Tow Truck Company License Application Checklist
Who Must Have a Tow Truck Company License?
You must have a Tow Truck Company license if your business moves or removes disabled, illegally parked, or abandoned motor vehicles or vehicles involved in accidents by another motor vehicle for direct or indirect compensation.
This description is only a general explanation of who must have a Tow Truck Company license.
Quick List of Requirements to Apply for a Tow Truck Company 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
- Business Certificate
- Sales Tax Identification Number OR Application Confirmation Number
- Roster of Vehicles
- New York State Commercial Truck Registrations
- Department of Buildings Document
- One Current Color Passport-size Photograph of License Applicant
- Business Information
- Repair Shop Registration (if applicable)
- Proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance (OR proof not required to maintain this coverage)
- Personal and Property Liability Insurance for Tow Trucks
- DCA Trust Fund Enrollment or Copy of Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed
- Proof of Right to Use Premises
- Roster of Employees
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applicable)
- Fingerprints and $75 Processing Fee per Person
- Inspection of Your Premises and Trucks and $50 Inspection Fee per Truck
- License Fee
Submitting your application does not mean your license is automatically approved.
Additional City or State Permits/Licenses/Clearances You May Need
You must have a Tow Truck Driver license
if you tow vehicles in New York City. Tow Truck Driver applicants must be at least 18 years old.
You must have a Secondhand Dealer General license
if you or your business buy or sell used goods, other than automobiles, in New York City. For example, you need a Secondhand Dealer General license if you use secondhand auto parts to repair vehicles.
Important Message about Business Certificate
You must have the applicable Business Certificate based on your business’s legal structure.
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:
- Business Certificate (see description above).
- Sales Tax Identification Number OR Application Confirmation Number.
To apply for a Certificate of Authority in order to collect sales tax, visit www.businessexpress.ny.gov.
- New York State Commercial Truck Registrations.
Submit a copy of the current New York State Commercial Truck Registration for each vehicle listed on the Roster of Vehicles. The address on your registrations must match the address provided on your license application.
- Department of Buildings Document.
You must submit a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy, Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (expiring no less than 30 days from date of application submission), OR Letter of No Objection from the Department of Buildings (DOB) confirming that your premises is suitable to operate your business. If you submit a Certificate of Occupancy or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, it must be the most current version and show approval of the premises for “M1,” “M2,” “M3,” and/or “C8” Zoning and/or “Use Group 16” with a designation of “Auto Wrecking,” “Storage Garage,” “Dead Vehicle Storage,” “Vehicle Laundry/Car Wash,” “Vehicle Service,” or “Vehicle Repair.”
- One Current Color Passport-size Photograph of License Applicant.
Each individual named on the license application must submit one current color passport-size photograph of themselves.
In person: DCA will photograph license applicants at no cost in the DCA Licensing Center or Small Business Support Center. Applicants can also submit a current color passport-size photograph.
Online: License applicants can upload an image file of digital passport photo quality. A digital camera with a resolution of 1 mega-pixel is adequate.
- Business Information.
Applicants for a Tow Truck Company license must indicate which credit cards the business will accept and confirm whether or not the business will repair vehicles.
- Repair Shop Registration.
If you indicated on the Business Information form that your business will repair vehicles, submit a copy of your business’ current Repair Shop Registration from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
- 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 OR
- U-26.3: State Insurance Fund Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance OR
- 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.
- Personal and Property Liability Insurance for Tow Trucks.
You must submit a copy of the Insurance Certificate for your tow trucks. Your Insurance Certificate must name the City of New York as the Certificate Holder and must show the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of all trucks covered by the policy. Minimum amounts of coverage are:
- $200,000 for injury or death per person
- $500,000 for injury or death per accident
- $50,000 for property damage per accident
- $25,000 for damage to a vehicle in the care, custody, and control of the tow company
Note: You must notify DCA within 10 days if your insurance policy is cancelled, expired, or was terminated for any reason.
- DCA Trust Fund Enrollment OR Copy of Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed.
- If you want to enroll your business in the Trust Fund, complete the Trust Fund Enrollment Form. The fee for joining the Trust Fund is $200.
- If you do not enroll your business in the Trust Fund, you must submit a copy of a $5,000 Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed. 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. The bond must not expire before the end of the licensing period.
Download a list of bonding companies. Note: The list is not exhaustive, and DCA does not endorse or recommend any particular bonding company.
- Proof of Right to Use Premises
Submit ONE of the following documents as proof of right to use premises for your business:
- A copy of your deed or bill of sale OR
- A copy of your current lease (If you submit a sublease, you must also submit the original lease.)
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation, if applicable.
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.
- Fingerprints and $75 Processing Fee.
All sole proprietors, general partners, corporate officers, members, and all shareholders owning 10% or more of company stock must be fingerprinted at one of the addresses on page 1. Bring one of the following forms of ID:
- U.S.-issued driver’s license or non-driver’s license identification
- License or permit issued by a government agency
- Alien card/green card
- City, State, or Federal employee ID card
- Municipal ID card
See payment information in License Fee section.
- Inspection of Your Premises and Trucks and $50 Inspection Fee per Truck.
DCA must inspect your business premises and tow trucks before your business can operate. DCA will contact you to schedule the inspection. See Inspection Checklist: Tow Truck
- License Fee.
License Period: 2 years. Expiration Date: April 30, Even Years. License Fee: $600 for 2 years. Inspection Fee: $50 per truck
|If You File Your Application Between These Dates: ||Option 1 ||Option 2
|From May 1 in an even year to October 31 in an even year
||Pay $600 + $50 per truck for a license expiring April 30 of the next even year. (Valid for at most 24 months.)
|From November 1 in an even year to April 30 in an odd year
||Pay $450 + $50 per truck for a license expiring April 30 of the following year. (Valid for at most 18 months.)
|From May 1 in an odd year to October 31 in an odd year
||Pay $300 + $50 per truck for a license expiring April 30 of the soonest even year. (Valid for at most 12 months.)
|From November 1 in an odd year to April 30 in an even year
||Pay $150 + $50 per truck for a license expiring April 30 of the soonest even year. (Valid for at most 6 months.)
||Pay $750 + $50 per truck for a license expiring April 30 of the next even 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
File in person
File in person at the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center.
Free Interpretation Services
|DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (DCA) LICENSING CENTER
42 Broadway, Lobby
New York, NY 10004
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
|NYC SMALL BUSINESS
90-27 Sutphin Blvd, 4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
are available on-site. To request a disability-related accommodation, please call DCA’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator at (212) 436-0199 or visit our Accommodations page
- Review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below to submit your application online using a laptop or desktop computer.
- 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. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
- Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the Apply for a DCA License page to read requirements and proceed to the online application.
Additional Resources for Tow Truck Companies
- For resources to help your business open, operate, and grow, visit nyc.gov/business
- After holding a Tow Truck Company license for more than one year, you may apply for acceptance in the Directed Accident Towing Program (DARP) and Rotation Tow Program (ROTOW). For more information, please call 311 and ask to be transferred to DCA with a question about your existing license.
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