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Regulatory Handbook -> General Requirements -> Tow Truck

Tow Truck

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
All tow vehicles used by Registered Tow Truck Operators are required to have a valid permit (also known as ‘cab card’) to identify the tow truck as well as indicate the class of truck and the Registered Tow Truck Operator.
Who Issues this Permit?
Department of Licensing
What Activities Require this Permit?
Registered tow truck operators who engage in the impounding, transporting, or storage of unauthorized vehicles or the disposal of abandoned vehicles are required to have a valid permit for each tow truck
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
Registered Tow Truck Operator certificate: $100
Tow Truck permit (per vehicle): $50 each
Registered Tow Truck Operator branch location: no fee
Where Can I Get the Application for this Permit?
The application is online and can be accessed at https://www.dol.wa.gov/business/vehicletransport/vttowtruckop.html.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
Use the Registered Tow Truck Operator Checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your application.
  • Vehicle Transport/Disposal Addendum (dor.wa.gov) (Sections A & B on both page 1 and page 2)
  • $5,000 bond – Provide Vehicle, Vessel, Vehicle Manufacturer, Registered Tow Truck Operator, or Wrecker Business Bond or form from the bonding company
    • Bonds are available through insurance companies.
    • The principal name must be exactly the same as both the business owner and business firm name.
    • Bond must be signed by the applicant and the attorney–in–fact for the bonding company.
  • Registered Tow Truck Operator Official Fees
  • Original Tow Truck–Business–Operator–Equipment Inspection Report issued by inspecting officer from the Washington State Patrol.
  • Driver list: Names and addresses of all employees who'll drive a tow truck.
  • Proof of insurance:
    • $100,000 liability for bodily injury or property damage.
    • $50,000 garage keepers and $50,000 on hook or cargo, for liability against damage to vehicles while they're in your custody
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
The estimated processing time for a completed application is between 15 and 20 business days.
Where do I Submit my Application?
Registered Tow Truck Operator / Tow Truck permit applications are submitted to the Department of Revenues Business Licensing Services (DOR) and jointly processed by DOL and DOR.

Apply online with the Department of Revenue (dor.wa.gov)

What you'll need:
  • Supporting documents shown below, ready for upload. See How to upload documents
  • Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit/debit card (transaction fee charged) or bank account information for E–check to pay:
    • Applicable BLS fees
    • Registered tow truck operator license and tow truck permit fees

Apply by mail
  1. Complete or obtain the following:
  2. Mail the completed forms and supporting documents with a check/money order payable to the Department of Revenue for the BLS fees and the motor vehicle salvage processor license and plate fees to:
      State of Washington
      Business Licensing Service
      PO Box 9034
      Olympia, WA 98507–9034
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here: https://www.oria.wa.gov/ORIA-2018-PermitTimelinessProgressReport.pdf.

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 22.3
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 167

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 1
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 1

(Summary results based on 20 submittals in 2020)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Subject matter expert phone: (360) 664-6466
Subject matter expert email: dealerlicensing@dol.wa.gov
Statewide Contact:
Department of Licensing
Transportation Services - Tow Trucks
Post Office Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034
For assistance contact 1-800-917-0043 (Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance)
Email: dealerlicensing@dol.wa.gov
Website: https://www.dol.wa.gov
* Permit information last updated 2/25/2020
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