Do you want to start a used car dealership business in USA? If YES, here is how to get a car dealer license in Texas, California, Florida, Michigan, Maryland.

When you read the car dealer license requirements for states in the United States, would-be dealers usually assume that they need a ‘Lot’ to qualify for a license.

Important Facts to Note When Applying for Car Dealer License in USA

a. After careful research, it was found out that most states did not specifically say ‘lot’ in their licensing requirements. A state like California for example requires you to have a business location as you cannot sell from your home, but it doesn’t say anywhere that you need to have a lot.

b. In Texas also, there is no mention of a ‘lot’ requirement, though you need to have a business location. Missouri is another interesting example. It says that you need to have a display area or a lot; that goes to show that the display area can be inside a building and not outside it. We say this because we have seen auto businesses get a license this way in the state.

c. Colorado on the other hand requires a dealer office, or a permanently enclosed office where documents can be stored safely and that also has restrooms. It should also have parking spaces, signs that are at least 6 inches tall, and must comply with local zoning requirements. With this scenario at hand, you can simply find a location that meets the dealership license but without necessarily having a lot.

d. Another way you can get around the ‘car lot requirement’ problem if it is stringent in your state is to become a dealer under a dealer who already has satisfied these state requirements. What this means is that you will become a contracted agent of the licensed Dealership. This is the only way to get an Auto Dealer License without a Lot in really stringent states.

You need to align yourself with a dealership that does have a license. When you do that, you become a dealer as a complete entity (and with full license to buy and sell cars for profit) with all the access as any other DMV certified dealer, but without the need of having the building, land lot, surety bond, etc.

If you want to go this route, there are a lot of businesses that can help to match you with auto dealerships that have licenses, and would not mind taking on another business. You can find them by doing a simple search online.

But meanwhile, we are going to bring you the requirements for obtaining an auto dealership license in states in the United State that do not specifically require a land lot.

Your state’s secretary of state issues auto dealer’s licenses; and laws and regulations vary by state, so be sure to check your state’s laws before applying for an auto dealer’s license. In general, five categories of car dealers exist that require you to have a license if you sell more than three cars in a 12-month period: independent dealer, franchise dealer, service facility, wholesale dealer, auctions and salvage. State laws do not require auto dealers to have a storage lot, but do require auto dealers that fall into any one of these five categories to obtain a dealer’s license.

How to Easily Get a Car Dealer License Without a Lot in USA

1. Alabama

Auto dealers in Alabama must get two licenses: a regulatory license from the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) and a privilege license (business license) from your county’s probate office. To start, you need to determine the type of auto dealer license you need. Then you need to obtain a permanent business location and business sign.

You should then obtain your sales tax number if you are a retail dealer selling new and used vehicles. Your auto dealer license could be revoked if your coverage is not active or up to date. Obtain you auto dealer bond. Bond Amount Required are:

  • $10,000 for Used Car Dealer, Rebuilder and Reconditioner licenses
  • $25,000 for New Car Dealer license

You must obtain your regulatory license from the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) before applying for a privilege license. Complete and submit the online form and supporting documentation to the Alabama Department of Revenue (dealer license section). The last step is to obtain your privilege license. This license must be obtained from your county’s probate office.

2. Alaska

You must request an application packet for registration as a buyer’s agent and/or car dealership with the Dealer/Fleet Unit of the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which will require specific information from you as well as proofs of required bonds and insurance and your registration fee. You can request your car dealer application packet by mail or by phone. Mail your request to:

State of Alaska

Division of Motor Vehicles

Attn: Dealer/Fleet

1300 W. Benson Blvd. Ste. 300

Anchorage, AK 99503

Or you can call the AK DMV Dealer/Fleet Unit at (907) 269-3752.

Once you’ve received your packet, send the following documents to the AK to complete your application:

  • Your completed application form.
  • Your original, notarized surety bond for $50,000.
  • The surety bond is only $25,000 if you’re selling ONLY motorcycles.
  • Boat dealers do not need to purchase surety bonds.
  • The $50 registration fee.

3. Arizona

Car dealer licenses in Arizona are issued by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). To apply for a AZ dealer license, you will need to:

  • Complete a Motor Vehicle Dealer Application (Form 46-0408).
  • Provide your fingerprint cards (Form FD-258) in an envelope sealed by the fingerprint technician.
  • Provide any other applicable required documents.
  • Pay the $15 filing fee and $22 background check fee (per applicant).
  • Mail the application and all associated documents and fees to:

Motor Vehicle Division

Dealer Licensing Unit

P.O. Box 2100

MD 552M

Phoenix, AZ 85001

Most likely, you’ll also need to apply for a business license. For that, you need to visit the Arizona Department of Revenue (DOR) licensing guide.

