The hassles and headaches of dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has become a trope of American comedy. But like all comedy, it’s based on a nugget of truth. Often, a trip to the DMV really does mean long lines, crowded waiting areas and labyrinthine paperwork requirements. Unfortunately, navigating this bureaucracy is necessary any time you need to renew your driver’s license, buy or sell your car, or have a problem with your vehicle’s registration.
If the very idea of stepping into the DMV makes you shudder, there’s a solution. Californians love disrupting industries just as much as they love their cars. Today, a new wave of DMV service companies can smooth your path through the paperwork.
What is a DMV service company?
A DMV service company essentially acts as an intermediary between you and the DMV. These are privately owned companies that have formal relationships with the DMV but are not managed by the government. Drivers can use a DMV service company to handle administrative tasks related to vehicle registration, such as renewing a car’s registration, replacing a lost registration, transferring a vehicle title, updating an address, getting new license plates and more.
The difference between using a DMV service company and stepping into the agency itself is largely found in the level of convenience and customer service. When you use a DMV service company, you don’t need to wait in line for hours or schedule an appointment months in advance. Much of the paperwork gets taken care of online, when it’s convenient for you. A DMV service company is focused on providing a positive customer service experience from start to finish. The DMV, on the other hand, is a government agency with a public mandate to regulate the state’s cars and drivers. Exceptional customer service is not a requirement.
Four reasons drivers choose DMV service companies:
For busy individuals, DMV service companies offer great advantages. Primarily, they enable drivers to take care of auto-related paperwork without having to step away from their jobs or families to visit a DMV branch.
- Simplified processes
DMV service companies aim to make it as easy as possible for drivers to take care of their auto registration needs. Understanding which forms need to be completed for transferring a title or replacing a missing registration card can be complicated. DMV service companies employ easy-to-use instructions on their websites to help guide drivers through paperwork requirements.
DMV service companies can often replace or renew your registration in one day and offer expedited delivery of license plates and stickers. Because fines accumulate quickly for late registration renewals, many drivers appreciate the quicker service.
- A helping hand
Sometimes, drivers find themselves in complicated situations. Maybe you need to clear a suspended registration. Maybe the DMV mailed your registration stickers to the wrong address. Maybe the DMV never received your proof of insurance. For situations such as these, a DMV service company’s dedicated staff can assist you.
Cautions about DMV service companies
Not all DMV service companies are equal. The quality and ease of your transaction will depend upon the particular company you choose. Be aware that these companies are not required to be licensed or in any way regulated by the DMV. However, choosing a licensed provider will increase your chances of having a fast, secure and error-free transaction.
DMV service companies also vary in their technological capabilities, which are not always obvious to potential customers. A company that has a direct link to the DMV database will be able to process transactions faster and offer a wider range of services. Keep in mind that all this convenience comes at a price. Fees vary from company to company, and it’s best to inquire about costs before proceeding.
Lastly, Californians do need to visit the DMV in person for some matters. These independent service companies do not issue drivers’ licenses, permits or identification cards. For these items, please take a number.