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Download Working Dealer Management Software Now! Purpose The purpose of this page is to assist the prospective vehicle dealer by describing the requirements to obtain a dealer license from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

What is a Vehicle Dealer? While there are certain exceptions (defined in CVC Section 286) , in general, a "vehicle dealer" is typically a person who, on a full or part-time basis, buys, sells, trades, or arranges the purchase, sale or trade of vehicles, expecting some compensation or benefit. CVC, Section 285 Salespersons employed by licensed dealers, and persons who sell cars which they bought and used as their personal vehicles, are not dealers. CVC Section 11700 et seq., CCR Title 13, Section 255.00 et seq., 260.00 et seq., and 270.00 et seq.

If you wish to become a used vehicle dealer or wholesale only dealer you must complete a dealer education program and pass the written exam, administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles, before you complete your application. CVC, Section 11704.5

See Occupational Licensure Product List (PDF) for product types that currently require an Occupational License.

Background Investigation A background investigation is conducted on all applicants. Failure to disclose convictions or providing incorrect information on the application may result in the refusal or denial of your license. The department may refuse to issue a license to any applicant who has been convicted of a crime or committed any act or engaged in any conduct involving moral turpitude which is substantially related to the qualifications or duties of the licensed activity. A conviction based on plea of nolo contendere is a conviction within the meaning of this section. CVC Section 11703. Persons previously working under a license issued by DMV, which was revoked or suspended for cause may also be denied a license. In addition, the California Code of Regulations (CCR) and additional sections of the California Vehicle Code provides guidelines used by the department in determining whether a license should be issued. CCR, Title 13, Chapter 1.

In order to proceed with the licensing process, applicants with convictions are required to obtain certified copies of the arresting agencies' reports and the final court disposition documents. An abbreviated application may be submitted to determine your eligibility for a license.

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Requirements For A Vehicle Dealer's License Requirements For A Vehicle Dealer's License

CVC Section 11700 et seq.

Exemption to Vehicle Dealer's Licenses A dealer who does not have an established place of business in this state but who is currently authorized to do business as, and who has an established place of business as a vehicle dealer in another state is not subject to licensure under this article if the business transacted in California is limited to the importation of vehicles for sale to, or the export of vehicles purchased from, persons licensed in California under CVC Section 11700 et seq., and CVC Section 11700.1.

Click on the following links for the fees, forms and additional information related to the Vehicle Dealer License

Vehicle Dealer Handbook (PDF) Autobroker's Endorsement Dealer License exclusions Licensed dealer application fees Licensed dealer application forms Licensed dealer renewal fees Fees to change an existing vehicle dealer license Form(s) to change an existing dealer license Frequently Asked Questions Licensing Authority Guide for Licensed Vehicle Dealers and Lessor-Retailers (PDF) Back to Top of Page

Place of Business Inspection After you have arranged an appointment with an Occupational Licensing Inspector he or she will inspect the place of business where the dealer conducts business.

The office of the principal place of business and each location of the dealership must be established to the extent that its construction is not temporary, transitory, or mobile in nature, except that a trailer coach office is acceptable providing it is not part of the dealer's vehicle inventory being offered for or subject to sale while being used as an office of the dealership and otherwise meets the requirements of the Vehicle Code. The place of business is a place actually occupied either continuously or at regular periods by the dealer. Section 320, CVC .

Inspect all books and records pertinent to the business. CVC Section 320 (a), CVC Section 1670, and CVC Section 1671 and CCR Title 13, Section 270.00, 270.02, 270.04 and 272.00 Inspection of Display Area (not required if wholesale only). After you have arranged an appointment with an Occupational Licensing Inspector he or she will inspect the display area to ensure: The display area of the principal place of business shall be of sufficient size to physically accommodate vehicles of a type for which the dealership is licensed to sell. The display area must be clearly for the exclusive use of the dealer for display purposes only. Additional display areas are permitted within a radius of 1,000 feet from the principal place of business and any licensed branch location without being subject to separate licensing. However, such display areas must also meet the signing requirement as identified in Vehicle Code Section 11709 (a).Title 13, Section 270.08, 270.08 (a) and 270.08 (b) Inspection of Signs (not required if Wholesale Only Dealer). After you have arranged an appointment with an Occupational Licensing Inspector he or she will inspect the sign(s) to ensure: Signs must be of a permanent nature, erected on the exterior of the office or on the display area, and be constructed or painted and maintained so as to withstand reasonable climatic effects and be readable as provided for in CVC Section 11709. CCR, Title 13, Section 270.06

A temporary sign or device may suffice when a permanent sign is on order. Evidence of such order shall be submitted to the Department prior to issuance of a temporary permit or license. CVC Section 11709(a)

Other Permits and Licenses Copies of the following permits and/or licenses from other agencies must be submitted with your application:

Board of Equalization Resale Permit All licensees selling vehicles or vessels are required to file an application for a Sellerís Permit. The purpose of the permit is to enable the licensee to collect taxes on sales. There is no fee for the permit, but a deposit may be required. Applications can be made through your local Board of Equalization offices. A copy of this permit is required as part of the application for a dealers license.

City and/or County Business License Licensees are required to obtain a city or county business license by the city or county licensing section in the area where the licensee is doing business. The city or county will issue a tax certificate based on gross receipts for a twelve-month projection. A fee is required, based on the pre-reported gross receipts. Contact your local city or county to obtain the business license. A copy of this permit is required as part of the application for a dealers license.

Secretary of State's Office If licensed as a Corporation, Limited Liability, or Limited Liability Partnership a copy of the Articles of Incorporation, Corporate Minutes or other document filed with the Secretary of State, which identifies the officers, share holder and managers with 10% or more interest in the business is required.

The following permits and/or licenses MAY be required by other agencies. Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Automotive Repair Dealers who will be providing automobile servicing and repair are required to file an application with their local Bureau of Automotive Repair office. The application process takes approximately six to eight weeks and includes a fee.

Bureau of Security and Investigative Service, Repossession Agency Pursuant to the Business and Professions Code, Section 7502, no person shall engage within this state in the activities of a repossession agency as defined in Sections 7500.1 and 7500.2 unless the person holds a valid repossession agency license or is exempt from licensure pursuant to Section 7500.2 or 7500.3.

Bureau of Security and Investigative Services 2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 270 Sacramento, CA 95834 (916) 322-4000 Fax (916) 575-7290


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