4. Arkansas

The Arkansas Motor Vehicle Commission is responsible for issuing car dealer licenses in the state. If you are opening a new dealership, you should contact the zoning or ordinance section of the city or county where your business is located to intimate yourself of any changes in rules.

Then you need to obtain an auto dealer bond usually to the tune of $25,000. When sending your application, you must also send proof of liability insurance coverage on all vehicles that will be offered for sale.

You should then compile your documents and send in your application. If you are approved, you will get your license, but the police will need to inspect your facility to see if you have signage, filing system, documentation process and telephone listing.

5. California

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Occupational Licensing Section oversee all dealer license applications. The DMV requires all CA dealer license applicants to undergo a criminal background check. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction on your record could result in a denied application.

The full application process requires purchasing a surety bond, setting up an insurance policy, AND establishing a place of business. To start, you need to Complete a California Dealer License Application. Then you have to undergo criminal background check (including Live Scan fingerprinting). Purchase a California Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond.

  • Provide proof of dealer education completion and pass written exam (only for used and wholesale dealers)
  • Provide a copy of your rental or lease agreement
  • Include signed and dated pictures of your business according to DMV requirements
  • Include copy of city and/or county business license, Certificate of Occupancy, or Tax Certificate
  • Copy of Board of Equalization Resale Permit
  • Pay your fees ($175 initial license application fee, $1 Family Support Program fee, $100 Autobroker fee, $300 New Motor Vehicle Board fee, $71 / each dealer plate).

Submit your paperwork to the California DMV and wait for your approval. It could take up to 120 days to process your CA Dealer License Application and run a background check.

6. Colorado

You’ll need to apply for a dealer/wholesaler license with the Colorado Department of Revenue’s (DOR) Auto Industry Division (AID) if you plan to sell OR lease at least 3 vehicles during 1 calendar year at the same address. Before applying for your Colorado dealer/wholesaler license, you’ll need to Make sure you have a Net worth of at least $100,000, and a credit score of at least 701. You also need to

  • Obtain a pre-licensing education certificate (unless you have previously held one of these licenses within the last 3 years)
  • Pass the online Auto Industry Mastery Examination and include the Examination Affidavit (DR 2097)
  • Complete and include the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board Dealer/Wholesale License Application Addendum (DR 2109B) for each of the dealership’s owners, partners, members, stockholders, and others
  • Include secure verifiable identification such as a photocopy of a driver’s license for each of the above applicants
  • Complete the Restriction on Public Benefits affidavit (DR 4679) for all of the above parties
  • Complete a statement of financial condition (DR 2114) for each owner, member or partner. Corporations and LLCs must also file a financial statement
  • Complete the Dealer Plate Affidavit (DR 2640) and the Place of Business Affidavit (DR 2044)
  • Submit a Business Plan which includes information on staffing, sales projections, hours of operation, floor planning, and further business information regarding your dealership
  • Provide photographs of your business location
  • Include a copy of your Sales Tax License or your Colorado Sales Tax account number
  • Obtain $50,000 Colorado auto dealer bond
  • Pay your licensing fee – $519 for the July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 licensing period
  • Your Certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado SOS.
  • A copy of your $50,000 surety bond.
  • Your CO sales tax license.
  • The $519 application fee.

Once you have taken care of all of the above requirements, you are ready to submit your application to the Division. Your application will then be reviewed and you will be notified by the Division whether your application has been accepted or denied.

7. Connecticut

You can get your Connecticut Dealer License from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. To obtain a Connecticut dealer/repairer license, you must be approved by local authorities in the city or town where you plan to locate the dealership. To be a new car dealer, you must make an application to the Connecticut DMV for a dealer/repair license. The following items must be submitted with the application:

  • Proof of insurance.
  • Sales tax permit number.
  • Surety bond of $50,000 for each dealer license and $5,000 for each repair license.
  • An application fee of $140.
  • Application for dealer plates.
  • Application for inspection.
  • Articles of incorporation/operating agreements/owner information.

The completed application package needs to be mailed or brought in person to the following address:

Business Licensing Unit

60 State St.

Wethersfield, CT 06161

8. Delaware

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles all dealer licensing in the state. To apply for your Delaware dealer license, you will need to submit:

  • A completed Application for Dealer License (Form MV29).
  • Dealer licenses specifically are free, BUT expect to pay additional fees related to other parts of the application process.
  • A Signature Authorization (Form MV26).
  • A criminal history background check.
  • An available business name. The DE DMV checks this information for you.
  • Your business license from the Delaware Department of Revenue.
  • Proof of “good standing” with the Delaware Division of Corporations regarding the incorporation of your dealership in Delaware.
  • Proof of liability insurance showing how many dealer tags are on your policy.
  • Written approval from the zoning office.
  • An entrance permit issued by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) if your dealership is located on a road maintained by the state.
  • An estimate of the number of vehicles you expect to sell during the 1st year of business.
  • Payment for the $10 dealer tag fee (per tag).

