In the state of California, anyone that is in the business of washing or polishing cars is required to be registered. “Car washing and polishing” includes washing, cleaning, drying, polishing, detailing, servicing, or otherwise providing cosmetic care to vehicles. It does not include vehicle repair.
For details on who needs to get a California Car Wash License, view the California Car Wash Requirements.
Before starting the process, brush up on important information and instructions for new and renewal applicants.
How to get a California Car Wash License
Step #1: Complete Application
The California Car Wash and Polishing Registration Application can be found either:
- By downloading the following and submitting via mail:
- Request an application to be mailed to you. Call the Car Washing and Polishing Registration Unit at 510-285-3502
Step #2: Purchase a California Car Wash Bond in the amount of $150,000
A California Car Wash Bond is a way to guarantee that a car wash company will compensate its workers fairly and follow the local rules and regulations that deal with employment, especially those dealing with minors and aliens.
If you fail to follow local rules or fail to compensate your employees, someone can make a claim against your bond.
How Much Does a California Car Wash Bond Cost?
You do not need to pay the full bond amount to get bonded.
Depending on your credit, you will pay anywhere from 1-15% of the total bond amount ($1,500 – $22,500)
The best way to see what you’d pay for a bond is to get a free quote.
Step #3: Complete Other Paperwork
- Provide proof of workers compensation insurance. (Specifics can be found here.)
- Provide proof of compliance with local government business licensing requirements
- Proof of Tax Filing and Payment Form
- Pay $300 registration fee for each location
Full list of documentation is available on Page 4 of the California Car Wash Requirements.
Step #4: Submit
Send completed paperwork to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement at the following address:
Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
Licensing and Registration Unit
1515 Clay Street, Suite 401
Oakland, CA 94612
Allow up to 45 days to process your application. The Labor Commissioner‘s Office will notify you of your
If you have questions or concerns regarding your Car Washing and Polishing Registration,
contact the CA Dept of Industrial Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org