Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Cars Can I Sell A Year Without A Dealer License?

Good question. We find in teaching class most people think they can sell 3-5 cars a year without being licensed by California DMV. While in many states this is true, however, in California the answer is ZERO. Anyone who buys and sells vehicles for profit must hold a dealer license to stay within the limits of the law. Anyone convicted of Unlicensed Dealer Activity will be charged with a misdemeanor crime.

What is my first step in obtaining a Vehicle Dealer License?

Take your Vehicle Dealer Training class. California DMV requires certain instructional materials governing the Laws and Regulations for a Vehicle Dealer. Education and knowledge makes it clear for the necessary steps in a successful career as a Vehicle Dealer, making this your first step gives you that edge. We teach you how to obtain your license and stay in compliance with the law. Assistance with your dealer application is extended to anyone who needs help. Deluxe Dealer Packages are also available – Please ask Instructor for details.

Are Pre-Licensing Classes available online?

The answer is no, there is no Pre-Licensing Class available as of yet by DMV. Your first class must be a face to face, hands on class only. Don't be misled by wrong information, or by educational institutions just wanting to string you along to get your business.

How Long Is The Class And Who Must Attend?

Each student who receives a completion certificate must attend a 6 hour seminar. Every applicant who is part of the ownership structure is required to provide evidence of successfully completing an educational program, and must continuously be part of the ownership structure.

What Do I Need To Bring To Class With Me?

You need to bring your Valid California Driver License or ID. However if you are new to California and haven't obtained your California Driver License or ID, an Out of State Driver License is acceptable for class, or a Passport. Be aware however, to take the DMV test you MUST have your California Driver License or ID in hand, not just the temporary paper you receive at the time of your application.

How Many Questions Are On The DMV Test – What Is A Passing Score?

The DMV Test has 40 multiple choice questions. To pass the test, you must get a minimum of 28 answers correct.

What If I Don't Pass The DMV Test?

With our teaching techniques our students are successful on the first DMV Test. Each student who receives a certificate receives a class instruction manual for future reference. However, we do prefer that you study the materials provided in class just prior to taking your test to ensure a successful score. The best approach is to take your test as soon as possible so the information provided is fresh in your memory. However, if circumstances happen that you are unable to successfully pass the DMV Test, you are more than welcome to come back to class for a "refresher" course at No Additional Cost. You must wait one week in between each DMV test and pay a supplemental $16.00 per test. We don't experience this problem often.

How Long Is The Completion Certificate Good For?

The Certificate of Completion is good for one year from the date of issuance, which you will receive upon successful completion of the class – we don't mail it to you! You are fully prepared to take your exam the next DMV business day.

Are Continuing Education Classes Required?

On-Line or Home Study classes are available for current retail dealers or wholesale dealers who sell more than 49 vehicles per years. The Continued Education class required instructional time is 4 hours. We are happy to be a continued support for all Vehicle Dealers. Face to Face classes are also available for your 4 hour Continued Education if necessary.

Do I Need To Obtain A Salesperson License Before I Get a Dealer License?

No. The Owner of a Dealership is not required to have a Salesperson License, nor do you need to have prior employment history as a Salesperson. If you would like to work for another dealership, then a Salesperson License would be required.

What Type of Dealer Licenses Are Available (exclusions are defined - California Vehicle Code 286)?

Used Auto-Commercial: Sell used automobiles and trucks to the public and licensed vehicle dealers.

Dealer-Wholesale: Sell to licensed vehicle dealers only.

Auto Broker: Provide the service of arranging, negotiating, assisting, or effectuating, for a fee or compensation, the purchase of a new or used vehicle, not owned by the dealer, for a person(s).

Can I Work Out Of My Home?

Retail Car Dealer: Not likely. Your location consists of an Office, Sign and Display area. The City most likely will not allow this type of business in a residential zoned area.

Wholesale Car Dealer: Most likely the answer will be yes, this depends on the city you will be working in. A Wholesale Car Dealer location consists of an office, there is no sign or display area required. A garage set up as an office will comply.

Auto Broker: Not likely as well. Your location consists of an Office and Sign. Again, the city most likely will not allow this type of business in a residentially zoned area.

What Fees Are Required To Obtain A License?

$175.00 Nonrefundable original application fee.

$1.00 Family Support Program fee.

$100.00 Autobroker (plus original application fee).

$70.00 For each branch location (if applicable).

$70.00 For each dealer plate (plus county fees, if applicable). *

$72.00 For each motorcycle plate (plus county fees, if applicable). *

* This figure will vary depending on the county where your business is located.
Please note: Dealer plates are optional.

What Will Exclude Me From Getting My License?

Applicants with convictions, prior DMV actions, business bankruptcies, and/or outstanding civil judgments as it relates to the automobile industry, must file an Abbreviated Application. This procedure allows applicants the opportunity to explore their eligibility for a license. To expedite the review process, applicants with convictions may submit certified copies of the arresting agencies report and the court documents with their application.

Please take into consideration that your application fee of $175 is Non-Refundable. If the Department denies license issuance, every applicant has the right to a hearing presided by an Administrative Law Judge for consideration. Your request for a hearing must be done in a timely manner.

How Large Of A Bond Do I Need? How Do I Qualify?

A Retail Vehicle Dealer Bond is $50,000.

Wholesale Dealer Bonds – there are two choices:

  1. A Wholesale Dealer who sells less than 25 vehicles per year, the bond amount is $10,000.
  2. A Wholesale Dealer who sells more than 25 vehicles per year, the bond amount is $50,000.

Auto Broker Bond is $50,000.

The Bond Company that you choose will typically take an application and run your credit. Your credit report will factor in the cost of your bonding process.

An alternative to the Bond: DMV also has an option of a Cash Deposit in Lieu of a Bond – Please be aware that any Cash Deposit is held for 5 years from the date you go out of business, or a Superior Court Judge orders the release of the deposit.

Once An Application Is Submitted To My Inspector, How Long Before I get A License?

Once your DMV Inspector has accepted and completed their portion of the application process, they will issue a temporary license typically good for 120 days. Your temporary supplies consist of: Temporary Wall License, Temporary Dealer Plates (if ordered) and the appropriate report of sales for the type of license you applied for. This allows you to get registered at the Dealer Auctions and get started with your business. Depending on the Inspectors workload at the time you submit your application is a factor. The best person to ask how long it will take to process your application will be your Inspector – It's hard to second guess the workload they are experiencing at the time you submit your paperwork.


Thank you for taking the time to review our page. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.


Call us today at (619) 273-3966 to learn more. Classes start at only $65.00!