Put your documents together and submit. But you need to know that before the Division of Motor Vehicles can approve your application, your dealership will need to pass an inspection.

9. Florida

The Florida DHSMV’s Bureau of Dealer Services issues and regulates motor vehicle dealer licenses. To start your application process, you have to attend a Pre-Licensing Dealer Training Course. You also need to get a permanent location. When your location is ready, contact the regional office responsible for dealerships to make an appointment with a compliance officer to inspect your location. You should also put together the following documents;

  • A copy of registration of business and/or fictitious trade name(s) with Florida’s Secretary of State, Division of Corporations
  • If the dealership is a corporation, the Articles of Incorporation, copies of corporate papers and corporate meeting minutes showing the election of corporate directors
  • If the dealership is a limited liability company, the Articles of Organization and Operating Agreement
  • If the dealership is a partnership, the Partnership Agreement
  • A sales tax number, available through the State of Florida, Department of Revenue
  • A federal employer identification number, available from the IRS.
  • Fingerprints and applicable fees ($54.25 per person)

You also need to obtain proof of your liability insurance and obtain your auto dealer bond. Fill out and submit your application (the form is called a HSMV 86056) with all required additional documents and send to the Motor Vehicle Field Operations, Regional Office.

10. Hawaii

The Motor Vehicle Industry Licensing Board, which operates under the HI Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ (DCCA) Professional and Vocational Licensing Division (PVL), handles vehicle dealership licensing in the state. Among the things to gather and submit for your application to be complete are:

  • A completed Application for License—Motor Vehicle Dealer or Auction (Form 1016R).
  • A self-inspection report including written descriptions AND simple drawings of the premises
  • A copy of the rental or lease agreement, if you don’t own the property.
  • A copy of proof that you have a line of credit OR surety bond
  • A current financial statement written and signed by a licensed public or certified public accountant
  • All applicable dealer licensing fees.

You can send your application by mail to:

Motor Vehicle Industry Licensing Board

DCCA, PVL Licensing Branch

P.O. Box 3469

Honolulu, HI 96801

Or in person to:

335 Merchant St.

Room 301

Honolulu, HI 96813

11. Idaho

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) handles car dealer license applications. Before turning in an Application for Vehicle or Vessel Dealership License (Form ITD 3170), you need to:

  • Verify Your Dealership Name that it does not clash with another, Obtain a Permanent Business Location
  • Ensure you have an enclosed commercial structure built to meet applicable building codes.
  • Declare which business hours the principal place of business will be open and staffed by a licensed salesperson.
  • Obtain and affix an exterior sign to the land or building with letters that are clearly visible and readable from the main road,
  • Ensure you have a dealership office that includes a locking office to keep books, a desk, filing cabinet; and a phone for the business with a listed number.
  • Attend Dealer Training Classes
  • Compile the Required Documents
  • Obtain Proof of Liability Insurance
  • Obtain Your Auto Dealer Bond

Fill out and submit your application along with all the supporting documentation. Processing can take up to 30 days. Mail Your Application to: Idaho Transportation Department

Division of Motor Vehicles

PO Box 7129

Boise, ID 83707-1129

12. Illinois

Dealer/Remitter Licensing Section of the Secretary of State’s Vehicle Services Department handles vehicle dealership licensing issues  in Illinois.

To start, you need to complete your application, purchase an Illinois motor vehicle dealer bond, purchase insurance from an insurance company, provide a copy of your lease, prove that your business is in good standing, undergo a criminal background check, take the training and then submit your application. Submit your Illinois Dealer License application, Illinois Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond and fees to the Secretary of State’s office:

Vehicle Services Department

Dealer Licensing Section

501 S. Second St. Room 069

Springfield, IL 62756

13. Iowa

To obtain a motor vehicle dealer’s license to sell at retail in Iowa, you’ll need to establish a place of business that includes an office, a repair facility, and a display area (not lot). Before your license can be issued, you’ll need to produce written evidence proving your business complies with all applicable zoning laws and requirements for incorporation. Mail your application, supporting paperwork, and fees to:

Office of Vehicle and Motor Carrier Services

Iowa Department of Transportation

P.O. Box 10382

Des Moines, IA 50306

An Iowa Dealer’s License lasts up to 2 years. They expire on December 31st of even-numbered years.

14. Kansas

In Kansas, you can apply for a car dealer license with the Department of Revenue (DOR). To apply for your Kansas dealer license, the Department of Revenue requires you to provide a completed:

  • Application for a Motor Vehicle Dealer License (Form D-17a) signed by the county treasurer in your business’ county.
  • Vehicle Dealer Bond (Form D-20) in the amount of $30,000. You’ll need to complete this form with the company providing the surety bond.
  • Certificates proving your business has:
  • Zoning approval from your business’ city/county zoning officials.
  • Sales tax registration.
  • Tax clearance.
  • Proper insurance coverage.
  • Photos of your dealership, including the storefront and required signage.
  • Payment for the applicable fee(s), as indicated on the dealer application.

