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
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).
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:
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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.
- 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