to renew annually.
- Finally, you will need to keep the company and insurance information you have on file with the PUCO current throughout the duration of your business.
Q – When do I have to file my annual PUCO (intrastate) registration?
A – The renewal period for intrastate applications is from May 1-June 30.
Q – Can I mail in my PUCO intrastate registration or renewal?
A – For faster processing, please use our online registration system. Please use our intrastate application, if you prefer to mail in your application.
Q – I will be hauling household goods, how much insurance am I required to have?
A – $750,000 in addition to insuring your cargo.
Q – I will be hauling general freight, such as TVs, produce, car parts, etc. How much insurance am I required to have?
A – $750,000
Q – I have a trailer that I haul tractors on to perform jobs. I was told that for purposes of insurance I must comply with the same requirements as a hazardous materials hauler. Is this true, and if so, how much insurance do I need?
A – The tractors you haul are classified as hazardous materials because they have a combustible engine and the ability to carry fuel. Hazardous materials insurance is $1 million.
Q – How do I go about filing insurance with the PUCO?
A – You will need to contact your insurance company and have them electronically file the necessary forms with the PUCO.
Q – As an insurance agent, my client purchased insurance for their commercial motor vehicle. What forms do I need to provide the PUCO to notify you of the changes?
A – The insurance company you represent will need to file either a “Form E” for a motor carrier; or “Forms E & H” for a household goods mover.
Q – What are the rules regarding self insured carries and where can they be found?
A – Self insured motor carriers must file with the FMCSA.
Q – How do I add, edit or cancel motor carrier insurance policies on file with the PUCO?
A – Insurance users must have an account with the Motor Carrier Registration system. New users click here and existing users click here. For information on how to manage the policies, visit the Motor Carrier Registration help page.
Ohio rules and regulations that pertain to household goods (HHG) motor carriers are located in Chapter 4901:2-19 of the Ohio Administrative Code.
Q – I need clarification concerning the regulations and rules for household good movers and the vehicles that are used. If I lease a U-Haul or other truck to perform moves do I need to register with the PUCO as a household goods mover?
A – Yes, but not when hauling personal property.
Q – What is a tariff and how is it filed with the PUCO?
A – A tariff is a listing of rates that a HHG carrier charges for the transportation of household goods and associated services that they provide. Initial and subsequent revisions are filed with the PUCO Docketing Division. The Docketing Division can be reach by telephone at 614-644-5308.
Q – How do I register as an Ohio HHG carrier?
A – Registering as an Ohio intrastate for-hire household goods carrier is a multi-step process consisting of the following:
- Apply for a PUCO authority by completing an initial registration application.
- Provide the PUCO with proof of adequate insurance coverage in the following amounts:
- $350,000 bodily injury and property damage liability insurance.
- $20,000 cargo insurance for each straight truck or each combination used for the transportation of household goods.
- Establish and then file a tariff with the PUCO Docketing Division.
- Remit the following registration fees:
- $30.00 each for each tractor or truck tractor pulling a trailer
- $20.00 each for each straight truck, van, car
- An annual HHG Carrier Fee based on carrier gross annual revenue:
- $0 - $74,999= $100.00
- $75,000 - $149,999 = $200.00
- $150,000 or more = $300.00
- Obtain and then maintain Worker's Compensation coverage pursuant to Chapter 4123 of the Ohio Revised Code.
- Obtain and then maintain unemployment compensation coverage pursuant to Chapter 4141 of the Ohio Revised Code.
- Provide the name and phone number of the person to be contacted to handle any questions or problems relative to a household goods move by the carrier.
Q – Are there special requirements when my rates are based on cargo weight?
A – Yes, if your fees are based on the weight of the shipment, you must weigh the shipment only at a certified scale. Your customer must be given the opportunity to be present during the weighing.
A – What types of documents must I provide to my customers?
Q – State law requires that the following documents and information be provided to each consumer that contracts with your company:
- Written copy of their rights and responsibilities (applies to interstate moves only).
- Estimate and bill of lading forms must contain the consumers’ rights and responsibilities language contained in OAC 4901: 2-19-08 (D) (16) and OAC 4901: 2-19-09 (C) (4).
- Written copy of a reimbursement statement.
- Clearly written estimate of all fees.
- Receipt or bill of lading.
Q – What are advertising restrictions for HHG carriers?
A – The following advertising and truck marking requirements must be adhered to:
- Include your company name and PUCO certificate number in all advertisements.
- Do not use the term “all loads are insured” in any advertisements. Nor can you make any similar statement.
- Do not use deceptive acts before, during or after a transaction relating to transportation of goods.
Q – What information must I display on my vehicles?
A – All motor carriers shall display the following information on both sides of all self-propelled motor vehicles operated within Ohio in intrastate commerce:
- The legal name or a single trade name of the motor carrier operating the commercial motor vehicle.
- The identification number issued by the PUCO preceded by the letters PUCO or the identification number issued by the United States department of transportation preceded by the letters USDOT.
- If the name of any person other than the operating carrier appears on the commercial motor vehicle, the name of the operating carrier must be followed by the above information and be preceded by the words "operated by."
- The markings must be in letters that contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed.
- The markings must be readily legible during daylight hours, from a distance of fifty feet (fifteen point two four meters) while the commercial motor vehicle is stationary.
Q - I am new to the motor carrier industry where can I find additional information?
A - Please visit the The Motor Carrier Safety Planner to review Federal safety regulations and to begin your journey as a motor carrier.
