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Iowa Auto Dealer License Guide

Auto dealer license applications in Iowa are handled by the Iowa Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division.

Determine Which Type of License You Need:

Iowa has a single application for all dealer licenses. Simply check the type of vehicles you’ll be selling on the form.


Obtain a Permanent Business Location

Your business location must be a separate facility from other businesses and meet the following requirements:

  • It must be properly zoned, proven by attaching a letter from the office responsible in your city, town or county.
  • Have a listed landline telephone.
  • Maintain regular business hours (at least 32 hours from Monday to Friday).
  • Have an office containing business records.
  • Have a repair facility with a minimum amount of space to repair and recondition motor vehicles including the adequate access, equipment, and tools necessary. The minimum space must be a rectangle of no less than 14x24 feet without obstructions.
  • A display area measuring at least 18x30 feet.


Obtain Proof of Liability Insurance

You’ll need to provide proof of liability coverage covering $100,000 for bodily injury or death of one person, $300,000 for two or more persons, and $50,000 for injury or destruction of property in an accident is required of all dealers.


Attend a Pre-Licensing Course

All used vehicle dealer applicants must attend an eight-hour pre-licensing course. New vehicle dealers do not need to complete this course. Visit for more information.


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).

All vehicle dealers in Iowa must obtain a surety bond.

Bond Amount Required: $50,000 bond (for all auto dealers)

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Compile the Required Documents

You’ll need to provide the following documents along with your application:

  • A document detailing your criminal history (if any)
  • A franchise agreement, where applicable
  • All applicable state documents for incorporation (if your business is a corporation)


Submit Your Dealer License Application

Complete and submit your application, along with all supporting documentation, to the Iowa DOT.


  • Dealer license: $70
  • Registration fee: $70
  • Dealer plates: $40 each

Mail your full application to:
Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services
Iowa Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 9278
Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9278

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