Before you start the dealer licensing process, you must determine which auto dealer license you need. Take a look at the various license types that are required for various kinds of dealers below:
- Franchise Dealer: Allows the licensee to sell new motor vehicles under an agreement with a manufacturer. It also permits the licensee to sell used motor vehicles.
- Service facility: Allows licensed franchise dealers to service the makes of vehicle that they sell.
- Independent Dealer: Allows the licensee to buy and sell used motor vehicles at the retail or wholesale level.
- Wholesale Dealer: Allows licensees to buy, sell and deal in motor vehicles exclusively wholesale or with motor vehicle auctions.
Аttend a Pre-Licensing Dealer Training Course
All dealers are required to complete a training course at a department-approved dealer training school. A copy of the dealer training course completion certificate from a department-approved training school is required with your dealership application.
Obtain a Permanent Business Location
You’ll need to obtain a business location first. When your location is ready, contact the regional office responsible for dealerships to make an appointment with a compliance officer to inspect your location.
- The office must be in a permanent structure
- The office cannot be in a residence
- The office must have at least 100 square feet of interior floor space, not including hallways, closets, or restrooms. Additionally, the area must have at least a seven-foot ceiling height.
Compile the Required Documents
You’ll need to supply the following completed documents:
- A copy of registration of business and/or fictitious trade name(s) with Florida's Secretary of State, Division of Corporations (available online at www.sunbiz.org)
- 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)
Note: Franchise dealers must meet additional requirements.
Obtain Proof of Liability Insurance
Independent, Auction, Wholesale, and Salvage dealers all have the option to submit a copy of a certificate for garage liability insurance or, alternatively, an insurance policy for general liability along with a business automobile policy. That policy must cover:
- $25,000 in combined single-limit liability coverage. This must include bodily injury and property damage protection
- $10,000 in personal injury protection is also required
Note: Franchise dealers (VF) can only submit the garage liability insurance certificate.
Obtain Your Auto Dealer Bond
The cost of an auto dealer bond is a small percentage of the total bond amount. The bond cost varies depending on your financial strength, e.g. personal credit.
- Fill out our online application form to obtain a free bond quote for your auto dealer license. It takes 5 minutes and you will be able to lock your rate for the next 90 days (in case you want to purchase the bond).
All dealers are required to be bonded. You’ll need to fill out a HSMV form 86020.
Bond Amount Required: $25,000
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Submit Your Dealer License Application
Fill out and submit your application (the form is called a HSMV 86056 with all required additional documents.
Fees (all checks must be payable to DHSMV):
- For motor vehicle dealers, the fee is $300
- For mobile home or recreational vehicle dealers, the fee is $340
If all documents are in order, the license will be submitted to and issued by the Motor Vehicle Field Operations, Regional Office.
At the same time, the electronic fingerprints submitted with the application will be processed through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Normal processing time is five business days.