California (CA) TCP License


Apply for a TCP

The first step to operating your own fleet!


trustpilot iconforbes

You’re in Good Company

California’s #1 TCP Permit registration service, Over 10,000 TCP Licenses registered. Companies, both big and small, are starting their CA TCP license using BusinessRocket.

How Does It Work?

instruction iconlineline

Register Your Business

The PUC requires a registered business to start the TCP permit process. Find out which structure is best for you! Corporation, LLC, DBA, or Partnership?

instruction iconlineline

DMV Pull Notice

Enrolling your business in the California DMV Pull Notice Program is an essential step if you apply for TCP Operating Authority.

instruction iconlineline

Vehicle Registration

Commercial registration is required for all vehicles operating under your TCP authority. Please contact us before purchasing your vehicle. We also offer expert guidance if you have additional questions regarding the commercial registration process.

instruction iconlineline

Submit Your TCP Application

BusinessRocket accurately prepares your TCP Application before submitting your documents to the PUC for review.

instruction iconlineline

Commercial Insurance

Commercial TCP Insurance is required for a PUC license. BusinessRocket’s preferred vendors offer discounted rates exclusively to our TCP License clients.

instruction iconlineline

Controlled Substance Testing

The PUC license requires controlled substance testing for all drivers. Our preferred facilities provide affordable controlled substance testing services statewide.

instruction icon

Activate Your TCP Operating Authority

After all documentation has been submitted to the PUC, BusinessRocket will work directly with the PUC to expedite your activation process. This is a crucial step when you apply for PUC operating authority. Our goal is to help you get on the road quickly.

What are the requirements for a TCP License?

When you apply for a TCP Permit, you have to meet some specific requirements outlined by CPUC. Firstly, your vehicle must have commercial use registration, so coordinating with your lienholder is essential. Secondly, your business needs to be registered in California to be eligible for a CA TCP license. With our comprehensive package, the business registration and the CPUC application are included. Lastly, it is required to have a commercial insurance policy and a drug test on file to prioritize passenger safety.

How long does it usually take to get a TCP License?

The TCP application process typically takes about 2 weeks, but many individuals opt for a 2-4 week timeframe to secure the most appropriate insurance policy for long-term cost savings. Besides, if you don't yet have a commercial vehicle, you need to wait for the final commercial registration before submitting your application to CPUC. Moreover, if there is an existing vehicle loan, the DMV may take 30-45 days to provide the final registration documents. However, if your vehicle is fully paid off, you can obtain the commercial registration from the DMV on the same day. This timeline variation is crucial to consider for a smooth TCP application process.

What things should be considered when choosing a vehicle?

Choosing a vehicle involves considering vendor requirements, insurance costs, and vehicle inspection standards. Ensure your vehicle meets the criteria of the vendors you intend to work with. Be prepared for potentially higher insurance premiums for non-traditional vehicles and choose one that aligns with your intended use. If your vehicle exceeds 10-person capacity or is a stretched limousine, it must pass inspection by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Schedule an appointment with your local CHP office before applying for a TCP license to ensure compliance.

How do you hire drivers for a TCP limousine license?

 To hire drivers for a TCP Limousine License (Charter Permit), it's essential to understand the legal requirements governing who can operate vehicles under this license. The CA TCP license is issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to regulate passenger transportation companies. To operate a vehicle sanctioned by the TCP license, the driver must either be the company owner or an official W-2 employee. Notably, 1099 contractors are not permitted to operate TCP-sanctioned vehicles unless that 1099 contractor has an independent TCP License themselves.

What kind of car do I need for a TCP License?

The CPUC does not have any Year, Make or Model requirements for a vehicle being added to the TCP license. However, if you plan to provide transportation services, the vehicle must be operational and registered for commercial use. It is also recommended you verify with your insurance broker and any potential vendors, like Uber or Lyft, any specified vehicle requirements prior to adding the vehicle to your TCP License.

What type of insurance do I need for a TCP License?