Send your Kansas Dealer License Application, fees, proof of Kansas Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond, and all other necessary paperwork and requirements to the address below.

Kansas Department of Revenue

Division of Motor Vehicles

P.O. Box 12021

Topeka, KS 66612-2021

15. Louisiana

Auto dealer licenses in Louisiana are granted by the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission. To start, you need to determine the kind of license you need. You need to obtain a permanent business location where the books and records required for the conduct of the business are maintained and kept.

Your location must have a permanently affixed sign with the exact trade name placed in front of the business and clearly visible from the street or roadway. The minimum size is 4’x4’. A picture must be provided with your application. You must also have a listed landline phone.

You should then complete an educational seminar, and obtain garage liability insurance with minimum coverage of $55,000. Get your auto dealer bond, $20,000 (if you sell 119 units or less in a twelve-month period) and $35,000 (if you sell 120 units or more in a twelve month period). Then put together your documents and submit your application.

16. Maine

The licensing process is handled by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). The Bureau provides a complete dealer packet that explains the requirements and includes the documents applicants must provide. To start, make sure you have all of the following items to accompany your Complete Dealer Packet;

  • Payment for the applicable dealer licensing fees.

A completed AND notarized:

  • Dealer packet questionnaire.
  • Ordinance clearance for building, zoning, and land use.

A copy/copies of the:

  • Partnership agreement if your business is a partnership.
  • Business documents/applications from the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions.
  • Lease agreement, if you don’t own the property.
  • Plot plan.
  • Your sales tax number.
  • Your Federal ID from the OR your Social Security number.
  • Criminal background checks, conducted by the Maine State Police

After confirming you have all the required items above, your business location will need to pass an inspection as an established place of business.

Once your business location passes inspection, ask your insurance agency to submit the following items to the ME Bureau of Motor Vehicles on your behalf: R-1348 insurance, and the applicable surety bond amount. When your insurance is all sorted, submit your completed dealer license application to:

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Dealer and Agent Services

29 State House Station

Augusta, ME 04333

17. Maryland

The MD Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Business Licensing and Consumer Services Unit processes and issues car dealer licenses in Maryland. The requirements for dealer license applications vary depending on the type of license. Some (not all) of the general requirements include:

  • A completed dealer license application.
  • A zoning approval completed by a county zoning board official where your dealership is located.
  • A letter from the MD Department of Assessments and Taxation certifying that you’re registered to do business in the state under the name(s) on your application.
  • A completed car dealership inspection.
  • The packet includes a site inspection checklist explaining everything you need for your business to pass.
  • Criminal background check.
  • A surety bond.
  • Proof of worker’s compensation, if applicable.
  • A copy of your trader’s license from the circuit court where your dealership is located.
  • Your permit for use and occupancy if you’re using a trailer as an office.
  • If you’re applying for a new car dealer license, the franchise agreements from each vehicle manufacturer.
  • Payment for any applicable dealer license fees.

Before a license can be issued, you must attend dealer orientation. The request form is in the application packet. The orientation is held monthly from 9:00 AM – 12:00 noon. Return the form by fax to 410-768-7602 or mail your request to the address below. Upon receiving your orientation request, you will be scheduled for the next orientation.

18. Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, dealer licenses are issued on the city and town level at municipal offices. This means the process for obtaining your MA dealer license will differ from municipality to municipality. But we would provide you a general idea for it.

The first step to getting this license is to complete your forms, and they include; Zoning Application Form; Articles of Organization; Purchase and Sale Agreement; Lease Agreement (if applicable); Workers’ Compensation Insurance Affidavit. Next, you should Purchase a $25,000 MA Used Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond.

You must Purchase the bond from a licensed surety bond company. Send your Massachusetts Dealer License Application and original Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond to your local municipality and pay the registration fee of not more than $200, then wait. It could take up to 2 months for your MA Dealer License forms to be processed and approved.

19. Michigan

If you wish to sell more than 5 vehicles in a 12-month period in the state of Michigan, you will need to have a Michigan Dealer License. When submitting your Dealer License Application Packet be prepared to provide:

  • Personal information about all owners, partners, corporate officers, and directors.

