How Can I Get My Dealer’s License

The used car market is booming. In some states—including California—used car sales actually outpace new vehicle sales. It’s a great time to become part of this industry, but in order to do so, you will need to acquire your dealer’s license. The question is, how can this be done?

You can receive specific information from your local DMV; as for an outline of the dealership license application process, see our checklist below.

How to Get My Dealer’s License in California

As you seek a dealer’s license in California, make sure you follow these steps:

  1. First, you will need to complete a live training course at the DMV, which covers some of the basics of buying, selling, attending auctions, etc. This class is usually six hours in length, and it’s just a one-time thing. Contact your DMV for a class schedule.
  2. After the class, you will be required to pass a brief test (40 questions) based on what you’ve learned. The fee for sitting for this exam is $16.
  3. From there, you’ll need to complete an application form, which you can download from the DMV website. The cost for filing is currently $176.
  4. To qualify for your license you’ll need an office, so make sure you have a location selected for where your dealership will be located.
  5. You will also need to get a local business license from your town/municipality. Some towns will have these applications online. The fee can vary, simply depending on which California town you call home.
  6. We also recommend going to the Board of Equalization to apply for a seller’s permit, which will allow you to buy vehicles tax free!
  7. It is also recommended to sign up for Live Scan fingerprinting, which costs around $50 and can be done through the Attorney General’s office. This is the most efficient way to get a background check.
  8. Finally, don’t forget to attend to the legal procedures necessary to set up a corporation, partnership, or LLC—however you want your dealership business to be structured.

Get a Dealer’s License in Other States

The tips we have given are all specific to California. In other states, the process will follow a similar trajectory, but may vary in some of the particulars. Again, the best way to inform yourself is to ask your DMV what steps you need to take.

Regardless of which state you live in, applying for a dealer license is necessary if you’re going to sell cars—and there may be some training, background checking, and expenses involved. With that said, used car sales are looking good these days, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. You may very well find that getting your dealer’s license is a worthwhile investment.

To learn more tips about running a successful dealership, we encourage you to stay tuned in to Get My Auto.