A Public Liability and Property Damage insurance policy is the main insurance policy you are required to have coverage for on your vehicles. The minimum coverage starts at $750,000 for a seven-seater vehicle, and increases with larger seating capacity.

What is Commercial Registration?

Commercial registration classifies a vehicle to be used primarily for business purposes. This classification signifies to the DMV that this vehicle will no longer be considered for personal use, but instead for commercial use, regardless of who the registered owner of the vehicle is. Ensure that the vehicle is registered to either one of the owners of the company or the company itself.

Who needs a Drug Test for a TCP License?

It is required by federal law that all drivers operating under a TCP license comply with a drug and alcohol screening prior to obtaining a TCP license. Owners who will not be operating the vehicles, but will employ drivers to do so, are required to enroll their drivers in drug and alcohol testing services and ensure the completion of any pre-employment, post-accident, or random drug and alcohol screening requirements.

Can I drive if I have a medical marijuana card?

Marijuana use, even with a medical marijuana card, is not permitted while operating passenger transportation businesses. CPUC follows the Code of Federal Regulations 49 Part A which states that any positive result of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), or opioid specimen will be rejected.

Can I have Drivers as Independent Contractors?

CPUC does not allow for independent contract work regarding any vehicle listed in a TCP fleet, unless that independent contract has their own TCP License. This means that it is mandatory for an owner to classify anyone operating his or her vehicles as a driver for their business. Any driver who is not an owner of the business is considered an employee.

What is the difference between the TCP licenses?

There are a total of six different TCP licenses offered by the CPUC. Each license varies in restrictions and flexibility relating to permitted business operations under that license type. The restrictions focus on mileage, seating capacity, business activity, and whether or not the license is transferable.

What is the Difference Between the TCP B permit and P Permit?

TCP License type B and P are the most common for strictly passenger pick-up and drop-off transportation activities. The main difference of license type B is that it provides flexibility on vehicle seating capacity, allowing you to operate vehicles with any number of passengers within a 125-mile radius from the business address of the TCP Holder. Whereas license type P provides flexibility on mileage, allowing you to operate vehicles with less than sixteen passengers from any point to any point within the state of California. Another important difference to note is B permit is transferable, while P permit is not.

Why is the TCP A Permit Preferred?

While TCP License type A is the most expensive, it is the most preferable due to providing the best flexibility in all areas of operations. With license type A, an operator can utilize vehicles with any seating capacity, operate from any point to any point within the state of California, conduct activity beyond passenger pick-up and drop-off, and is transferable.

Do I need a Corporation or LLC to operate a TCP License?

You do not need a corporation or LLC to apply for a TCP license. CPUC allows an applicant to obtain a TCP license as an individual, or sole proprietorship. However, this is strongly discouraged.

Why is a Corporation or LLC preferred when starting a TCP License?

Obtaining a TCP license with a Corporation or LLC ensures substantial protection, greater flexibility for changes, and high-reward for business owners. These entity types can deduct more expenses, transfer licenses, add or remove partners freely, and within two years of operation, finance vehicles and achieve lines of credit.

How much does it cost to Obtain a TCP License?

In addition to BusinessRocket’s service fee of $695, there is an application fee of either $1,000 or $1,500, depending on the type of license you apply for. The additional fee gets paid directly to the CPUC at the time of submitting the application.

Can I lease a car for my TCP License?

Yes, you may utilize a leased vehicle for your TCP License, so long as you have adequate lease agreement and the vehicle is insured under your company’s name, not the company you are leasing from. In order for a lease agreement to be adequate, the lease must be commercial, not personal.

What if my finance company says no to transferring my Registration to Commercial Use?

In order to change the registration type with the DMV of your vehicle, you will need to obtain the title from the lien holder. This can be accomplished by obtaining a personal loan and using that personal loan to pay off the existing car loan or refinancing the vehicle with a commercial loan broker that allows commercial registration.

Do I need a USDOT or CA number for my TCP License?

A USDOT and CA number are only required in three situations. 1) Your vehicle is 10 passengers or more, 2) your vehicle is modified or stretched to accommodate more seats, or 3) you will be operating across state lines, also known as interstate travel.