How to get your license: Motor vehicle dealer
Who needs a license?
Businesses or auctioneers must have a dealer license to buy or sell 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 an exterior sign that is permanently affixed to the land or building 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.
All vehicle dealers are required to use the E–Permitting system. Find out more about E–Permitting.
What you’ll need
To get a license, you must have all of the following:
- $30,000 bond. Available through many insurance companies. 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 for at least 1 year.
- The following completed forms:
- If selling only used vehicles, submit a Certificate of Dealer Education as proof you completed the required training. To get this certificate, contact:
How to apply
Mail all materials and fee with a check or money order payable to Department of Revenue:
State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507–9034
Use our Dealer Checklist to make sure you’ve included everything in your application.
Note: Let us know, in writing, if you have an address change so we can mail you information about your license.
Questions? Need help?