FAQ



READY, SET, GO  Getting your Dealer License

All California vehicle dealer applicants must take a mandatory six-hour course training as mandated by the Department of Motor Vehicles before obtaining a vehicle dealer license. We conduct the courses throughout California. The fee for our new dealer course is:

$250 - scheduled classes AND
$350 - for our private classes.
TriStar dealer training is an excellent alternative to most new dealer programs, as we are retired training officers, licensed DMV dealers/brokers/registration agents/verification agents and never in the business of selling you dealer products.
The goal of each session is to provide comprehensive training in an easy to read and follow format. As our dealer licence student you will be shown the required materials in our handbook, with an in-depth explanation of each required topic. We offer training beyond expectation as currently licensed retail dealers/brokers.
At anytime, if you have questions or need help you may call us toll free at: 800-901-5950.

Signing up for the DMV approved pre-licensing class:
  • Registration and Class Completion - The course mandate covers a variety of topics and our program has full approval of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • Download Our How Do I Become A Car Dealer Check list to get all of your questions answered.
  • Sign-up now to secure your seat with a valid credit card. Confirmation and directions will be sent via E Mail within 24 hours.

 Want More information about getting a dealer license? Read on:

There are basically three major steps you must complete to getting your license.
Step One
Complete the TriStar Motors 6 hour new dealer course, including our
practice test sign up now online.
Obtain your class certificate upon completion of the course.
Make an appointment with the local DMV Inspector and pass the DMV Examination.

You will need 28 of 40 correct to pass the dmv multiple-choice examination. Three examination attempts are allowed on one pre-licensing certificate, one week apart. ( if you fail the car dealer examination go to http://licensedsalesperson.com & study )

After that if you fail the examination we retrain & re-certify you for free.

Our DMV pre-licensing certificates are valid for one year from the date of your car dealer class.

Expired certificates require a new class session.

We provide dealer handbook and materials for returning students at no charge.

Step Two
Prepare and submit your dealer application with a valid surety bond, resale permit & zoning approval.
You will have to identify the type of dealership including an estimate of sales volume.
The application must include a surety bond. A bond is a promise you make to the state, a promise that you will, in the event of a problem, have adequate financial coverage to solve the problem.
$ 10,000 bond needed if: Wholesale Only & less than 25 cars per year.
Otherwise a $ 50,000 bond is needed.
The premium you will pay to obtain a bond is based on the collective credit of the owners of the dealership.
The application must include a resale permit.
The Board of Equalization issues these resale permits and may require an additional bond for sales tax collection.
Each locality may place restrictions and charge fees to obtain local zoning approval. This is usually handled in an office called planning, and is generally where building permits are offered.
Some cities allow wholesale only in the home offices. This will usually be approved with restrictions on vehicle storage and outsign signage.
Sometimes is it easier to start as wholesale & build up to retail.
Since wholesale dealers are restricted to within the industry acquisition and no selling to the public, some retail dealers will sell the occasional vehicle for a wholesaler.
This is known as a drafted sale, and our fee for such service is $430 per vehicle (restrictions apply).
Wholesale dealers using our drafted sale service must be Red Flag Rules certified.
Remember, the DMV Inspector will have to put his or her name on your application prior to submission to DMV headquarters in Sacramento. The more complete and concise your application the greater the chance of acceptance and approval.
We offer a license building service from our dealer education instructors.
Fees begin at $500 per application.
Step Three
Office Preparation and Photo Set
In order for your office to pass inspection several requirements must be met & demonstrated in photos prior to an actual inspection by the DMV.
A temporary license may be issued at the discretion of the DMV Inspector prior to actual inspection.
A set of photos will help insure a temporary dealer license & approval.
THe DMV inspector will issue a temporary dealer wall license and temporary dealer license plates.
All dealers must maintain an office.
All offices must receive proper zoning approval.
Two dealers may not share the same address / office.
A dealer may share space with another business as long as such usage is approved by the local zoning authority and the businesses are clearly marked and separate.
The required photos are of the:
- Building
- Outside Sign
- Display Area
- Office
- Business License
- Posted Resale License
- Office Phone
- Office Signs
- Locked Cabinet or Safe
- Checkbook / Deposit Slip
- DMV Dealer Book
Some DMV Inspectors will request two additional photos. One will be from the front door looking into your office. The second will be from the back wall looking across your office to the open front door.