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Who Must Have a Tow Truck Company License?
Your business must have a Tow Truck Company license if you tow vehicles for profit within the five boroughs of New York City.
This description is only a general explanation of which businesses need to have a Tow Truck Company license.
Additional DCA Licenses You May Need
- If you or your business will buy or sell secondhand articles (e.g., repair vehicles with secondhand auto parts), you must also obtain a Secondhand Dealer General license.
Before You File Your DCA License Application:
You must obtain the following required documents before filing your application.
- Applicable Business Certificates based on your Business's Legal Structure
- Sole Proprietorships operating under a name other than your own must file a Business/Assumed Name Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
- Sole Proprietorships doing business under your own name—and not under a trade or Doing-Business-As (DBA) name—do not need a Business Certificate.
- General/Business Partnerships must file your Partnership Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
- Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Department of State. Active status will be verified by DCA prior to license issuance. You can confirm the status of your business entity at NYS Web site. If applicable, you must also file an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.
- Businesses incorporated out of state must obtain a Certificate of Doing Business in Good Standing from your home state’s Secretary of State and file this with an application for Authority to Conduct Business in New York with the New York State Secretary of State.
Your business must resolve any outstanding parking violations before you file an application. For information about parking violations, call 311 or visit the New York City Department of Finance at www.nyc.gov/finance
When You File Your DCA License Application:
Below are requirements when filing your license application:
- 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 Form.
- Business Certificate.
See description above.
Attention: Corporate Applicants. If you file your application in person, DCA can print a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation and/or Certificate of Authority to Conduct Business in New York from the New York State Department of State’s website.
- Sales Tax Identification Number OR Certificate of Authority Application Confirmation Number
The Sales Tax Identification Number is the 9, 10, or 11-digit number on your New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Certificate of Authority. You must enter this number on the Basic License Application form. If you have not received your Certificate of Authority, please enter the 6-digit confirmation number you received when you successfully submitted the application for a Certificate of Authority.
To apply for a Certificate of Authority, visit the NYS License Center. You will need a NY.gov ID to access the application form. To request a paper application, call (518) 485-2889. Allow four to six weeks after applying to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to receive your Certificate of Authority.
- 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. Note: Commercial tow trucks registered or renewed after January 22, 1995 must display “Tow Truck” plates.
- 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” Zoning and/or “Use Group 16.”.
- Two Current Color Passport-size Photographs of License Applicant
Each individual named on the license application must submit two current color passport-size photographs of themselves. License applicants can be photographed in the DCA Licensing Center at no cost.
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 (download)
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 Information
Provide a copy of ONE of the following documents as proof of workers’ compensation insurance information:
To learn whether you can claim exemption from holding workers’ compensation insurance, visit New York State Workers’ Compensation Board at www.wcb.ny.gov
- An Insurance Certificate for workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance carrier or the New York State Insurance Fund Office. The Insurance Certificate must name the Department of Consumer Affairs as the certificate holder. OR
- A Certificate of Attestation of Exemption from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (if you claimed exemption from the requirement to hold workers’ compensation insurance)
Important: You must provide DCA with proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance should your business cease to qualify for Workers’ Compensation Exemption.
- 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 (download). The fee for joining the Trust Fund is $200. OR
- 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. 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.
Download a list of bonding companies
The companies listed have provided bonds for licensees, or have communicated to the Department of Consumer Affairs an interest in doing so. The list must not be considered a recommendation of any company, or a complete listing. All applicants are advised to investigate and compare these and other bonding companies. Some companies may provide only certain types of bonds. Companies are listed in alphabetical order.
- 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
- Roster of Employees (download)
Please indicate if you are currently applying for a Tow Truck Company license and a Tow Truck Driver license and provide employee information on the Roster of Employees. Note: If you are not applying for both licenses, at least one person in your business (e.g., sole proprietor, general partner, director, corporate officer, shareholder owning 10% or more of company, or employee) must hold a current and valid Tow Truck Driver license issued by DCA.
- Child Support Certification Form (download)
If your business is a SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP or GENERAL or LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, the proprietor or each individual general partner must submit a Child Support Certification Form.
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download)
If this application will be filed by someone other than the license applicant, the license applicant must submit a Granting Authority to Act Affirmation.
