How to Become a Car Dealer in California

Wondering how to become a car dealer in the state of California? Look no further, here's what you need to know!


  1. Image titled Relax Before Singing on Stage Step 1
    Contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and sign up for their six-hour preparation class.
  2. Image titled Succeed in an Advanced Placement Course Step 2
    Take the class, study hard and pass a 40-question test.
  3. Image titled Select a Property Tax Attorney Step 10
    Submit an application and a bond, then submit photos and pass an on-site inspection.
  4. Image titled Get Into Columbia University Step 4
    Make sure that the location you choose for your new business is zoned properly and/or will be an acceptable location for a retail dealership. The DMV inspector will review your application and either approve or reject the temporary license.
  5. Image titled Find a Great Auction to Buy Items for Resale Step 6
    Prepare for the DMV approval from the inspector. You must produce 11 photos:
    • The building, the outside sign, the display area, the office, a copy of the business license, a copy of the resale permit, the telephone, inside signs, a locked cabinet, the company checkbook and a DMV dealer book
  6. Image titled Apply for a Hardship Loan Step 3
    Also submit: zoning approval letter, OL902 certificate of class completion, TSM888 business license, resale permit, fictitious name statement, telephone listing, Livescan fingerprint card, personal history questionnaire, completed DMV dealer application, bond in the name of the owner/dealership.
  7. Image titled Find a Great Auction to Buy Items for Resale Step 4
    Wait for the DMV to make a decision. Temporary licenses can be granted within 30 days, permanent licenses can be granted within 120 days.


  • Often the largest struggle for those attempting to start a retail dealership is the zoning for the local city or county to allow a dealership at the chosen location. Rarely do wholesale dealerships struggle getting proper zoning permission from the government.

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Categories: Buying & Forming a Business