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Wisconsin Auto Dealer License Guide

Auto dealer licenses are handled by the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation Dealer and Agent Section.

Determine Which Type of License You Need:

  • Retail Dealer License: Sell new or used to the public
  • Wholesaler Dealer License: Sell vehicles to other dealers only

Obtain a Permanent Business Location

The requirements for the location of your dealership are as follows:

  • You must have a permanent business location (meaning it cannot be a residence) with office space, a minimum 12x20-foot indoor area for the displaying of vehicles, and an adjacent outdoor display lot
  • You must obtain zoning and local permit approval for the location
  • You must have a business sign and clearly visible posted hours
  • You must provide a lease for your business’ location, unless you own it

The business facilities statement must be completed with your application.

Complete Salesperson Licensing

You must have at least one licensed salesperson in your business. This can be you or another person. All salespeople must pass a written exam; anyone who has held a Wisconsin salesperson license in the last five years is exempt from the exam requirement. Information on the exam and salesperson licensing can be found on the DOT site.

Obtain Your Auto Dealer Bond

The cost of a Wisconsin 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).

You’ll need to provide a surety bond or irrevocable line of credit. Fill out the bond form with your application.

Bond Amount Required:

  • $50,000
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Compile the Required Documents

The following documents are also required with your application:

  • Sales Tax Number; this can be obtained by contacting the Department of Revenue at 608-266-2776.
  • A written service agreement with a nearby service facility; alternately, you may also maintain a service department on site
  • A document showing that zoning and permit approval has been obtained for your business’ location
  • New vehicle dealers must also provide a manufacturer’s certificate of appointment (also known as a franchise agreement)

Submit Your Dealer License Application

Applications can only be submitted by mail. You’ll need to print and fill out the two copies of the Motor Vehicle Dealer Two Year License Application and one copy each of all the other documents listed on the Wisconsin DOT site. Then mail everything to the following address:

Dealer & Agent Section

4802 Sheboygan Avenue, Room 201

P.O. Box 7909

Madison, WI 53707-7909

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