Q – I don't need a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) because I won't be hauling enough passengers or freight and my vehicle is not the required size to have a CDL. Do I still need a USDOT number for my business?
A – All carriers that operate vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) 10,001 lbs. or greater must have a US DOT number.
Q – Why do I need a USDOT number to update my annual registration with the PUCO?
A – All for-hire intrastate commercial motor carriers must register with the FMCSA for a USDOT number as required by Ohio law (Ohio Admin.Code 4901:2-21-03). You can either register online or by mail.
1. Online applicants will receive a USDOT number instantly.
a. Begin the online registration process here.
b. Go to the “Help me register” section and click on “Step-by-Step Registration Guide.” This process will require a credit card for identification purposes only. (*Note: There is no cost in relation to this process. Be sure to select “For-Hire” in section D, and “Intrastate” in section E.)
c. A notification letter will follow in the mail.
2. Mail-in applications will take the FMCSA approximately 3-4 weeks to process.
a. Complete the MCS-150 form which is available here.
b. Once complete, mail to the address indicated on the form or fax to 703-280-4003.
c. You can also call 800-832-5660 to have a form mailed to you.
General registration questions
Q – We are a private business that owns one truck and recently started shipping product to Michigan. What do we need to do to operate in Ohio?
A – Obtain a USDOT number from the FMCSA and register with the Unified Carrier Registration Plan.
Q – I am starting my own transportation company. I have been told that if I have a PUCO number that I would be exempt from sales tax on equipment and oil. Is this true?
A – Yes.
Q – We have a for-hire motor carrier business located in another state and are compliant with all of the federal regulations but would like to know if there are any specific forms or applications that we need to fill out in order to travel interstate into your state?
A – No.
Q – I transport cars and am purchasing a new truck. Do I need another PUCO Tax Receipt for this truck? If so, how do I go about getting it?
A – Yes, by registering with the PUCO as an intrastate motor carrier.
Q – We have two PUCO numbers and want to find out if there is a reason to keep both or if one can be eliminated?
A – Intrastate motor carriers are only required to have one PUCO number.
Q – I have been trying to call and get a response regarding an update on our PUCO registration. Who do I need to contact?
A – You will need to contact the Motor Carrier Registration Division by calling 800-686-8277.
Q – I am thinking about buying a tow truck. What is required according to the PUCO? Is there registration? Cost? Taxes?
A – You will need to register as an intrastate for-hire motor carrier.
Q – I canceled my authority over a year ago but I keep getting info from the PUCO. Why?
A – Call the PUCO at 800-686-8277.
Q – How do I find intrastate registration/CPCN status of a motor carrier?
A – You can search intrastate motor carrier authority Please note if the carrier is not based in Ohio and shows an inactive or suspended status, contact Motor Carrier Registration to verify the status.
Q – I would like to start a new towing company and need to know what registration requirements I need to comply with?
A – You will need to file for a CPCN if operating as an intrastate for-hire motor carrier.
Q – I am asking in regards to what we need to file with Ohio to be an oversize / overweight motor carrier permitting service for our company and other companies as well.
A – Contact the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Q – How/where do I get a USDOT number?
A – Visit FMCSA.
Unified Carrier Registration (multi-state) operations
Q – What is the UCR program?
A – The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) is a national program that simplifies the registration process for motor carriers operating in more than one jurisdiction (also known as “interstate commerce”). The program was passed by Congress as part of the SAFTEA-LU Act, which requires motor carriers to register and renew for the program annually. Registration costs are determined by the number of vehicles operated in interstate commerce as defined in C.F.R. Section 390.5. The annual registration renewal period for motor carriers runs year-round. Due to a high volume of last minute applicants motor carriers should either register early or file their application online to avoid delays.
Q – What entities are responsible for paying the UCR fees?
A – All interstate motor carriers are required to register and pay the appropriate fees with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including private, for-hire and exempt carriers, as well as brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies.
Q – What entities are not responsible for paying the UCR fees?
A – Motor carriers operating only in Ohio (or “intrastate commerce”) are not subject to UCR fees.
Q – What are UCR fees based on?
A – UCR fees for motor carriers are determined by the total number of power units operated. UCR fees for brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies are levied at the rate applicable to the smallest motor carrier.
Q – I work for a company that picks-up, hauls and disposes of scrap tires, and travels through Ohio from another state. Is there any certification or registration we must complete?
A – Yes, follow instructions for FMCSA registration and UCR registration.
Q – I filed my UCR application and have not received a permit or receipt. When will I receive one?
A – The UCR program does not issue permits or receipts. However, carriers can use SAFER to check their UCR filing status.
Q – Where can I go to find my registration and payment history?
A – Please visit the UCR website.
Q – If I participate in the UCR program, is it necessary to maintain a separate registration with the PUCO for intrastate for-hire motor carriers in Ohio?
A – Before operating, all intrastate for-hire motor carriers must initially register with the PUCO for the appropriate “operating authority” to transport commerce in Ohio which is granted by a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). Motor carriers that pay the UCR fee every year (interstate) are not responsible for renewing their CPCN annually but are responsible for keeping current all company and insurance information on file with the PUCO.
Q – Is the intrastate renewal period also required for interstate for-hire motor carriers that do intrastate movements in Ohio?
A – No, this is only for for-hire motor carriers that have a CPCN on file with the PUCO for intrastate commerce.