California Auctioneer Bond

All auctioneers and auction houses operating in California are required to have a California auctioneer bond. This California surety bond is a prerequisite for state licensing (auction license) and must be in the amount of $20,000, as outlined in Section 1812.600 of the Civil Code of the State of California.

What is a California Auctioneer Bond?

California auctioneer bonds safeguard the public against financial damage caused by auctioneers conducting business illegally or unethically. Unlawful acts include, but aren’t limited to, misrepresentation, false advertising, omissions of income, or contract breach.

Moreover, this surety bond is a contractual agreement between three parties. 

Principal - The auctioneer or auction house that needs the bond.

Obligee - The California Secretary of State—the party requiring the principal to get bonded.

Surety - The bonding company that underwrites and issues the bond. 

If an auctioneer or auction company (principal) fails to abide by federal and state laws, causing losses or financial harm, a bond claim can be made against them. The surety initially covers proven bond claims, but the principal is then required to pay them back in full, plus any legal fees. Note that the amount paid for damages cannot exceed the amount of the auctioneer surety bond ($20,000). 

An auctioneer surety bond is a liability. While it is something you need  in order to get an auction license in California, you hope never to use it. 

See What is a Surety Bond? for more information.

Who Needs This Surety Bond?

Licensing requirements to become a California auctioneer include obtaining a seller’s permit, sales tax number, and an auctioneer bond. In short, a California auctioneer bond is a licensing bond, and it is required to get a California auction license. Therefore, all auctioneers and auction companies operating in California are required to get this surety bond. 

Some California car dealers may also need this license—if their operation includes running auto auctions. In this case, they must apply for an auction license after they pass their DMV exam and obtain a California auto dealer license.

How to Obtain a California Auctioneer Bond

Step 1: Check Your Bonding Needs

Bond requirements, specifically bond amounts, frequently change. So double-check the bond type and amount you need with the California Secretary of State.

Step 2: Find a Surety Company

Evaluate the surety company you are applying with to ensure they have what you need. 

  • Licensed to issue bonds in California.
  • Offers California auctioneer bonds.
  • Well-established with good reviews.

For more details and tips, see our guide to Choosing the Right Surety Agency.

Step 3:  Apply for the Surety Bond

Depending on which surety you choose, you can apply for a bond over the phone, online, or through mail. The benefit of an online bond application is that it provides a free bond quote instantly—the best option if you are looking to get bonded fast!

Step 4:  Sign the Agreement

Sign the agreement, email or fax it back to your bond provider, and pay your invoice. Once everything is processed, you will receive an email copy of the surety bond. Additionally, the original bond will be sent to you in the mail. 

Step 5:  Send Your Bond Form

Send a complete bond form and the filing fee to:

California Secretary of State 

P.O. Box 942870 

Sacramento CA 94277-2870

Note: Mail is currently the only option for bond form filing with the California SOS—in-person and electronic submissions are not accepted.

How Much Does a California Auctioneer Bond Cost?

A California auctioneer bond costs a small percentage of the total bond amount. For example, an applicant with a good personal credit score will pay approximately 1% - 5% of the $20,000 ($200 - $1,000). Many sureties offer the option to pay this premium monthly or in one lump sum.

A surety may consider other factors during the underwriting process (determining your bond cost), which includes past bonding history, business history, and supplemental financial documents. 

Get an instant free quote for a California auctioneer bond.

Can I Get a Bond with Bad Credit?

Yes, in many cases you can get bonded with bad credit, including auctioneer bonds. 

However, since applicants with lower credit are deemed higher risk, their premium will be higher—often 5% - 10% of the total bond amount.


You can get a California auction bond in as little as 1 day if you apply online. All you need to get started is basic information such as your bond type, bond amount, and contact information.

An auctioneer bond is a licensing bond—a requirement for getting a business license. In this case, the auctioneer bond is needed to get a California auctioneer license. See License & Permit Bonds for more information.

When a bond claim is filed against you, you will be asked for additional information as part of the investigation process. If the claim is valid, the surety company issuing the bond will pay upfront for claim costs. However, the principal (bond holder) is then required to pay them back in full.

Contact your surety bond company immediately.

At JW Surety, we dedicate a bond specialist to every claim case. What this means is you have not only an expert to guide you through the claim process but also an advocate that will ensure that you don’t pay for false claims. Bond claims are not only costly, but they can also make it harder to secure future surety bonds.

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