A completed:

  • Uniform Vehicle Dealer Surety Bond (Form AR-0026).
  • Zoning Approval (REV 2013).
  • Municipality Approval (REV 2013).
  • Dealer Selection for Designated Branches (REV 2015).
  • Repair Facility Application (Form AR-0012).
  • You can substitute this with an agreement from a local registered repair facility.
  • Proof of no-fault fleet insurance.
  • Proof of worker’s compensation insurance.
  • If you plan on selling new cars (Class A dealer license), your manufacturer(s) franchise agreement(s).
  • A copy of the business creation document.
  • Your sales tax number.
  • Copy of the signed LiveScan Fingerprint Background Check Request (Form RI-030).
  • You must make an appointment with and pay a fee to the Michigan State Police (MSP) for your fingerprint scan.
  • A check or money order payable to “State of Michigan” for the applicable fees.

Mail your completed application packet and applicable fees to:

Michigan Department of State

Business Licensing Section

Traffic Safety Programs Division

Lansing, MI 48918

20. Minnesota

Legally in this state, you allowed to sell 5 vehicles a year without a dealer license as long as those vehicles are registered in your name. But to apply for a license, you have to first Fill out the entire Minnesota Vehicle Dealer License Application. Complete the Commercial Location Checklist

  • A commercial building is required. This means a permanent, enclosed building that is on a permanent foundation and connected to local sewer and water facilities or otherwise complies with local sanitary codes.
  • A commercial building may include part of a strip mall.
  • A separate entrance and separate address are maintained and the dealership is clearly identified as a separate business.
  • The dealership must be enclosed with floor to ceiling walls with a door that can be shut and locked to close off the entire entrance and is designated for the exclusive use of the dealership

Note that this makes no mention of a lot. Include the zoning approval form and purchase a Minnesota motor vehicle dealer bond. Provide a certification of compliance with Minnesota worker’s compensation law and include a verification of property lease or proof of ownership plus proof of signage.

Send your MN Dealer License Application, MN Dealer Bond, and other documentation to the Minnesota DPS by mail or fax to the Minnesota DPS at 651-296-2977 or mail it to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety – Driver and Vehicle Services. (Dealer Unit, 445 Minnesota St., Suite 186, St. Paul, MN 55101).

21. Mississippi

A Mississippi Auto Dealer License is a requirement for those who want to start their own auto dealership in the state of Mississippi. To start, you must Complete Mississippi Dealer License Application. You can do this by downloading the Mississippi Car Dealer License Application or by applying online.

Other Requirements include the following:

  • $100 application fee
  • Salesperson application and fee (Application of License for Salesman of New Motor Vehicles)
  • Biography of each principal/owner
  • Copy of latest financial statement
  • Sketch or pictures of business location
  • Manufacturer’s area marketing analysis

Purchase a $25,000 Mississippi Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond. You will not need to pay the entire $25,000 to get bonded. You will pay anywhere from 1-15% of the bond amount (so $250 – $3,750). This is a one-time payment, not a monthly payment. After you purchase your surety bond, it will be mailed to you.

Once you receive your surety bond in the mail, you are ready to submit your license application. Send the completed Mississippi Dealer License Application, original surety bond, and other required forms to:

Mississippi Motor Vehicle Commission

1755 Lelia Drive, Suite 200

Jackson, MS 39216

22. Missouri

Prior to submitting your application for a new/franchise or used dealer license in Missouri, you must:

  • Register your business with the MO Secretary of State (SOS).
  • Call the SOS at (573) 751-3827 for details.
  • Have your dealership pass an inspection.
  • Complete a dealer educational seminar IF you’re applying for a used motor vehicle dealer license.

You’ll need to set up an inspection appointment with a local member or designee of the MO State Highway Patrol troop in your area. Complete your Missouri dealer license application, get the place inspected and mail all the required items above to:

Motor Vehicle Bureau

Dealer Licensing Section

P.O. Box 43

301 West High, Room 370

Jefferson City, MO 65105

23. Nebraska

The Nebraska Motor Vehicle Industry Licensing Board (MVILB), oversees all car dealer licensing in the state. If your dealership will operate under a corporation or LLC, you must register with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Business Services Division.

Once that’s taken care of, apply for your Nebraska motor vehicle dealer license by submitting the following:

  • Dealer License Application (Form DLB-1A).
  • Applicable salesperson application(s); if you are:
  • A partner, LLC member, corporate officer, or sole owner: Application for Free Motor Vehicle, Trailer or Motorcycle Salesperson’s License (Form DLB-3Af).
  • None the above: Application for Motor Vehicle, Trailer or Motorcycle Salesperson’s License (Form DLB-3A).
  • Proof of zoning approval, which can be a copy of:
  • Your dealership’s zoning permit.
  • A letter from the local zoning authority, confirming your dealership is approved to do business.
  • Photos of your dealership and
  • A Certificate of Liability Insurance from a licensed Nebraska insurance provider.
  • Your Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance from the NE Department of Insurance OR Worker’s Compensation Waiver, depending on whether you elected coverage.
  • A $50,000 corporate surety bond on a form approved by the NE Attorney General (the agent issuing the bond should already have this form).
  • If applicable, a copy of your franchise agreement with the manufacturer whose cars you’re selling.

