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Washington Auto Dealer License: Step-by-Step Guide

  • Learn how to get licensed in a few easy steps
  • Understand the licensing requirements for your state
  • Learn how to stay compliant
  • Get a free license bond quote in minutes
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Auto dealer licenses are handled by the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL).

Determine Which Type of License You Need:

  • Motor Vehicle Dealer (New Vehicle Sales or Used Vehicle Sales): Sell new or used vehicles to the public or wholesale
  • Motor Vehicle Dealer Subagency (New Vehicle Sales or Used Vehicle Sales)
  • Motor Vehicle Wholesaler: Sell used vehicles to other dealers only and not to the public

Note: There are also licenses for mobile home and trailer dealers, boat, off-road vehicle and snowmobile dealers

Obtain a Permanent Business Location

Your business site must:

  • Be an enclosed building at a commercial property.
  • Have a sign displaying the full name of the business and the type of business (i.e. “auto sales”)
  • Have a telephone installed
  • Operate during normal business hours or 10 AM – 4 PM, five days per week. Additional hours and days of operation may be added.
  • Have an area to maintain books, records, and files at the business site
  • Comply with all local zoning requirements, building codes and ordinances

Complete a Pre-Licensing Course (Used Vehicle Dealers Only)

If you are applying for a Used Motor Vehicle Dealer license, you are required to attend an eight-hour training course. To register for an accredited course, contact a provider:

  • Washington State Independent Automobile Dealers Association offers the eight-hour pre-licensing training for $300, phone 253-735-0267
  • Independent Dealers Education Association offers only a five-hour training course for license renewals, phone 509-220-5530

Obtain Your Auto Dealer Bond

You are required to obtain a surety bond and have it signed by the business owner or all partners (if the business is a partnership). A surety bond form must be filled out and submitted with your application.

Bond Amount Required:

  • $30,000

Compile the Required Documents

Other forms and certificates are required with your application. To make sure you have all of them, follow the checklist provided by the DOL. You will need:

  • Copy of your property tax statement or the rental/lease agreement for the business site as proof of ownership. The rental/lease agreement must be for at least 1 year.
  • Vehicle Dealer Manufacturer Addendum (follow the Instructions for Completion)
  • Financial/Source of Funds Statement this applies to sole proprietors, partners, or business entities. Here are the exact requirements:
    • If you are a sole proprietor or partnership, each of the partners must submit a separate form
    • If you are a corporation, LLC or LLP, you can submit one form that includes only the assets and liabilities of the business
  • Personal Criminal History Statement for each owner, partner, officer, manager or director
  • Fingerprint cards for each owner, partner, officer, manager or director; these can be obtained through the Department of Licensing or a law enforcement agency.

Submit Your Dealer License Application

Complete and submit your application to the Business Licensing Service. Online applications will be processed faster, typically within two business days; paper applications may take up to 21 days. Don’t forget to attach your bond and other supporting documentation.

Fees:

  • Motor Vehicle Dealer and Motor Vehicle Wholesaler License fee: $975
  • Dealer plates: $43 each
  • E-Permit: $15 each
  • Business License Application fee: $19
  • $5 to register your business name as a trade name

Mail all materials and fees with a check or money order payable to the Department of Revenue:

State of Washington

Business Licensing Service

PO Box 9034

Olympia, WA 98507-9034


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