What is an OD Permit Coordinator and What Does One Do in the Trucking Industry?

Two permit coordinators at table

The transportation industry is home to a laundry list of job titles. Some of the jobs in this realm are probably familiar to you. Roles like “Bill and Pay Specialist,” “Java Developer” and “Customer Service Representative” exist in many industries and perform similar functions within them. 

On the other hand, there are also some transportation-industry careers that appear to be a bit more foreign at first glance. Positions such as “Driver Manager,” “Safety Manager” and “Pilot Car Coordinator” are more specific to the transportation industry. 

In turn, these specialized job titles make it difficult for transportation “newbies” (like yourself) to find their fit within this industry. If you’re considering a career in the transportation world (there are definitely some upsides to working here), you need to understand all of your options. Confusion isn’t your friend when making a career decision; it’s important your choice is well-informed and educated with so much on the line for you and your family. 

Here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), our corporate recruiting teams are constantly educating job candidates so they feel comfortable with the role they choose within our ranks and the transportation community (here’s a quiz we put together to help you find yours). 

At the end of the day, though, it’s up to you to decide which position(s) and career path(s) to pursue — let’s make sure you understand each of your options. 

OD permit coordinators make a measurable impact on each company’s drivers, internal stakeholders and customers every day. As the party responsible for processing and obtaining permits for their business OD permit coordinators play a vital role in the movement of oversize/overweight freight across our nation and the world. 

To help you decide whether being an OD permit coordinator would fit your goals, values and lifestyle, this article will outline the following:

At its conclusion, you’ll walk away from this article with a better understanding of what it means to be a permit coordinator, including the highs, lows and everything in between. 

What is an OD Permit Coordinator?

An OD permit coordinator, also commonly called “permit coordinator” or “PC,” is responsible for ensuring the quality, safety and profitable movement of a carrier’s oversize/overweight (OSOW) freight shipping services. To do so, permit coordinators are charged with the efficient and effective coordination of permit acquisition by considering a shipment’s route and the legal regulations affecting it. 

Permit coordinators fall under a trucking company’s operations wing and typically report to the OD permit manager. These individuals work closely with other departments such as customer service, planning, projects, routing and driver management.  

Transportation Industry Job Match Quiz

What are the Duties of an OD Permit Coordinator?

Permit coordinators play an important role within their company’s specialized flatbed and/or heavy haul divisions. Primarily, these individuals help their company remain compliant and efficient when hauling oversized freight like equipment, machinery, materials and products. 

While permit coordinators are relied on to perform a lot of functions, the primary duties and responsibilities associated with these positions are:

  • Routing and ordering permits for OD shipments
  • Computing overall loaded dimensions
  • Coordinating additional requirements for the move (Highway Patrol, utility companies, support documentation)
  • Communicating with driver managers and truck drivers to provide any and all special instructions for the transportation of OD loads 
  • Maintaining and updating all OSOW permit-specific department resources 
  • Serving as a liaison between driver managers, permit services (where applicable), state agencies, customer service representatives and projects teams to answer questions, resolve problems and obtain permits. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list. However, as a permit coordinator, you’re expected to be the OD permitting expert at your company. In this role, you’ll be tasked with a lot of things — including those listed above. 

At the end of the day, the transportation industry is incredibly complex and fast-paced. As such, your day-to-day activities as a permit coordinator may change based on business needs. 

OD permit coordinators talking to each other

What Education and Experience do OD Permit Coordinators Need?

By and large, permit coordinators aren’t required to have a certain level of education. Although a degree is nice, typically all you’ll need is a high-school diploma, a drive for personal success and organization skills. It’s also best if you’re open to expecting the unexpected throughout the day. 

Transportation experience is not required for this role, That said, usually, people with some kind of service, hospitality or administrative business background do well as permit coordinators.

Related Content: What Career Backgrounds Have Perfect Skills for the Logistics Industry?

What’s Great About Being an OD Permit Coordinator?

Being a permit coordinator can be a really rewarding position. After a while in this role, you develop a really well-rounded understanding of the trucking industry as you work alongside many arms of your company. For this reason, starting as a permit coordinator can set you up for long-term success in the logistics field.