Mail the above items to:

Nebraska Motor Vehicle Industry Licensing Board

301 Centennial Mall South

P.O. Box 94697

Lincoln, NE 68509.

24. Nevada

The NV DMV provides a business license application packet (Form OBL335) for dealers, lessors, manufacturers, distributors, and rebuilders. Within this packet are the forms and other application requirements you must complete and submit to your nearest business license office:

  • An Application for Business License and Garage Registration (Form OBL237).
  • A Personal History Questionnaire (Form OBL242).
  • A Fingerprint Background Waiver (Form OBL 256).
  • A Vehicle Industry Business License Bond (Form OBL210) OR a deposit (in lieu of a bond) in the amount applicable to the type of vehicles you’ll sell:
  • Utility trailers or boat trailers that weigh up to 3,500 lbs.: $10,000.
  • Motorcycles, horse trailers (without living quarters), and utility trailers that weigh 3,501 lbs. or more: $50,000.
  • All other types of vehicles: $100,000.
  • Proof of insurance showing you have the required amount of liability coverage.
  • Your business license from the city or county in which your dealership is located.
  • Your fictitious firm name filing (if applicable).
  • A copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and Corporate that you filed with the Nevada Secretary of State (if applicable).
  • Your business’ federal identification number (FEIN).
  • Your business’ email address.
  • 2 color photographs that show the exterior of the business and its signage.
  • A Dealer Franchise Certification (Form OBL253) IF you’re applying to be a New vehicle dealer.
  • Payment for the applicable fees:
  • Fingerprint processing: $36.25 per principal.
  • Dealer license application: $126.

Once you are done, you will be ready for your inspection and your license.

25. New Jersey

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Business Licensing Services Bureau issues licenses. To apply for a New Jersey new and/or used car dealer license (and/or a long-term leasing license, if applicable), submit:

  • A copy of their driver’s license.
  • A passport-sized color photograph (write the name of the person on the back of the photo).
  • For each signatory listed as an employee, include a copy of a document that verifies employment status such as a W-2, W-4, or pay stub.

A copy of:

  • The Incorporation/Formation Papers, listing the date you filed with the New Jersey Division of Revenue (DOR).
  • The Alternate/Fictitious Name Filing Certificate (if applicable) from the DOR.
  • Your property’s deed, purchase agreement, or lease.
  • The FEIN Certificate certifying you registered for a federal tax identification number.
  • The New Jersey Certificate of Authority for collecting sales tax.
  • Your business’ telephone bill or installation order to prove you have a working phone on the premises.
  • Pictures and plans depicting the entire premise and signage for the business.
  • If you’re applying to be a new car dealer, the original manufacturer certificate completed by the vehicle manufacturer.

Mail the above to:

Motor Vehicle Commission

Business Licensing Services Bureau

Dealer Licensing Unit

P.O. Box 171

225 East State Street

Trenton, NJ 08666

Once your application is received, an agent from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission will come to inspect your business location.

26. New Mexico

Your first move in starting your New Mexico dealership license is to determine the type of vehicles you would like to sell. Before you start the licensing, you will have to form a business entity and find a suitable business location. The most important requirements include:

  • Complete the Application Information form about all partners
  • Fill in the Application Affidavit form to report on any license revocations or felonies
  • Complete the Place of Business Affidavit
  • Submit photos of your business location
  • Provide your county or city license
  • Proof for proper zoning

An agent of the MVD will visit your location and on the basis of the information provided and will complete the Inspection Certificate of Dealer/Dismantler Place of Business

  • Pass a pre-licensing class with the New Mexico Independent Automobile Dealer Association
  • Post a surety bond

The license fee is $50. Your license will be active for one year, starting on April 1st and expiring on March 31st each year.

27. North Carolina

Before you can get a car dealer license, you must have an established salesroom, meaning your place of business must:

  • Have at least 96 square feet of floor space in a permanent enclosed building, separated from any other businesses and/or residences.
  • Be the permanent place where you conduct business.
  • Have space to safely store business books, records, and files.
  • Have reasonable hours of operation when the public can contact you.
  • Display a sign with your business name in block letters at least 3 inches high in colors that contrast with the sign’s background.
  • Follow all state, county, and municipal zoning regulations.

Once you have your salesroom sorted, call the License and Theft Bureau office that’s local to your dealership to schedule an inspection.

