How to Check a Mover’s USDOT Number

Are you thinking of hiring a moving company to help with your next move? You might be caught in between several options, unsure of which business is the most trustworthy. Looking up the company’s USDOT number can reveal a lot about them.

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

 ·  4 min

Not all moving companies are the same. Some offer a variety of benefits, while others have great customer reviews and have spent years cultivating trust with their client base. If you choose the wrong business, you could set yourself up for a pricey moving scam.

The USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number lookup is one of your best tools in finding a reputable moving company. We’re going to take a look at what the US DOT number means, as well as the importance of an MC number. 

What are USDOT Numbers?

Any moving company worth its salt has a USDOT number. The US DOT number lookup is an identifier offered by the federal government for monitoring and verification purposes. 

The USDOT number is required whether the moving company is interstate or intrastate. 

What Does DOT Stand For?

DOT is short for the Department Of Transportation. 

How Do I Look Up a DOT Number?

The FMCSA (that’s short for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is the operating authority that assigns interstate moving companies with DOT numbers. 

You can visit their site (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/do-i-need-usdot-number) and learn about the unique specifications of each state.

Why Do Moving Companies Need a DOT Number? 

Federal and state oversight ensures moving companies operate safely at all times. If you review a moving company without a DOT number or an MC number, proceed with caution. 

Does your moving company operate with the right type of insurance? Have they recently come under fire for illegal activity? An interstate moving company with an active operating status with a USDOT number automatically provides potential clients with the ability to screen for important information, such as:

  • Crash inspections
  • Audits
  • Certifications (recently obtained, expired, or both)
  • Customer reviews
  • General vehicle maintenance (trucks added, repairs, etc)

The USDOT number should be easily found on the website of the moving company you’re interested in hiring. Once you have it, go ahead and punch it into the AI FMCSA’s search tool to start reviewing essential information. Alongside reviewing their recent history, you should also search for:

  • Liability coverage 
  • Vehicle investigation and license plates
  • Coronavirus safety measures (such as masks, vaccinations, and no contact moving)
  • Worker’s compensation insurance
  • Household goods complaints history (updated on a yearly basis)
  • On-road performance records
  • Fleet size

The company snapshot through a US DOT number lookup empowers customers to purchase safer moving services. Red flags you should be aware of when searching for a moving company include:

  • Missing USDOT and/or MC number
  • No consistent legal name, company name or DBA name
  • Expired certifications for certain materials (such as hazardous materials)
  • High volume of customer complaints (particularly if they’re recent)
  • Low safety rating

What Is an MC number?

While moving companies usually need a US DOT number lookup for their clients, a local state moving company might operate under different standards. This can look like an MC number, short for motor carrier number. 

Each state has its own rules for vetting and certifying intrastate moving businesses. While the function of a USDOT number and an MC number is technically the same, the MC number is a little broader in that it determines any people or commodities transported across state lines. This can be a moving business or a business that transports goods within a certain niche.

They might not categorize their MC number with this acronym, but instead with a state equivalent. This can also look like an FF or MX number.

Why is My MC Number Important?

Just like the USDOT number, the MC number shows your moving company has gone through the necessary paperwork to be verified by the FMCSA. 

With as many as 7,000 moving services available in the United States, customers have to be extra careful when choosing a business.

How Do I Find a Reputable Moving Company?

It’s easier than ever to find moving services you can trust…as long as you know what to look for! 

Here is a step-by-step list to narrow down a professional moving company that will meet your needs. 

Review the Moving Company Website for Essential Information 

The moving company website should have basic contact information on the USDOT number and/or MC number. 

They should also have a breakdown of their services, insurance, and valuation coverage. 

Check the FMCSA Database for a USDOT Number and/or MC Number

Punch in the USDOT number and/or MC number into the FMCSA database to review the safety data of your moving company. 

If they have a high volume of customer complaints or expired certifications, consider choosing another business. 

Request a Free Estimate

A free estimate will help you budget your move early and avoid unpleasant surprises. 

Make sure to get this in writing and ask whether or not it’s a binding estimate. A binding estimate won’t waver from the original price, while a non-binding estimate still has wiggle room for higher or lower prices. 

Make sure to analyze your belongings carefully for any hazardous materials or exceptionally complex furniture: the more information your moving company has, the more accurate your estimate. 

Ask About Coronavirus Safety Guidelines

Moving businesses today have to be extra careful when interacting with customers and their belongings. With so many coronavirus variants swirling around, even one slip-up can get someone sick.

Ask the moving company about their company’s safety information, such as vaccinations, wearing masks, or sanitizing boxes. If you’re nervous about contamination, consider packing your belongings yourself and requesting a no-contact move. This will require some trust on behalf of your movers, so read customer reviews and do your research.

Hiring a moving company can be a little daunting, but you’ll be glad you spent the extra effort. 

The AARP recently reported of a spike in ‘hostage loads’, with nearly 1,000 complaints issued to the United States Department Of Transportation in 2021. This is a phenomenon in which an unverified moving company low balls your moving estimate, then suddenly charges a higher price and holds your belongings hostage if you don’t pay.

With the US DOT number lookup, you’ll have the ability to check if a moving company’s verified, safe, and trustworthy. 

Here are some other links that might help:

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

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