If you are an owner-operator or a fleet owner, chances are you have two dozen things on your mind at any given time, but to make sure you are in compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration quickly, look up the last two digits of your USDOT number.
If the last digit represented the numbered month in the year (with 0 being the tenth, October), and the second-to-last digit represented an odd-numbered or even-numbered year, that would be the due date for your business to send in MCS-150. For example, “40” would correspond to October 2022, 2024, and so forth. If your number reads something like “12”, however, you may be out of compliance and subject to penalties if you have not sent one in.
There are thirty-one data points to enter into MCS-150, but if you are adequately prepared it should take about ten minutes. You can read about the form on the FMCSA webpage, but though we are not lawyers, we thought we could provide some pointers on filling it out.
The FMCSA suggests doing the filing online for increased speed and efficiency, but they also accept it by mail. Here are all 31 boxes and what they mean.
- Legal Business Name. Either your legal name, or if a corporation, the name on the incorporation certificate, including the type of corporation such as “Inc.” or “LLC”.
- Doing Business As. If the company’s name is a perfect match to the legal name, leave this blank. If not, such as “Git-R-Done Logistics”, enter that here.
3-6. Physical address. The office or warehouse where property and records are stored.
- Colonia. If your business’ physical address is not in Mexico, skip this step. Otherwise, you will need to include which “Colonia” in Mexico your business is located.
8-11. Mailing address. Where you would like correspondence from the FMCSA to be sent. It could be directly to your house, but if you would prefer it to be sent to the same location as the business, check the “Same as Principal Address” box.
- Colonia. Similar to number 7, but applies to the mailing address. If you are reading this, there is a 99% chance this is to be left blank.
- Principal Business Phone Number. The phone number to call the physical address of the business. Can be a cell phone.
- Principal Contact Cell Phone Number. The cell phone number of the business. If it is the same as number 13, enter “Same.”
- Principal Business Fax Number. If you do not have a fax machine, leave this blank. If it is the same as number 13, enter “Same.”
- USDOT Number. If you are renewing your MCS-150, enter the number here. If this is your first time filling out the form, you do not yet have a USDOT number, and as such this is left blank.
- MC or MX Number. A number given to you by the FMCSA. Unlike number 16, you are expected to have this even if this is your first time filling out the form. If you have filled out this form before and this number has not changed, you can leave this blank.
- Dun & Bradstreet Number. If you have filled out this form before and this number has not changed, you can leave this blank. Otherwise, you may need to get in contact with Dun & Bradstreet to learn what your number is.
- IRS/Tax ID Number. Sole proprietors may use their social security number instead, but the FMCSA recommends you get an Employer Identification Number to enter here. If you have filled out this form before and this number has not changed, you can leave this blank.
- E-Mail Address. The main email address for the company. If you have filled out this form before and this number has not changed, you can leave this blank.
- Carrier Mileage. Total miles traveled by all Commercial Motor Vehicles owned by the company in the last 12 months, rounded to the nearest 10,000 miles.
- Company Operations. The scope of your business. Most likely, an Interstate Carrier. If you have filled out this form before and this number has not changed, you can leave this blank.
- Operation Classification. The classification of your business. Most likely, Authorized For-Hire. If you have filled out this form before and this number has not changed, you can leave this blank.
- Cargo Classifications. What you plan to haul. There is a checklist with letters corresponding to each type of cargo. You can leave this blank if you have filled out the form before, but because a lot can change in two years, it is better to be on the safe side.
- Hazardous Materials. If you do not plan to ship any such materials, leave this blank. Otherwise, fill out the corresponding letters. You can leave this blank if you have filled out the form before, but because a lot can change in two years, it is better to be on the safe side.
- Number of and Type of Vehicles Operated in the US. There should be a table for you to fill out to put the numbers for each type, as well as to whether the vehicle is owned, term leased, or trip leased. You can leave this blank if you have filled out the form before, but because a lot can change in two years, it is better to be on the safe side.
- Driver Information. The number of drivers that fit in each corresponding category provided. You can leave this blank if you have filled out the form before, but because a lot can change in two years, it is better to be on the safe side.
- Revoked USDOT Number. Filled in only if the company’s assigned USDOT number has been revoked.
- Compliance Certification. If your company is in the bus business, you must follow the relevant USDOT Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. If none of this applies to you, leave the checkbox blank.
- Names of officers. Name at least one person in charge of the company, including their title.
- Certification Statement. An individual, whose name must also be in number 30, certifies that the information provided is accurate and correct to the best of his or her knowledge. The form also requires the title of the person filling out the form and the date of the certification.
Failure to fulfill and turn in the required documentation by the end of the month due can result in fines of $1,000 per day but not exceeding $10,000. If you have a calendar program on your computer or phone, it may be worth the effort to put in a reminder to do the MCS-150 at the start of the next month when it is due for your company. We hope this guide has been helpful and maybe saves one or two of our readers from an unwelcome and easily avoidable fine!
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