Additionally, permits are a non-negotiable aspect of the OD freight shipping process. And, since permit rules and regulations are constantly evolving and changing, those responsible for staying on top of them are incredibly valuable to their organization. 

Permit coordinators are considered to be their company’s internal experts for all things freight permitting which is an exciting and rewarding role to fill. Finally, as a permit coordinator, you’ll establish relationships with all kinds of people, from sales and marketing staff to planners, operations employees, truck drivers and more. 

What’s Challenging About Being an OD Permit Coordinator?

Every job has its challenges and being a permit coordinator isn’t an exception. Like other jobs, there are some difficult aspects of being a permit coordinator. Most namely, in this role you’re constantly learning and adjusting to changes in state, county and municipality permit laws. At times, this part of the job can feel endless, making it difficult to feel confident in your knowledge level of the job. 

Another, and perhaps more pronounced, challenge of this job is the role permit coordinators sometimes have to fill within their company. You see, since permit laws are so dynamic from one location to another and change without notice, as the in-house expert it's often up to the coordinator to deliver undesirable news about movement timelines (regarding route changes, permitting issues, etc.) to internal stakeholders. 

While this isn’t an everyday occurrence, it can be challenging and is certainly worth noting should you decide to pursue this role. 

How Much Does an OD Permit Coordinator Make?

The permit coordinator position is a non-exempt hourly role that pays between $18-$22+ per hour. In a forty-hour week, expect to garner at least $720 before taxes or $2,880 per month. This job is eligible for overtime pay at 1.5 times the normal pay rate.  

Permit coordinator explaining restrictions to colleague

Who is This Job a Good Fit For?

Being a permit coordinator is a great fit for all kinds of people. Over the years, we’ve hired individuals with experience in management, retail, customer service and hospitality. There really isn’t a background that disqualifies you from this role. 

In the end, as long as you’re eager to constantly learn something new, have great attention to detail skills, work well in a fast-paced environment and understand how to collaborate with all kinds of people, you’ll do well in this position. 

Additionally, consider this position if you’re looking for an entry door into the transportation realm — it presents a great way to learn this industry’s many complexities.

Who is This Job Not a Good Fit For?

Permit coordinators function as an important support role for many groups and should have strong analytical, organizational and interpersonal skills. This helps them execute their job functions at the highest level as they pursue, stay up to date on and communicate permitting rules and regulations. Additionally, as a central cog in their company’s ability to ship OSOW freight, coordinators need to be organized and knowledgeable on key job functions. 

So, if you’re not interested in putting in the time to learn the ins and outs of the permitting process (with plenty of on-the-job support, of course) this might not be the role for you. Also, if you prefer to spend most of your day working alone, you may want to look elsewhere — there is a lot of collaboration in this role.    

Looking for an Entry-Level Job in Transportation? Here Are 8 More!

There are several upsides to starting your transportation career as a permit coordinator. Not only does this job offer great work/life balance and a new challenge every day but it’s also a great avenue for learning the intricacies of trucking. On the other hand, before you accept this job make sure you’re okay with having to deliver “bad” news sometimes, that’s a challenging part of the position. 

Here is a link to the permit coordinator job description if you’d like to learn more about this position at ATS. 

However, if you’ve decided this job isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, don’t worry! There are plenty of other entry-level positions you can look into. Here is an article breaking down Eight Entry-Level Transportation Industry Jobs (That Aren’t Truck Driving) + Their Career Paths

Finally, if you have any questions about working in the transportation industry, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here. We have a recruiter standing by ready to help you find your place within this rapidly-growing industry.

Joanna Jungels

Written by Joanna Jungels

Joanna Jungels began her career with ATS in 2005 as a Fleet Manager. Soon after, she was promoted to oversee and enhance a growing OS/OW permitting team which created a system to retain and output rules and requirements for both state and local entities. Today, Joanna regularly attends state transportation meetings, and currently serves as chair of the Permit Policy Committee at the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, where she advocates for, and promotes the importance of, creating useful resources to better understand and increase awareness around the complexities of oversized freight. In her role at ATS, Joanna enjoys working with others to brainstorm, solve problems and learn new things while continually striving to improve the processes and resources available to ATS' customers.

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