WA State Licensing: Registered tow truck operator

Registered tow truck operator

A registered tow truck operator endorsement is required if your business:

  • transports, impounds, or stores unauthorized vehicles.
  • disposes of abandoned vehicles.


  • A $5,000 bond.
    • The name of the principal on the bond must be exactly the same as both the business owner name and the business firm name.
    • All bonds must be signed by the applicant and the attorney-in-fact for the bonding company.
    • Bonds are available through many insurance companies. We recommend you research the cost of your bond before you apply for a license.
  • A driver list, with the names and addresses of all employees who will drive a tow truck.
  • Insurance
    • $100,000 liability for bodily injury or property damage.
    • $50,000 legal liability against damage to vehicles while they are in your custody.
  • A facilities and equipment inspection
    • You must arrange to have all your business facilities and equipment inspected by the Washington State Patrol before submitting your license application.
    • Submit the inspection report with your application.

Tow truck requirements

Each tow truck must have a valid permit.

Additional business requirements

If you use registered tow trucks to also conduct other business activities, your tow truck must have an Indicator Tab for the other business activities placed on the truck’s license plate. Review the specific requirements on the web pages for Vehicle Transporter; Hulk Hauler; Vehicle Wrecker; and Motor Vehicle Salvage Processor.

Post your license

A license must be posted at each location where the licensee operates. You may not begin this business activity until you receive a Business License listing the required endorsement(s).

After you receive your license

  • You'll need a contract with the Department of Licensing to search vehicle registration information.
  • You must report to the Department of Licensing when you impound a vehicle or sell an abandoned vehicle.

How to apply

Apply by using one of the following options:


Specialty endorsement Fee
Registered Tow Truck Operator $100
Tow truck permit $50 each
Registered Tow Truck Operator Branch No fee
Other Business Indicator tabs - Primary tabs $5
Other Business Indicator tabs - Secondary tabs $2 each
Other fees that may apply Fee
Registering your business name as trade name $5
Business License Application $19 (non-refundable)

Regulatory questions

Department of Licensing
Dealers Division
Phone: 360-664-6466