How to Obtain a Car Auction License in California

If you’ve ever wondered how to get dealer auction license, you’re not alone. Many individuals are drawn to the excitement and potential savings that come with buying vehicles at auctions. However, before you can participate in these events, you’ll need to obtain a car auction license. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of acquiring a car auction license California.

Understanding the Importance of a Car Auction License

Before delving into the steps to obtain a car auction license, it’s crucial to understand why it’s necessary. A car auction license allows you to participate in dealer auctions, which are not open to the general public. These auctions often feature a wide range of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and even motorcycles, at prices that can be significantly lower than those you’d find at traditional dealerships.

Meeting the Requirements

To obtain a car auction license in California, you must meet certain requirements:

1. Business Entity

You need to establish a legal business entity, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. This entity will be associated with your car auction activities.

2. Location

You must have a physical location for your car auction business. It could be a dealership or a dedicated office space, but it needs to comply with zoning regulations.

3. Business License

Obtain a general business license from your local city or county authorities. This license proves your legitimacy as a business entity.

4. Sales Tax Permit

Acquire a sales tax permit from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). This permit is necessary because you’ll be involved in selling vehicles.

5. Fingerprinting and Background Check

Both you and any partners or employees involved in the car auction business must undergo fingerprinting and a background check. This step ensures that all involved parties are of good character and meet the state’s requirements.

6. Surety Bond

You’ll need to obtain a surety bond that serves as financial protection for consumers. The bond amount varies, so check with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for specific details.

Application Process

Once you’ve met all the requirements, you can start the application process for your car auction license:

1. Complete the Application

Visit the DMV’s website and download the Car Dealer Original Application (Form OL 248). Fill out the form accurately, providing all required information about your business entity and its key personnel.

2. Pay the Fees

Submit the application along with the necessary fees, which may include the application fee, fingerprint processing fee, and any other applicable charges. The DMV will provide you with the exact fee schedule.

3. Await Approval

After submitting your application and fees, the DMV will review your documentation. This process may take some time, so be patient. They will contact you for any additional information if needed.

4. Inspection

Once your application is approved, the DMV will schedule an inspection of your business premises. Ensure that your location complies with all regulations, and be ready to address any concerns raised during the inspection.

5. Receive Your License

Upon successful inspection and verification of all requirements, you will receive your car auction license, allowing you to participate in dealer auctions in California.


Acquiring a car auction license in California is a detailed process, but with the right preparation and adherence to all requirements, it can be a rewarding venture. Now that you know the steps involved, you’re one step closer to enjoying the exciting world of buying cars at auctions. Best of luck with your car auction endeavors!

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