To legally sell cars at auction in Georgia—and to buy cars at auction in some cases—you need a car auction license. A Georgia car auction license isn’t simply one license, though. Instead, it consists of two licenses.
Auto Dealer License: required for anyone selling or attempting to sell cars to make a profit. This license is issued through the Georgia Secretary of State (SOS).
Auctioneer License: required for all auctioneers and auction businesses in Georgia. This license is also issued through the Secretary of State, specifically the Georgia State Board of Registration of Used Motor Vehicle Dealers.
The guide below dives into the pre-licensing requirements and the main steps of each application. It will steer you in the right direction covering everything from what to expect from the pre-licensing seminars to finding the right surety bond and insurance.
Who Needs a Georgia Car Auction License?
There are two cases where an individual or business would need a Georgia car auction license:
- They are selling motor vehicles through a bidding process.
- They are buying motor vehicles at dealer-only car auctions.
Georgia Auto Auction Licensing Requirements
Used Car Dealer Training Course
All individuals looking to get an auto dealer license, specifically a used motor vehicle dealer license, are required to take a pre-licensing seminar. This training course:
- Must be issued through a Georgia SOS-approved education provider, such as GIADA or the Automobile Dealer Training Association.
- Is available online or in person.
- Takes approximately 4 hours to complete.
- Has no test or exam (you will be issued a certificate of completion at the end).
Place of Business
All car dealers need an established place of business before sending in their GA dealer license application. This location must:
- Meet all local zoning requirements.
- Have a sales room or office area.
- Have storage for all records and files related to the business.
- Be in a building or the lot of a used car dealership.
- Have a landline telephone set up with a listed phone number.
- Display a permanent sign advertising your business.
Important: Ensure that your location is ready before completing your Georgia dealer license application—the application requires photos that show the interior, exterior, and signage of your place of business. Furthermore, an inspector from the Secretary of State’s Professional Licensing Boards Division will examine your business location before approving your license.
Steps to Get a Car Auction License in Georgia
Step 1: Get a Sales Tax Number & Georgia Business License
Sales tax numbers and business licenses are acquired through the Georgia Department of Revenue. To apply, you will need basic information such as:
- The name, mailing address, and email address of you and any business partners
- Social security number
- Federal Identification Number (in some cases)
- Business structure information (sole proprietorship, corporation, etc.)
- NAICS code
Step 2: Obtain an Original Certificate of Insurance
You will need your insurance company to provide an original certificate of garage liability insurance on an Acord Form. This should include:
- Policy number
- Amount of coverage
- The exact name and address that you plan to put on your application
- The “Certificate Holder” listed as: State Board of Used Motor Vehicle Dealers, 237 Coliseum Drive, Macon, GA. 31217
Step 3: Get a Surety Bond
A $25,000 auto dealer bond is required to get licensed as an auto dealer in Georgia. You may also hear this referred to as a car auction license bond. This bond must:
- Expire on March 31st of even years
- Be in the exact name of the business
- Be an original and have power of attorney attached
- Be signed
How much does a Georgia auto dealer bond cost? The premium for this bond is a small percentage of the total cost—generally 1% - 5% for those with good credit. Larger surety bond providers, such as JW Surety, are often able to offer the lowest rates due to the volume of bonds they underwrite. Get a free auto dealer bond quote today.
Step 4: Pre-register for Fingerprinting
Fingerprinting is used as a background check for your application. You must pre-register before you submit your application. However, your application needs to be on file before you can get fingerprinted. Your results will be available for board review after the fingerprint process is complete.
Step 5: Fill Out Your Application and Gather Documents
Used car dealer license applications are available online. Ensure you complete all pages and attach all required documents, such as:
- Secure & verifiable document
- Driver’s License Copy
- Surety bond & power of attorney
- Certificate of insurance
- Photographs of established place of business
- Certificate of zoning compliance
- Affidavits (included in application packet)
- Seminar completion certificate
Once your application is complete, signed, notarized, and includes a check to cover the application fee, it is ready to submit. Completed applications take approximately 45 days to process.
Step 6: Set Up a Trust Account
All Georgia auctioneers must maintain an active trust account at all times. This account must:
- Be registered with the Georgia Auctioneers Commission.
- Permit examination by an authorized representative of the Auctioneers Commission.
Step 7: Complete the Auctioneer License Application
This Georgia auctioneer license application has a $200 fee and is only a few pages long. It requires general information about you as an individual, any criminal background, authorization to examine your trust account, and an affidavit.
Step 8: Take the Auctioneers Exam
All exams for the Georgia Auctioneers Commission are administered by PSI. Contact PSI for available examination dates and times.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Car Auction License in Georgia?
A car auction license in Georgia costs $370 ($170 for an auto dealer license & $200 for an auctioneer license).
This is the base fee to complete both applications. However, other variable fees to consider include a surety bond, insurance, and business registration.
Do You Need a License to Buy a Car from an Auction in Georgia?
Most Georgia car auctions are open to the public and do not require a dealer license to bid. However, some dealer auto auctions are for licensed automobile dealers only.
How Long Does It Take to Obtain a Car Auction License in Georgia?
A Georgia car auction license takes approximately 2 - 3 months to obtain. Application process times make up the bulk of this wait.
- A Georgia auctioneer license takes approximately 20 business days to process. The prerequisite for this application is a short 6-hour course.
- The used motor vehicle dealer application takes around 45 days to process.
How to Renew Your Car Auction License in Georgia?
Georgia car auction license renewals are done online through your account on the Georgia Online Licensing site.
- Auction licenses expire on February 28th of even numbered years.
- Used car dealer licenses expire on March 31st of even numbered years.
Licenses need to be renewed before their expiry date to avoid late fees. Additionally, used car dealer licenses require a 6-hour continuing education course for renewal.