NAICS CODE: 488410
NAICS DESCRIPTION: This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in towing light or heavy motor vehicles, both local and long distance. These establishments may provide incidental services, such as storage and emergency road repair services.
Endorsement Class: General Services and Repair
Legal Authority: DC Code 47-2851.01 et seq. (2001), DCMR: Title 16 Chapter 4
License Duration: Two (2) Years
License Available Online: No
Category License Fee: $300.00
Application Fee: $70.00
Endorsement Fee: $25.00
Technology Fee: 10 percent of total
Step-by-Step Application Requirements
STEP ONE : Zoning Compliance
Certificate of Occupancy/Home Occupancy for Compliance for Zoning Regulations
Before applying for your BBL, you'll need a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) or a Home Occupation Permit for the location where your business is conducted to demonstrate that your business does not conflict with building and zoning codes. (If your business is located in an office building, you may operate under the umbrella of the C of O issued to the owner of the building, as long as the C of O was issued for the entire building; check with your building owner or management company for the C of O holder name, number, and issue date.) If you have any questions about Certificates of Occupancy, please call Permit Operations Customer Service at (202) 442-4589.
NOTE: You DO NOT need to attach a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy to your application. You DO need to provide C of O number and issue date on your application.
STEP TWO: Corporate Registration
Corporation Division Requirements
If you are a corporation, partnership or limited liability company you must be registered in the District and in good standing. For instructions on how to register, please go to DCRA Corporate Registration Information Center. If you are a sole proprietor, no registration is necessary and you can skip this step. For more information, please call the Corporation Division at (202) 442-4432.
If you are not a resident of the District of Columbia, you'll need to appoint a Resident Agent or an Attorney-in-Fact who lives or works in an office in the District, who will be the official recipient of any financial, process, or legal notices that we need to send to you. If you are not a DC resident, please complete the Certified Resident Agent Appointment Form*.
Every corporation needs to have a registered agent office in the District of Columbia. This office can but does not need to be the same as your place of business. Foreign corporations doing business in DC need to certify that their named registered agent is duly authorized to represent that corporation.
If your business uses a Trade Name, you'll need to register the name with DCRA and indicate both the trade name and the official business name (including its corporation, LLC, or partnership classification) if applicable.
STEP THREE: Taxes
Office of Tax & Revenue (OTR) Registration
Before applying for your BBL, you'll also need to register your business with OTR and submit a copy of your tax registration certificate with your application. If you're not already registered, simply complete and file a Combined Business Tax Registration Application (Form FR500). You get all the necessary forms and submit your application online at the Business Tax Service Center. For more information, please call the Tax Customer Center at (202) 727-4829.
STEP FOUR: Clean Hands Certification
You'll also need to certify that you don't owe more than $100 to the District of Columbia government as a result of fees, penalties, interest, or taxes through completion of a Clean Hands form provided in your BBL application package. A signed form from the Office of Tax and Revenue may also be required.
STEP FIVE: Basic Business License Application
To make sure you get your BBL as quickly as possible, you must submit a properly completed Basic Business License Application after completing steps 1 through 4. All of your responses should be printed clearly in English.
Note on PDF Forms: To download and fill out the Basic Business License Application form you should open the form and save to your desktop. We recommend you also rename the form as you save to your desktop. For most users, you should be able to save your work. If you cannot, you should print the form before closing.
STEP SIX: Specific Category Requirements
Letter Listing Ownership Interest
The name, address, and telephone number each individual, partner, and/or each officer of a corporation with an ownership interest in the towing service storage lot must be attach to the BBL application.
Location and Description of Towing Service Storage Lot
Please fill out the attached Supplemental Tow Service Storage Lot Application and attach the following documents to the BBL application: A copy of a deed, lease, contract, or other proof of the right to use the space as vehicle storage lot, and a copy of the Site Plan or DC Surveyor’s Plat and a copy of a valid Certificate of Occupancy permit for that use and location. A copy of the plan or plat may be obtained from the Surveyor’s Office located at 1100 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024, Third Floor.
Additional Requirements for Surveyor’s Plat
If any other tow truck business occupy the same towing service storage lot for the storage of towed vehicles, one surveyor’s plat with clear delineation of boundaries named and marked for each tow truck business shall be submitted along with the application for licensure. Tow truck businesses may not occupy the same space on a towing service storage lot. The vehicle storage capacity for each business using the storage facility should be indicated.
Garage Keeper’s Legal Liability Insurance Certificate
You must provide us with proof of a current Garage Keeper’s Legal Liability Insurance Policy of at least fifty thousand ($50,000) which remains in effect or is renewable for the duration of the license period. A new certificate of insurance shall be provided whenever the coverage is changed, amended, renewed, canceled, or rewritten.
Police Criminal History Report (Form PD 70)
You must attach a certified copy of your Police Criminal History Report from the jurisdiction in which you reside to the Basic Business License Application. You may obtain this Report (PD-70) from the DC Metropolitan Police Department in person at 300 Indiana Avenue NW Room 3055, or call the Police Criminal History Report Division at (202) 727-4245 for additional details. A non-resident shall obtain this report from the jurisdiction in which he/she resides. All of the partners in a partnership, and the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer of a corporation must provide a Police Criminal History Report.
This type of business requires a background investigation prior to issuance of a license. This investigation will be conducted after submitting the application and all required documents.
General Operational Requirements
A towing service storage lot must comply with the following:
- The tow service storage lot shall be located on a secured lot in the District of Columbia, with appropriate signage, and be in full compliance with all District of Columbia laws, regulations, including zoning regulations. A secured lot is a lot secured at least by a six (6) feet chain link fence capable of being locked.
- The BBL holder shall maintain a log of all vehicles towed to and from its location. The operator shall maintain a log and make it available for inspection by DCRA investigators.
- The BBL holder shall apportion the lot into storage lot sections and clearly identify or designate the towing business responsible for each apportioned section.
- The BBL holder shall employ reasonable procedures and requirements to insure that vehicles are released to rightful owners or other authorized individuals
- The BBL holder shall conspicuously post, at each towing service lot, the Owner’s Bill of Rights for Towed Vehicles statement, issued by the Director of DCRA; and upon release of the vehicle, shall provide a copy of this statement to the person to whom the vehicle is released.
STEP SEVEN: Additional Business Activities
If you conduct more than one business activity (endorsement type), you'll need to indicate those activities on your BBL application. You might have any number of additional business activities connected to this particular license endorsement.
Special Notes: If your business includes any of the above endorsement activities, you can get additional fact sheets and application forms by contacting DCRA's License Center at (202) 442-4311, or by email at email@example.com.
Service at a Glance
Provided By: DCRA
Location: 1100 4th Street SW Washington, DC 20024
Request this Service
- Certificate of Occupancy
- Home Occupation Permit
Owners Bill of Rights for Towed Vehicles
Clean Hands Form
Registered Agent Form
Basic Business License Application Instructions
Standard Basic Business License Application
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