Whether you’re a trucking company or a shipper, ensuring a successful oversized/overweight (OSOW) shipment can be tricky. Every state, county and municipality across the U.S. and Canada sets rules and regulations for the over-dimensional cargo moving through them.
This includes daylight travel curfews (limiting the hours OSOW loads can move) and various other load restrictions enacted around holidays, peak travel hours and every spring in northern states.
Keeping these things straight isn’t easy — especially if you’re moving OSOW cargo for the first time or through an area you’re unfamiliar with. OSOW regulations are designed to keep everyone safe, so it’s important to follow them.
The size and weight thresholds at which permits are required for non-divisible shipment also change from one location to another. Remaining compliant with these laws can be challenging if you don’t know which permitting thresholds kick in and where.
Your company and customers don’t have time to waste, fuddling through the permitting process for your shipment and route. You have a job to do and a deadline to meet and, while you’re really good at moving OSOW cargo, you don’t have every location’s permitting requirements memorized.
That’s why you’ve decided to work with a permit company. These businesses work with local and state permitting offices every day, allowing them to expeditiously secure the permits you need at the time you need them.
But which company should you work with? And, perhaps most importantly, what should you think about when choosing a permit company?
Here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), we understand the predicament you’re in; getting your truck permitted can feel overwhelming without an in-house permit expert on staff. That said, there are a lot of great permitting service providers in the U.S. that are more than capable of helping you secure permits quickly.
Use this article as a resource for locating and selecting a great permit company. Below you’ll receive three things:
- An overview of what an OSOW permit company is and what they do
- A list of 6 great OSOW permit companies to consider
- 3 tips for choosing an OSOW permit company
What is an OSOW Permit Company?
A permit company is a business dedicated to providing OSOW freight permits to trucking companies and/or shippers at a price. These companies essentially operate as a broker between each state’s, county’s and/or municipality’s (where applicable) permitting office and the party in need of OSOW permits.
Since these companies have a firm understanding of each route’s permitting requirements and every jurisdiction's permit-acquisition process, expediting permit acquisition is their main value proposition.
6 OSOW Permit Companies to Consider Using
- Central Permits, Inc.
- Coast 2 Coast Trucking Permits
- Keller Permit Service
- Permit America
- WCS Permits
- West Chester Permit
Note: These companies are organized alphabetically.
Central Permits, Inc.
Central Permits is an oversize load permitting company with the stated goal of “making your company as efficient and profitable as possible.” On its website, Central Permits has a map listing comprehensive state-by-state size restrictions and permitting rules. If you’re interested in working with Central Permits, you’ll need to fill out and submit a new customer packet here.
Headquarters*: Litchfield, MN
Year Founded*: Unknown, more than 50 years ago
Service Areas*: The entire U.S., most thruways, most Canadian Provinces
Contact Information*: Central Permits can be contacted via email here, via phone at 877-246-8571 and via fax at 320-693-8180.
Google Reviews Score: 3/5 | Read the reviews
*According to Central Permits’ website
Coast 2 Coast Trucking Permits, LLC
Coast 2 Coast Trucking Permits takes pride in helping companies secure permits for shipments of all sizes, weights and types, regardless of their destinations within the U.S. and Canada. Coast 2 Coast specializes in providing permitting services for oversize shipments, overweight shipments and superloads, making them a great option for freight of all sizes. On their website, you’ll find comprehensive resources listing the permitting requirements and OSOW travel restrictions/rules for every state in the U.S. and province and Canada as well as answers to the most frequently asked questions they receive — these might be answers you’re looking for too.
Headquarters*: Knoxville, TN
Year Founded**: 2012
Service Areas*: U.S., Canada
Contact Information*: Coast 2 Coast Trucking Permits can be contacted online here and over the phone at 888-963-0830.
Google Review Score: 4.9/5 | Read the reviews
*According to Coast 2 Coast Trucking Permits’ website
**According to the Better Business Bureau
Keller Permit Service
Keller Permit Service is a Wisconsin-based permit company that provides special, oversize, fuel and specialty permits to companies. Keller takes pride in connecting their customers with the permits they need within hours. Like, other permitting services, on Keller’s website you’ll find an FAQs section and multiple ways to order permits including online and over the phone.
Headquarters*: Neenah, Wisconsin
Year Founded*: 1953
Service Areas*: U.S. and Canada
Contact Information*: Keller Permit Service can be contacted via phone at 800-231-5266, over email, via fax at 866-440-6358 and on their website.
Google Reviews Score: 2.5/5 | Read the reviews
*According to Keller Permit Service’s website
Permit America, Inc.
Permit America offers oversize/overweight permitting services for shipments traveling across the U.S. and throughout Canada. Using their “state-of-the-art resources,” Permit America takes pride in connecting each business with the OSOW permits they need in a timely manner. Unlike some of the others on this list, Permit America offers a customer portal as well as a mobile application “PermitMe” for both Android and iOS devices.
