garage offices are no longer allowed for home based car dealer licenses

DMV Zoning Approval

All dealer license applicants must select the type of dealership. That selection will determine the requirements for local zoning approval. Zoning approval is delivered in writing to the DMV using:

DMV OL-902 Property Use Verification Form

Wholesale Only dealerships may be home based with separate entrance requirements met. The DMV inspector must be able to walk from the street to your office without passing thru personal living space. Garage offices are NOT allowed. Your location will be inspected.

Retail Dealers must have a unique and separate address from any other dealership. Mixed use with another business is allowed with separate office space and clearly marked signage and parking.

AutoBrokers are required to have a sign and a commercial location but no parking is required.

Some locations require a conditional use permit for approval.

Call Sony Duong for conditional use permit assistance, 714-677-0843


DMV Car Dealer Surety Bond

All dealer license applicants must select the type of dealership which then must have the appropriate bond. The bond is a pot of gold to protect the government and allows a payout when the dealer fails to post DMV fees, when the dealer fails to post sales tax or when the dealer fails to honor a judgement, a judge’s order. The most common method to post a bond is to rent the money and pay an annual fee. Some dealers are required to post a cash deposit or have a co-signer.

If you must post an all cash bond the DMV holds your cash for three years beyond the dealership closure. Your collective dealership credit sets the price of the annual bond fee.

Each bond has a twelve month life and a three year period to make claim upon the bond.

All dealer license applicants must select the type of surety bond they wish to post.

The choices are:

Wholesale Only

Wholesale dealers selling 24 units per year or less require a $ 10k bond.

Wholesale dealers selling 25 units or more per year require a $ 50k bond.


All retail dealers, except motorcycles require a $ 50k bond.

AutoBroker Endorsement

Any dealer, wholesale or retail, with a $50k bond, may choose to become a broker.

These TriStar instructors offer dealer surety bond assistance for an additional fee:

Sony Duong, English, Vietnamese and Chinese, 714-677-0843

Mike Ramos, English and Spanish, 714-797-5780

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