How to get your license: Motor vehicle dealer
Who needs a license?
Businesses or auctioneers must have a motor vehicle dealer license to buy or sell the following items at wholesale or retail:
- New or used cars.
- New or used trucks.
- New or used motor homes.
If you don’t have a dealer license, it’s illegal to:
- Sell more than 4 vehicles registered to you in any 12 months.
- Buy and sell vehicles for the purpose of making a profit.
- Sell any number of vehicles that aren’t registered to you.
Business site requirements
Your business site must:
- Comply with all applicable building codes, zoning, and other land-use ordinances. For more information, please contact your city or county directly.
- Be located at a commercial property with an enclosed building.
- Have a permanent sign with the business name and the type of business (such as auto sales).
- Have an operating telecommunications system and a phone number listed in directory assistance.
- Be open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., five days per week. These hours are referred to as “normal business hours.” Additional hours and days of operation may be added at your discretion. You must prominently post the hours of operation at the main entrance doors.
- Have an area to maintain books, records, and files at the business site. If 2 or more vehicle dealer businesses share a location, all records, office facilities, and inventory must be physically separated and clearly identified.
What you’ll need
To get a license, you must have all of the following:
- $30,000 bond. Bonds are available through many insurance companies. We recommend you research the cost of your bond before you apply for a license.
- 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 valid for at least 1 year.
- The following completed forms:
- Business License Application
- Vehicle, Vessel, Vehicle Manufacturer, Registered Tow Truck Operator, Wrecker, or Scrap Metal Business Bond
- Vehicle Dealer Manufacturer Addendum.
- A separate Financial/Source of Funds Statement for each sole proprietor, partner, or business entity.
- If the business is a sole proprietor or partnership, each owner or partner must submit a separate form listing all of their personal assets and liabilities.
- If the business is a corporation, LLC, or LLP, submit 1 form that includes only the assets and liabilities of the business.
- A separate Personal Criminal History Statement for each owner, partner, corporate officer and member of the business.
- Fingerprint card for each owner, partner, corporate officer, and member of the business.
- Fingerprint cards are available by U.S. Mail only. To request fingerprint cards, call the Business Licensing Service at 800.451.7985.
- If the business is a Profit Corporation, Corporate Information form
- If the business is a Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Company Information form.
- If selling used vehicles only, a Certificate of Dealer Education as proof you completed at least 8 hours of approved training. To learn how how to get this certificate, call our Dealers Division at 360.664.6466.
How to apply
Mail all of the application materials listed above with a check or money order for the fee (payable to the Department of Revenue) to:
State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034
It’s a good idea to use the Dealer Checklist to make sure you’ve included everything in your application.
Note: Please let us know, in writing, if you have a change of address so we can reach you with information about your license.