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.

How to get your Auto Dealer License

Complete Guide for All 50 States


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.

Auto Dealer Insurance

There are several types of insurance coverages that are recommended for auto dealers, but the recommended coverage will vary based on your business and personal needs.


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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