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Idaho Auto Dealer License Guide

Applications for auto dealer licenses in Idaho are handled by the Idaho Transportation Department.

Determine Which Type of License You Need:

  • Wholesale
  • Retail

Each type of license is then broken down by the type of vehicle. Simply check the boxes which apply to you on the application form.


Verify Your Dealership Name

Prior to applying for your license and obtaining your auto dealer bond, you must verify your proposed dealership name by calling the Idaho Dealer Team at (208) 334-8681 to make sure that the name of the dealership is not deceptively similar to an existing dealership’s name.


Obtain a Permanent Business Location

Before you register your company or begin the process of obtaining your license, call the Dealer Team at 208-334-8681 to make sure that your proposed name isn’t too similar to an existing one.

Then complete the following steps:

  • Ensure you have an enclosed commercial structure built to meet applicable building codes. A letter of zoning approval or a zoning official's signature on the dealer application must be submitted. Zoning approval is also required for off-site sales, changes of location, and supplemental lots.
  • Declare which business hours the principal place of business will be open and staffed by a licensed salesperson. Retail dealers are required to be open to the public a minimum of 20 hours per week; wholesale dealers are required to have their licensed business office open four hours per week. A portion of these hours must be within traditional business hours (M-F, 8-5).
  • Obtain and affix an exterior sign to the land or building with letters that are clearly visible and readable from the main road, and meet local zoning requirements. The sign should include the trade name of the dealership, street address, and dealer number.
  • Ensure you have a dealership office that includes a locking office to keep books, a desk, filing cabinet; and a phone for the business with a listed number.
  • Ensure you have a display area large enough to display five or more vehicles/vessels of the type your dealer license licenses you to sell.


Attend Dealer Training Classes

The training class requirements only apply to used or wholesale dealerships, and not franchise dealerships. The requirements are as follows:

  • At least one active owner from a prospective dealership must attend an 8-hour pre-licensing class and pass a closed-book written examination prior to applying.
  • The owners or members of a corporation, limited liability corporation, or limited liability partnership who are not active in a dealership may designate a corporate substitute (a manager or employee) to attend class.

For information about where classes are available, you can contact the Idaho State Independent Automobile Dealer's Association at either 208-463-7709 or 800-950-8227.


Compile the Required Documents

You’ll need to gather and fill out the following documents:

  • A copy of the seller´s permit number issued in the name of the dealership by the Idaho Tax Commission must be submitted with any dealer application. The Idaho Tax Commission can be reached by phone at 208-334-7660 or 800-972-7660.
  • Your Federal Employer Identification Number issued by the IRS.
  • If your dealership will be selling new vehicles, a letter of franchise approval from the manufacturer is required for each type of new vehicle sold.
  • If you will be hiring salespeople, an application (ITD-3171) must be completed for each person hired. The photocopy (NCR copy) of this form will act as a temporary license for the salesperson for 30 days, but won’t be valid until submitted to ITD with fees. All owners must complete this form.

All owners/corporate officers must be listed in the application along with a personal history for each owner, partner, corporate officer, or director. Inactive corporate officers are not required to obtain identification cards.


Obtain Proof of Liability Insurance

A liability insurance certificate must be included with your application.

The minimum coverage amount is:

  • $25,000 bodily injury to one person
  • $50,000 bodily injury to two persons
  • $15,000 property damage or destruction.

The certificate needs to be issued with "any auto" or it needs to state that it complies with Idaho Code 49-1608A.


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).

Idaho requires all vehicle and vessel dealers to file a bond with the department upon initial application.

Bond Amount Required:
  • A $20,000 bond is required for all retail dealers
  • A $40,000 bond is required for wholesale-only dealers
  • A $10,000 bond is required for motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, utility vehicle, truck camper, and snow machine dealers

A bond may also be posted in the form of cash or a certificate of deposit. This type must remain on deposit until five years after the dealership has gone out of business. The bond must show the following information: exact ownership, DBAs, and the dealership location.

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Submit Your Application

Fill out and submit your application along with all the supporting documentation. Processing can take up to 30 days.

The name of the dealership and location must be accurate and match the information on the bond that is submitted with the application. All owners, partners, officers, or directors must sign the application in the appropriate area and their signatures must be notarized.

Fee: The fees vary and are detailed on the first page of the application.

Mail Your Application to: Idaho Transportation Department
Division of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707-1129


Pass Your Business Location Inspection

After your application has been approved, your district’s Motor Vehicle Investigator will be contacted by the Dealer Licensing Team and will call you to set up an appointment to inspect your dealership location.

The investigator will verify the location, display area, office, sign, and give instructions on how to complete documents for titling purposes.

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