Determine Which Type of License You Need:
- New and Used
- Used Only
- Trailers/Mobile Homes
Obtain a Permanent Business Location
Check the Illinois Administrative Code, Section 1020.10 for the requirements. Once you’ve met them, you’ll be inspected by Secretary of State personnel to determine if the established place of business requirement is met.
Attend Dealer Training Classes
Individuals applying for a used car dealer, broker, or wholesaler license for the first time are required to attend an eight-hour training course provided by the Illinois Secretary of State's office. The training must be completed prior to a license being issued. The training will cover a wide variety of topics which affect dealerships, for example, licensing requirements, applicable taxes and consumer protection laws.
To register for training, contact Regina Chausse via email ([email protected]) or call 217-785-2050.
Compile the Required Documents
You’ll need to acquire and fill out the following documents:
- A copy of the lease agreement (if the business location is leased)
- A statement that the applicant has been approved for registration under the Retailers' Occupation Tax Act by the Department of Revenue
Obtain Proof of Liability Insurance
A certificate of insurance in a solvent company authorized to do business in the State of Illinois must be included with your application. The policy must provide liability coverage in the minimum amounts of $100,000 for bodily injury to, or death of, any person, $300,000 for bodily injury to, or death of, two or more persons in any one accident, and $50,000 for damage to property. Trailer and mobile home dealers are exempt from this requirement.
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. You can also take a look at our most frequently asked surety bond questions.
- 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).
Vehicle dealers must be bonded for the first 36 consecutive months of operation, so long as they have not been delinquent or deficient in the transmittance of title/registration fees or taxes.Bond Amount Required:
- $20,000 for all auto dealers
It’s important you understand how surety bonds work and that you're responsible for paying claims in full.
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Submit Your Dealer License Application
Submit your application form, along with all supporting documentation, to the Illinois Vehicle Services Department.
- Certificate of Authority annual fee: $1,000 ($500 for a first application between June 15 and December 31)
- Master plates annual fee: $45
- Duplicate plates: $13
Additional fees can be found on page 4 of the dealer application.
Mail your application to:
Vehicle Services Department Dealer Licensing Section 501 S. Second St., Rm. 069 Springfield, IL 62756
The Office of the Secretary of State must process it within a reasonable time. This is usually between two and four weeks.