Headquarters*: Frankfort, Kentucky
Year Founded**: 2001
Service Areas*: U.S., Canada
Contact Information*: Permit America can be contacted online, via email or by phone at 866-573-7648.
Google Reviews Score: 3.3/5 | Read the reviews
*According to Permit America’s website
WCS Permits offers logistics consulting, OSOW permitting, superload permitting and pilot car services to companies across the U.S. and Canada. On its website, WCS Permits offers various permitting resources for companies to use to inform their freight travel decisions. WCS Permits also has the Permit Portal mobile app available on the Google Play Store and for iOS systems.
Headquarters*: Los Angeles, California
Year Founded*: 1998
Service Areas*: U.S. and Canada
Contact Information*: Contact WCS Permits via email, over the phone by calling 888-737-6483 or online here
Google Reviews Score: 5/5 | Read the reviews
*According to WCS Permits’ website
West Chester Permit
West Chester Permit is a transportation permit provider based out of Butler County in Ohio. West Chester provides a variety of permit services including trip permitting, fuel permitting as well as OSOW and superload permitting at the state, county and city levels. For online ordering purposes, West Chester has a permit-ordering portal called “Atlas” which is designed to make this process hassle-free.
Headquarters*: Cincinnati, Ohio
Year Founded: Unknown
Service Areas*: U.S., Canada
Contact Information*: West Chester Permit can be reached online here, via email, over the phone at 800-734-3544 or by fax at 513-755-5790.
Google Reviews Score: 4.7/5 | Read the reviews
*According to West Chester Permits’ website
3 Tips For Choosing a Great Permit Company
While this list is a great starting point, you shouldn’t choose one of these companies just because it's listed. Instead, it’s important to do some research before contacting a permit company. This will help you verify whether its service strengths, areas and proficiencies align with your needs.
Sure, this will take a bit of work on the front end but working with a competent permit company — that can advise you throughout the OSOW movement process — pays dividends over time.
Although it can be challenging to separate the best permitting company (for you) from the field, here are three things to consider:
- The permit company’s history and experience permitting your size of freight
- The permit company’s overall knowledge of state, county and city permitting processes
- The permit company’s user reviews and association involvement
1) The Permit Company’s History and Experience Permitting Your Size of Freight
The transportation industry is vast and the freight moved within it can vary greatly in size, weight and dimension. As a result, most permit companies have areas of strength they stick to, offering services for loads of some sizes but not for others.
For example, offering permits and escorts for a “superload” moving through California might be out of a permit company’s domain if it only has experience permitting freight up to a certain dimension in California. These are insights you should seek when choosing a permit company.
In most instances, permit companies won’t come right out and state where they’re inexperienced. You probably won’t find this on their websites. Instead, make sure to ask questions of your permitting provider before offering them your business.
Introduce them to your cargo’s dimension/size and anticipated route and ask about their comfort level in securing the proper permits. Have they done anything similar before? Would they recommend an alternative route for money-saving purposes? What travel restrictions will impact your journey?
The way a permit company answers questions like these should give you insight as to whether permitting your shipment is a run-of-the-mill request or something more challenging.
2) The Permit Company’s Overall Knowledge of State, County and City Permitting Processes
Shipping OSOW freight is a process full of complex rules and regulations to follow. These rules and regulations often change from one state, county and city to the next. Without doing this every day, it’s practically impossible to fully understand which laws exist in every location.
This is why it’s so valuable to work with a permit company that knows what they’re doing and has existing relationships with the permit offices in the locations you’re looking to move through. That said, not every permit company has experience moving cargo everywhere.
As such, make sure that the permit company you utilize has permitted freight — with a similar size and route — before. You’ll also want to verify they understand the OSOW regulations in every state and municipality along your route. Most of this information can be found on a permit company’s website in the form of state-by-state law breakdowns. However, it may be worth jumping on a call or sending an email inquiring about their experience permitting cargo through your route’s major locations.
3) The Permit Company’s User Reviews and Association Involvement
The OSOW permitting industry, although relatively niche, is an important segment of global commerce. As a result, permit companies have the opportunity to join transportation industry associations to bolster their knowledge of key topics, network with the best in the business and refine their industry standing.
As you’re searching for a permitting company to work with, this is something to keep in mind. Look for a company that’s involved in industry groups like the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) — this is a telltale sign of their commitment to providing industry-leading service.
Additionally, as you research permit providers, pay attention to the review previous customers have left. This should extend beyond the testimonials listed on their website; consider looking at their Google reviews as well.
Keep Your OSOW Freight Move Rolling Along!
Should you decide to try out any of the companies listed here, you probably won’t be disappointed; they’ve all done great work for companies like yours in the past.
That said, there are plenty of other options out there so don’t hesitate to do your own research. At the end of the day, your OSOW freight shipment’s journey hinges on your ability to acquire permits in a timely manner — find a great company by keeping their history, experience, user reviews, areas of strength and industry association involvement in mind.