What is a DOT Number? Here’s How To Find It

By: Tommy Loutzenheiser Last Updated: May 11, 2024

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We’re here to give you everything you need to know about Dot numbers to help you in your moving process. Everything from learning what exactly a DOT number is to how to find it and use it to your advantage during the research process of hiring a moving company.

What is a DOT Number? Here’s How To Find It

DOT numbers are one of the most important things to find out when it comes to moving. They will help you during your background research process and ultimately help you make the right decision of what moving company to hire.

In short, a DOT number is a government tracking number that’s used by every moving company across the country. You can almost think of it as a license plate number on the back of a car. The DOT number can be typed into various government websites and see a moving company’s full history, any accident reports, and their safety rating.

To find a company’s DOT number, you’ll go to the FMCSA website and search the name of the company and the DOT number. Moving companies are required to list their DOT numbers on their websites; so customers have easy access to it.

What Is a DOT Number?

All DOT numbers are issued by the Department of Transportation and serve as a way of identifying commercial moving vehicles. It is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that every moving company has a DOT number on each of their vehicles that will be hauling belongings from destination to destination.

Another thing to consider is that 38 out of the 50 states require local moving companies that only transport goods within the boundaries of the same state they operate in to get a USDOT number from the FMCSA.

How to Find It

To find a DOT number of the moving company that you’re considering hiring, follow these simple steps.

  • Through Search: Go online and search for the SAFER website, then search by moving company.
  • By Email: You can email your moving company or the moving company you’re considering hiring and ask for their DOT number.
  • By Phone: You can also call (800)-832-5660 to speak directly with a customer service agent from the FMCSA.

Why is a DOT Number Important?

A DOT number’s main purpose is to protect the mover from any type of fraud that could occur during the moving process. It’s a straightforward, easy way to research the moving company you’re considering hiring and find their safety records and complaint history.

Some moving companies that are either scams or have poor customer histories will try to create a fake DOT number. You can easily avoid this by checking their USDOT number with the FMCSA.

How to Avoid Fake DOT Numbers

If you’re worried about a moving company using a fake DOT number, here are a few tips to help you make sure the moving company is indeed not a fraud.

  • USDOT Number: If the moving company’s website does not display its DOT number, you can search for the company’s name through the FMCSA website. It should raise a major red flag if this number is not displayed on the moving company’s website.
  • State Carrier ID Number: If you don’t see the DOT number directly on the moving company’s website, you should look for the state carrier ID number as well. If that’s missing, the company is likely a fraud, and it’s best to take your business elsewhere.
  • The Moving Company’s Operating Status: When you look up a moving company’s DOT number, it should read “ACTIVE.” This means that it is a legitimate and reputable moving company. If you see any of the following status messages, You should avoid working with that company at all costs.

Checking A Moving Company’s Safety Rating

Once you’ve found the DOT number and searched it on the FMCSA’s website, you can check the safety rating of the moving company you’re researching. All you need to do is click the hyperlink that says “Safety Rating” and one of three safety ratings will pop up.

  • Satisfactory: This is the highest safety rating possible for a moving company to receive, and it shows that the company complies with USDOT regulations and safety requirements given by the FMCSA.
  • Conditional: This rating is given to moving companies that fall out of compliance with one or more USDOT regulations or FMCSA safety requirements.
  • Unsatisfactory: This is the lowest safety rating a moving company can receive. We strongly recommend avoiding business with moving companies that have this rating, as something bad is almost guaranteed to happen. This rating means the company is completely out of compliance with USDOT regulations and FMCSA safety requirements.

Your Research Will Pay Off

Although doing extensive background research like this can be a massive headache, by doing things like researching your moving company’s DOT number, you’ll have a better understanding of whether or not you should work with that moving company.

The more research you do when hiring a moving company, the better your chances of having a seamless, easy, and smooth move!