Car Washing and Polishing

Registration Application

All businesses engaged in car washing and polishing in California must register.

Steps to register:

Register or Renew Online

Exceptions to the registration requirements are in place for the following:

  • Motor vehicle repair
  • Charitable, youth, service, veteran or sports group, club or association that occasionally holds car washing and polishing fundraisers.
  • Licensed vehicle dealers or car rental agencies that clean their vehicles as part of their business practices
  • Self-service or automated car wash businesses that only have employees at the cash register or maintaining the equipment

Note: Businesses that purchase an existing carwash should be aware of potential liability. Refer to Labor Code section 2066 and the notice to carwash applicants for more information. Car washing and polishing registration requirements are explained in detail in the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 13680 through 13694.


Car wash and polishing businesses must pay $300 per location for annual registration and assessment fees. The fees are due when you submit your application. If you are mailing your application, please include a cashier’s check or money order payable to DLSE.   

Posting Requirements:

Car washing and polishing businesses must post their current, valid registration where it can be easily read by the employees during the workday.

Record Keeping Requirements:

  • Pursuant to Labor Code section 2052, every employer must keep accurate records for three (3) years showing all of the following:

    • The names and addresses of all employees engaged in rendering actual services for any business of the employer
    • The hours worked daily by each employee, including the times the employee begins and ends each work period
    • All gratuities received daily by the employers, whether received directly from the employee or indirectly by deduction from the wages of the employee or otherwise
    • The wage and wage rate paid each payroll period
    • The age of all minor employees
    • Any other conditions of employment


Contact Us

  Call the DLSE car wash public line or email 

  Report an unlicensed carwash

Call the DLSE car washing enforcement hotline:

April 2020