28. Oklahoma

The application packet for initial dealer franchise license(s) provided by the OMVC will include all the necessary forms you will need to complete for your application. In addition to the completed included forms, you will need to provide:

  • A brief history of the business AND each owner or manager who will be active in daily operations.
  • Include any past dealership ownership and employment.
  • A list of names, addresses, phone numbers, and contacts for the manufacturers and/or distributors of the motor vehicles you’ll sell.
  • Dealer Agreements.
  • You can submit your application without these agreements, but your franchise license will be “contingent upon” the OMVC receiving them.
  • Management Agreement.
  • You must file the Management Agreement with the OMVC if you’re a buyer taking over dealership management prior to licensing and factory approval.
  • Check or money order made payable to “Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission” for the $300 fee (per franchise).
  • Mail your application materials and fees to:

Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission

4334 NW Expressway, Suite 183

Oklahoma City, OK 73116

The OMVC reviews applications on the 2nd Tuesday of each month—the deadline to submit your application materials and fees is the Monday 8 days before that meeting.

29. Oregon

With its application packet, Oregon’s Business Licensing Unit makes it easy for you to apply for a dealer license. An inspector from the Oregon Business Licensing Unit will check to ensure your car dealership has:

  • Enough space to showcase at least 1 motor vehicle.
  • A way for the public to contact you or an employee during normal business hours.
  • A secure area for storing registration documents and private records.
  • Your car dealer certificate publicly displayed.
  • An exterior sign that is:
  • Permanently affixed to the building or land.
  • Shows the business name as it appears on the dealer certificate in letters visible from a main roadway.

If you meet the requirements of location (which does not need a lot), you can gather your documents and mail them to the bureau.

Mail your application to:

DMV Headquarters

1905 Lana Ave NE

Salem, OR 97314

30. South Dakota

To apply for your car dealer license, you’ll need to submit a completed South Dakota Dealer License Application (Form MV-902) showing proof of:

  • A $25,000 surety bond.
  • A $300,000 public liability insurance policy.
  • Verification your principal place of business meets all local zoning ordinances.
  • If you’re applying to be a franchise dealer (i.e. will sell new cars), all applicable franchise agreements.
  • Payment for the $300 dealer license fee.

Submit the application materials and fees to the county treasurer in the county where your dealership will be located. Once your application is processed, a dealer inspector will inspect your place of business to ensure it meets all state requirements for a principal place of business. Once your dealership passes inspection, you’ll receive your South Dakota dealer license.

31. Texas

Licensing requirements include:

  • Proof of an established and permanent business location (proof of lease or ownership), that is compliant with local zoning and equipped with a permanent business sign. It should have space for at least five vehicles of the type that you want to deal with.
  • Certificate of Incorporation, Organization or Partnerships to prove the legality of the entity applying for a license.
  • If your company is a partnership, corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership, you have to provide your Employer Identification Number (EIN), obtained from the Internal Revenue Service, on your application form.
  • For most types of licenses, you need to submit a surety bond in the amount of $25,000. The bond should cover a period of two years that matches the dates of the license duration.
  • Your EIN or social security number
  • A copy of the ID of every owner, office or general partner listed in the application

An indispensable requirement for obtaining most types of Texas dealer licenses is to get a $25,000 Texas auto dealer bond. Only franchised dealers, travel trailer dealers and trailer/semitrailer dealers are exempted from this requirement. Once you’ve prepared all required documents, researched and chosen a solid surety agency, and obtained your bond, it’s time to submit your completed application.

32. Utah

Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division (MVED) is responsible for issuing licenses. To start, you have to obtain a permanent business location, and it must have the following requirements;

  • A permanent office for the sole purpose of managing the auto dealership (i.e., it cannot be shared with other businesses)
  • A permanent sign of at least 24 square feet identifying the licensed name of the dealership
  • A display area with room for at least three vehicles (not lot)
  • The business location must be easily accessible and the sign, office and display area must be adjacent to one another

Then you have to attend an eight-hour orientation course that can be taken online on MVED’s training website. The online course fee is $100. Dealers in Utah are required to obtain a surety bond. Your bonding company must fill out form TC-450 to be included in your application. You then have to compile the required documents and submit to;

Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division

210 N. 1950 W

Salt Lake City, UT 84134

33. Vermont

The Vermont DMV provides a helpful New Vermont Dealer Information Packet (Form VD-122). The packet contains all the information and instructions you need to apply for and maintain your dealer credentials. To apply for a VT dealer license, you need to provide:

A completed:

  • Application for Dealer Registration (Form VD-008).
  • Dealer License Background & Authority to Release (Form TA-VD-164).
  • A Vermont Zoning Compliance Certification (Form TA-VD-165).
  • The applicable ownership/rental document:
  • Own: Provide a copy of the deed.
  • Rent: Provide a rental or lease agreement that’s valid for a minimum of 1 year.
  • If you plan to sell new cars, a franchise agreement with the vehicle manufacturer(s) whose vehicles you’ll sell.
  • A Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond (Form TA-VD-114).
  • You must purchase an initial $35,000 surety bond, lasting at least 2 years; after that, your bond amount is based on how many vehicles you sell.
  • Proof of insurance in your name for dealer plates.
  • The applicable dealer licensing fees:

Mail everything to:

Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles

120 State St.

Montpelier, VT 05603

34. Washington

While the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) issues dealer licenses, it’s the Department of Revenue’s (DOR) Business Licensing Service (BLS) that actually processes and prints them. In Washington, your dealership must meet the following business location requirements:

It must be located on a commercial property with an:

  • Enclosed building.
  • Exterior sign displaying your business name and business type that is permanently attached to the land or building.
  • Has a working telephone (mobile phones are acceptable) with a number listed in directory assistance.
  • Has an area to securely store records, files, and books.

