Car Wash License Application Checklist
For health and safety reasons, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Licensing Center and NYC Small Business Support Center cannot serve walk-ins, but you can schedule an appointment to submit your license application in person. See Application Filing Process section.
Note: As in-person service is limited, we encourage you to use our online service which is available 24/7.
Who Must Have a Car Wash License?
You must have a Car Wash license if your business cleans vehicles, including washing, detailing, drying, polishing, vacuuming, or other cosmetic care of vehicles, either at a fixed location or as part of a mobile, on-demand, or “pop-up” service.
You do not need a Car Wash license if you:
- Sell, lease, rent, or repair motor vehicles as your main service and only offer car washing as an additional service to this main service. (For example, your business is a repair shop and you wash the cars that you repair.)
- Operate a self-service facility for washing vehicles, where customers—not facility employees—clean vehicles.
- Clean vehicles on an intermittent basis to raise funds for a not-for-profit organization.
- Are a federal, state, or local governmental agency.
This description is only a general explanation of who must have a Car Wash license.
Quick List of Requirements to Apply for a Car Wash License
See Requirements section for detailed descriptions. Make sure you provide all requirements; otherwise, your application is incomplete. DCA can only consider complete applications for license issuance.
- Basic License Application
- Car Wash Self-Certification
- Sales Tax Identification Number OR Application Confirmation Number
- Copy of Surety Bond, properly signed
- Proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance (OR proof not required to maintain this coverage)
- Proof of Disability Benefits Insurance (OR proof not required to maintain this coverage)
- Proof of Commercial General Liability Insurance (with Additional Insured Endorsements)
- Proof of Unemployment Insurance
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applicable)
- License Fee
Submitting your application does not mean your license is automatically approved.
Important Message about Business Certificate
You must have the applicable Business Certificate based on your business’s legal structure. Although DCA does not require submission of your Business Certificate in order to process your application, DCA may request this document under section 20-104 of the New York City Administrative Code.
Sole proprietors operating under a name other than your own must have a Business/Assumed Name Certificate.
Partnerships must have a Partnership Certificate and, if applicable, an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.
Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Division of Corporations. You can check your status at www.dos.ny.gov/corps
DCA will deny your application if you do not submit these required documents and information:
- Basic License Application.
Online submission: After reviewing the application requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the Web page to submit your application.
In-person submission: Download the Basic License Application.
- Sales Tax Identification Number OR Application Confirmation Number.
To apply for a Certificate of Authority in order to collect sales tax, visit businessexpress.ny.gov.
- Copy of your Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond, properly signed.
The bond amount is $150,000* and must cover the licensing period. The copy of the bond must name the City of New York as the Certificate Holder. Your corporate name, Doing-Business-As (DBA) name (if any), and premises address must be exactly the same on all documents. You must also submit a copy of the bond receipt showing that the bond has been paid in full and does not expire before the end of the licensing period.
The bond amount is $30,000 IF:
- You are a party to a current collective bargaining agreement (CBA)** that provides for the timely payment of wages and a quick process for resolving disputes about nonpayment and underpayment of wages. OR
- You entered into a settlement with a state or federal government agency and are covered by an active monitoring agreement*** that:
- Requires you to pay at least the minimum wage. AND
- Subjects you to at least monthly monitoring by an independent monitor. AND
- Provides for a quick process for resolving disputes about wage violations.
**If you are a party to a current CBA:
You must submit with your license application:
- A complete copy of the current CBA AND
- ONE of the following:
- A copy of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) certification of the labor organization as the exclusive bargaining representative of the employees OR
- Documentation establishing recognition of the labor organization as the exclusive bargaining representative of the employees
***If you are covered by an active monitoring agreement:
You must submit a copy of the agreement with your license application.
Depending on your submission, DCA may request additional information.
You may obtain a surety bond from a bonding company. Download a list of bonding companies.
The bond must comply with the requirements of the Car Wash Accountability Law. As shown in DCWP's Surety Bond template, the bond must:
- Comply with the Car Wash Accountability Law and Rules (NYC Administrative Code, subchapter 33, and Title 6 of the Rules of the City of NY, subchapter HH). AND
- Be conditioned upon the satisfaction of any fine or debt owed to New York City within 30 days. AND
- Be conditioned upon the satisfaction of any judgment against you for damage to a car within 30 days. AND
- Be conditioned upon the satisfaction of any judgment owed to an employee for nonpayment or underpayment of wages within 30 days. AND
- Name the City of New York as the Obligee. AND
- Include the same corporate name, Doing-Business-As (DBA) name (if any), and premises address as your license application. AND
- Cover the licensing period.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
Provide a copy of ONE of the following documents as proof of workers’ compensation insurance:
- C-105.2: Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- U-26.3: State Insurance Fund Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Equivalent or successor form used by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board
If you are not required by law to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, you must submit form CE-200: Certificate of Attestation of Exemption. For more information, visit New York State Workers’ Compensation Board at www.wcb.ny.gov.
- Disability Benefits Insurance.
Provide a copy of ONE of the following documents as proof of disability benefits insurance:
- DB-120.1: Certificate of Insurance Coverage under the New York State Disability Benefits Law
- Equivalent or successor form used by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board
If you are not required by law to maintain disability benefits insurance, you must submit form CE-200: Certificate of Attestation of Exemption. For more information, visit New York State Workers’ Compensation Board at www.wcb.ny.gov.
