I was always led to believe that IRP renewals had to be channeled through a third party agency here in California. So for several years I did what most do and ponied up to a service processor a great deal of money for the convenience of being able to pay in person and get renewal tags over-the-counter, all in one seamless same-day transaction. Always one to analyze costs though, I began to question just how much I was paying for what seemed to be an easy task of calculating and submitting IFTA miles that I already file for all our trucks myself. Thank goodness for the correct answers being as easy as a quick phone call one day to the California Department of Motor Vehicles Registration Operations Division.
I am sure that this may differ from state to state, but the fact that I was led to believe there was no other way than to go through a process agency just seemed unfair and sort of monopolistic in a way. With most of these agencies charging anywhere from $150-$250 per truck for IRP renewals, it just didn’t seem possible for that to be the only way to annually renew registration on our trucks. With a quick 5-minute call to the DMV in Sacramento, I found out that renewal was easy and convenient with just a few printable forms that could be found online and basic IFTA state mileages that we already keep in the office on file. The state DMV even provides a free estimate calculator online to get a fairly accurate representation of what renewal fees will be.
After the forms were filled out online, printed and signed, I mailed them to the address provided on the forms for processing. After being received by the DMV, my renewal fees were calculated the next day and I was immediately sent an email containing a breakdown of my current renewal fees, an invoice for total fees, and instructions for payment. If you are in a crunch for time, for my procrastinators out there, you have the option to overnight documents and/or payments to a separate physical address for DMV IRP renewals, but if you plan ahead the standard P.O. Box address for DMV works just fine as well and can save you some overnighting fees. I was instructed to allow up to a 5-day processing time from when they receive payment to when they send out the renewal tags.
When I look at the amount of service fees I have saved over the years by doing most of my regulatory functions on my own, it makes good business sense to be able to save money on something as simple as renewing my own IRP registrations. The only upside to paying those fees each year was the convenience of in-person payment and getting tags in hand instantly, but planning ahead as I like to do, this makes little to no sense when weighted against the hefty service charges for this added convenience. Being that IRP here in California cannot be done over-the-counter at a DMV field office, this is truly something you have to plan a month ahead of time to take care of, but will be worth it for your bottom line in the long run! Being the last regulatory renewal we were outsourcing annually, it is nice to know we not only have more control by now keeping it in-house like we do for other things such as IFTA, UCR and HVUT, but that we will be saving money by doing so as well. Check out your state requirements for IRP cab-card registration renewal as well and see if a D.I.Y. IRP might benefit you as well!