To apply for your car dealer license; you’ll need:

A completed:

  • Business License Application (Form BLS-700-028).
  • Vehicle Dealer/Manufacturer Addendum (Form BLS-700-182).
  • Proof of a $30,000 surety bond, signed by you AND the bonding company’s attorney-in-fact must sign the bond.
  • You can provide an official form from your bonding company OR the Vehicle/Vessel Dealer, Vehicle Manufacturer, Registered Tow Truck Operator, or Wrecker Business Bond (Form DLR-430-205).
  • A Financial/Source of Funds Statement (Form DLR-430-206); if your dealership is a:
  • Sole proprietor or partnership: Each person must submit the form.
  • Corporation, LLC, or LLP: Submit 1 form including only the business assets and liabilities.
  • Personal/Criminal History Statements (Form BLS-700-324) for each owner, officer, and member.
  • Property tax statement or lease agreement for the business location.
  • Your Certificate of Dealer Education IF you’re applying to sell only used vehicles.
  • The applicable fees.

You can submit everything:

Online.

You must be able to scan and attach copies of all documents and pay by credit card or electronic check.

By mail, to:

State of Washington

Business Licensing Service

P.O. Box 9034

Olympia, WA 98507

35. Wisconsin

To successfully obtain a retail dealer license, you must cover the license prerequisites.

  • Secure a permanent business location that conforms with the requirements of the Wisconsin DoT
  • Provide proof of ownership or lease agreement for the location
  • Obtain a sales tax seller permit through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue
  • Obtain a zoning and local permit approval
  • Have your own service department or provide a copy of an agreement with a nearby service facility
  • Install a business sign with clearly display working hours
  • Pay your licensing, plate and Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) fees. These are $40 for the license, $150 for the plates and $20 to the DFI.
  • Obtain a $50,000 Wisconsin auto dealer bond

Posting your $50,000 Wisconsin auto dealer bond is an essential requirement of the licensing process. Without a bond, you cannot open your dealership. Visit the DOT’s website to download all necessary forms. Mail everything to:

Dealer and Agent Section

4802 Sheboygan Ave., Room 201

P.O. Box 7909

Madison, WI 53707

36. Wyoming

WYDOT requires the following of principal place of business (i.e your car dealership):

  • Your business must be located in a permanent building.
  • Can’t be a residence.
  • Must be where you store daily dealer records of inventory.
  • Must have a landline telephone with a number published in the phone book.
  • There must be space to display at least 5 motor vehicles IF you sell 12 motor vehicles or more annually.
  • Your exterior business sign must be permanently affixed to the building or land and clearly visible from the street.
  • If you sell fewer than 12 motor vehicles annually, the sign must display your business telephone number.
  • You must occupy the building on a continuous basis.
  • If you don’t, you must provide WYDOT with a written notice.

It should be noted that Wyoming, just like a few other states requires a display area, but it says nothing about a lot. To apply for your Wyoming dealer license, submit the following to the WY Department of Transportation (WYDOT):

  • A completed Application for Wyoming Vehicle Dealer and Manufacturer License (Form MV-422).
  • Documentation of your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
  • Copy of your Wyoming Sales/Use Tax License from the Wyoming Department of Revenue (DOR).
  • Contact the DOR for details on applying for this license.
  • Color photographs of your business location and sign, showing your business meets Wyoming’s requirements for car dealerships.
  • Written approval from the city or county zoning authority.
  • Copy of the lease or rental agreement for your business premises (if applicable).
  • Criminal background check materials and fees for each owner, officer, and member.

Mail everything to:

WYDOT ATTN: Motor Vehicle Services

5300 Bishop Blvd.

Cheyenne, WY 82009

37. Washington DC

To get a Washington Dealer License, you’ll need to establish a business location, complete a Washington dealer license application, purchase a Washington Motor Vehicle Dealer surety bond, and pay licensing fees. You might also need to complete a dealer education course.

Conclusion

It can be observed that one cannot obtain a car dealer license without a lot in all states of the US. This then means that one has to seek an alternative if the person does not have the money to finance a lot. Such alternatives have already been discussed at the beginning of this article, and I hope that they will be helpful to you.