- Commercial General Liability Insurance.
Your insurance policy must provide coverage that is at least as broad as the most recently issued edition of Insurance Services (ISO) Form CG 0001 and must be “occurrence” based. The Insurance Company that issues the policy must have ONE of the following ratings:
- A.M. Best rating of at least A- / “VII”
- Standard & Poor’s rating of at least A
- Moody’s Investors Service rating of at least A3
- Fitch Ratings rating of at least A-
Provide the following documents as proof of commercial general liability insurance:
- Your Certificate of Insurance must:
- Name the City of New York as the certificate holder.
- Be executed by an insurance broker or agent and list the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Number.
- Identify the insurance company that issued the insurance policy.
- Identify the policy number, limits of insurance, and expiration date.
- Include the same business name and address as all documents.
- State The City of New York is an “Additional Insured” in the description box.
- State coverage is “occurrence” based.
- Have the following minimum amounts of coverage:
- $1,000,000 per occurrence
- $2,000,000 aggregate
- Additional Insured Endorsement.
- DCA accepts the following Additional Insured Endorsements:
- ISO Form CG 20 26
- ISO Form CG 20 12
- An endorsement that provides coverage at least as broad as the most recent edition ISO Form CG 20 26 or CG 20 12
- If you are providing a Scheduled Additional Insured Endorsement that lists the additional insured name (i.e., ISO Forms CG 20 26 or CG 20 12), the endorsement must include either of the following phrases:
- “The City of New York including its officials and employees” OR
- “The City of New York together with its officials and employees”
- If you are providing a Blanket Additional Insured Endorsement, an Automatic Additional Insured Endorsement, or a provision from your insurance policy that automatically grants additional insured status to an organization that the named insured is required by contract to add as an insured, confirm that the coverage is at least as broad as the most recent edition of ISO Form CG 20 26 or CG 20 12 before you submit the form.
- Notarized Certification by Insurance Broker or Agent (download).
Your insurance broker or agent must complete the Certification.
- Unemployment Insurance.
- Provide a copy of the determination letter you received from the New York State Department of Labor when you registered for unemployment insurance
- If you have not registered your business for unemployment insurance, you can register online at www.labor.ny.gov or by calling the New York State Department of Labor at (518) 457-4179 or (833) 230-8650. You will need to have a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order to register your business for unemployment insurance. You can get an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) online at www.irs.gov/businesses or by calling the IRS at (800) 829-3676.
Important Information about Insurance Policies:
You must notify DCA within 14 days if your insurance policy is cancelled, expired, or was terminated for any reason. Notification must be in writing and submitted in person OR by mail to the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center (addresses in the Application Filing Process section below).
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation, if applicable (download).
Required if someone other than the license applicant will prepare and submit this application.
Note: The applicant must sign the license application and all related forms.
- License Fee.
License Period: 2 years; Expiration Date: October 31 (Odd Years). See table for License Fee options.
|If You File Your Application Between These Dates:
||License Fee Option 1
||License Fee Option 2
|From November 1 in an odd year to April 30 in an even year
||Pay $550 for a license expiring October 31 of the next odd year. (Valid for at most 24 months.)
|From May 1 in an even year to October 31 in an even year
||Pay $412.50 for a license expiring October 31 of the following year. (Valid for at most 18 months.)
|From November 1 in an even year to April 30 in an odd year
||Pay $275 for a license expiring October 31 of the soonest odd year. (Valid for at most 12 months)
|From May 1 in an odd year to October 31 in an odd year
||Pay $137.50 for a license expiring October 31 of the same year. (Valid for at most 6 months)
||Pay $687.50 for a license expiring October 31 of the next odd year. (Valid for at most 30 months)
- Check or money order payable to DCA. (In person)
- Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card only). You will be charged a nonrefundable Convenience Fee. (In person or online)
Application Filing Process
- Review requirements and gather all materials before clicking the button below. The online service is available using a laptop or desktop computer only.
- If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
- After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCWP cannot process incomplete applications.
- Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the Apply for a DCWP License page to read requirements and proceed to the next online application.
File In Person
Schedule an appointment to file in person at the DCWP Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center
|DCWP LICENSING CENTER
42 Broadway, Lobby
New York, NY 10004
By Appointment Only Hours:
Monday, Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Last appointment: 3:30 p.m.
|NYC SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT CENTER
90-27 Sutphin Blvd, 4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435
By Appointment Only Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Last appointment: 3:30 p.m.
By Email: LicensingAppointments@dca.nyc.gov
By Phone*: Call (212) 436-0441. (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
*This number is to schedule an appointment for in-person service only. For general questions, email email@example.com.
Free Interpretation Services are available on-site. To request a disability-related accommodation, please email DCWP’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Accommodations page.
Additional Resources for Car Wash Businesses
- Car wash businesses must maintain a chronological log in an electronic format documenting complaints of damage to vehicles. Download a model template.
- For the laws and rules that may affect your business, visit our Laws page.
- If you have a question about a DCA violation or the laws that DCA enforces, you can speak with DCA’s Business Compliance Counsel. Call 311 for the Legal Compliance Helpline for Businesses or email BCC@dca.nyc.gov.
- For resources to help your business open, operate, and grow, visit nyc.gov/business.
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