- Fingerprints and Processing Fee
All sole proprietors, general partners, directors, corporate officers, and all shareholders owning 10% or more of company stock must be fingerprinted at the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Licensing Center. EXCEPTIONS: Any person who currently holds or has held within the past three years a DCA license that required fingerprinting does not need to be fingerprinted. Any person fingerprinted at the DCA Licensing Center within the past three years does not need to be fingerprinted. Each person who must be fingerprinted must visit the DCA Licensing Center with photo identification (ID) and pay a $75 processing fee by check or money order, payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. Acceptable forms of ID include:
- Driver’s license or non-driver’s license identification issued by a State Department of Motor Vehicles
- License or permit issued by a government agency
- Alien card/green card
- City, State, or Federal employee ID card
Your fingerprints will be checked for any criminal record that you may have. Note that a conviction will not necessarily prevent you from being granted a license. However, failure to reveal a conviction can constitute grounds for the denial of your application.
- License Fee
Must be paid by credit card, money order, or check. Cards accepted at the DCA Licensing Center include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. Credit card payments are subject to a 2.49% convenience fee. Checks or money orders must be payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. The chart below lists the amount due depending upon when your license application is filed. Note: An odd year is any year ending in an odd digit; for example, 2013, 2015, etc. An even year is any year ending in an even digit; for example, 2014, 2016, etc.
Please note that a 2.49% convenience fee applies if you submit your license application online. A major credit card is required to submit applications online.
|Tow Truck Company License Fee
License Term: 2 years
License Expiration Date: April 30, Even years
|If You File Your Application Between These Dates:
||Your License Fee per Truck is:
|From May 1 in an even year to October 31 in an even year
|From November 1 in an even year to April 30 in an odd year
|From May 1 in an odd year to October 31 in an odd year
|From November 1 in an odd year to April 30 in an even year
||$150 or *$750
|Inspection Fee per Tow Truck is: $50
*If you are applying within six months of the license expiration date, you can pay the prorated fee for the remaining license term plus the full fee to renew the license for the next term. If you pay both fees, you will not need to renew the license until the end of the next license period.
After You File Your DCA License Application:
Below is information you need to know after submitting your license application:
- Inspection of Your Premises and Trucks
DCA must inspect your business premises and tow trucks before your business can operate. The fee is $50 per tow truck inspection. You must pay the fee at the DCA Licensing Center before the inspection will be scheduled. Once payment is made, DCA will contact you to schedule the inspection.
Note: All trucks listed on your Roster of Vehicles should be present at the time of the inspection. You must present a validated New York City Department of Finance Commercial Motor Vehicle Tax Receipt (tax stamp) for each vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
- If your tow truck(s) fail inspection, you will be charged a $50 fee for each tow truck that requires reinspection. You must pay the fee at the DCA Licensing Center before a reinspection will be scheduled. You must also submit a copy of the Certificate of Inspection (received at the inspection site) for each tow truck listed on the Certificate and the inspection fee(s). Once payment is made, DCA will contact you to schedule reinspection of your tow truck(s).
- If you scheduled inspection of a tow truck(s) at the DCA Testing Station but fail to appear with your tow truck(s) at the scheduled appointment time, you will be charged a $50 fee for each tow truck that requires inspection. You must pay the fee at the DCA Licensing Center before a new inspection will be scheduled. Once payment is made, DCA will contact you to reschedule inspection of your tow truck(s).
- Recordkeeping Requirements
If your business will tow vehicles without the prior consent or authorization of the owner of the vehicle (i.e., your business tows under the Directed Accident Response Program (DARP); the Rotation Tow Program (ROTOW); the Arterial Towing Program; and/or pursuant to Section 19-169.1 of the Administrative Code which allows for the removal of vehicles improperly parked on private property), you must submit a completed Recordkeeping Compliance Affirmation (download) and maintain records in electronic format. Please refer to Section 2-378 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York for specific requirements.
As required by rule, DCA created spreadsheets (i.e., Recordkeeping Templates and Roster of Drivers) for DARP and ROTOW participants. The spreadsheets are available in DCA’s online Business Toolbox at www.nyc.gov/BusinessToolbox. The spreadsheets contain the fields that you must complete to comply with the new rules. You may create and use your own spreadsheets, but they must contain the same fields as DCA’s spreadsheets.
- DARP/ROTOW Program Enrollment
After holding a Tow Truck Company license for more than one year, you may apply for acceptance in DARP and ROTOW. The fee to participate in DARP is $300. You must pay the program participation fee every renewal period. For more information, please call 311 and ask to be transferred to DCA with a question about your existing license.
Application Filing Process
File in person at the DCA Licensing Center, 42 Broadway, in Manhattan between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you do not speak or understand English well, please let us know when you arrive at the Licensing Center and we will provide translation services.
- Please review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below.
- 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 DCA Business Toolbox to read requirements and proceed to the online application.
Additional Resources for Tow Truck Company
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