Learn how to get a sub-agency license for your motor vehicle dealership.
You must follow all applicable laws and rules, even if they're not covered below.
Who needs a license?
You must get a sub-agency license for:
- Each additional location where you sell cars (other than your first licensed location)
- Each name you do business under (other than your company's "doing business as"/DBA name)
- Each website address (URL) that is not a derivative of your DBA name and which you use to advertise vehicles for sale (including URL redirect addresses)
How to apply
Follow these steps to apply for your vehicle dealer sub-agency license.
Note: We issue this license, but the Department of Revenue's Business Licensing Service (BLS) processes it. BLS prints it on the business license they provide. They refer to licenses we issue as endorsements to the business license.
1. Meet the business site requirements
Your business site must meet the following requirements.
Laws and rules
Follow all applicable building codes, zoning laws, and other land-use ordinances. For more information, contact your city or county.
Your business must be located on a commercial property with an enclosed building.
Place a permanent exterior sign on the land or building with the business name and the type of business (such as auto sales).
Have an operating phone number listed in directory assistance. You may choose to use and list a mobile number.
Be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 5 days a week. You may choose to be open for longer hours and/or on additional days.
Have an area for books, records, and files. If you share a location with another vehicle dealer business, your records, office facilities, and inventory must be physically separated and clearly identified.
2. Complete the required documents
Complete these documents to apply for your business license:
- Business License Application
- Vehicle Dealer/Manufacturer Addendum
- A copy of your property tax statement or the rental/lease agreement for the business site as proof of ownership
Use the Vehicle, Vessel Dealer Business Bond or a form from the bonding company.
You can get a bond through an insurance company. On the bond form, the principal name must be exactly the same as both the business owner and business firm name. Both you and the bonding company's attorney-in-fact must sign the form.
3. Review the checklist
Use our Dealer Checklist to make sure you're ready to apply.
4. Submit your application
You must pay the vehicle dealer sub-agency license and plate fees when you apply. Choose the method that works best for you.
Apply for your license online
You'll receive your license faster by applying and paying online.
Apply online at the Department of Revenue's website.
Apply for your license by mail
Mail your forms and a check or money order for the license and plate fees (payable to the Department of Revenue) to:
State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034
After you get your license
You may not do business until you have your license. Once you receive it, you must:
- Post a license at each of your business locations
- Create an E-permits account to issue and manage temporary permits
- Sign up to search for vehicle registration information
Temporary sub-agency permits
If you need a short-term permit for a car show or other event, complete a Dealer Temporary Sub-Agency License Application form.
Mail your form with a check or money order for the temporary sub-agency fee (payable to the Department of Licensing) to:
Department of Licensing
PO Box 35001
Seattle, WA 98124-3401