Date Published: March 7, 2016

Step by step instructions on applying for your Florida Motor Vehicle Dealer License.

If you plan on selling as few as three cars or one mobile home within the span of one year, the state of Florida considers you to be a vehicle dealer. This means that you need to obtain a motor vehicle dealer license. While this may sound intimidating, it is not. Motor Vehicle Dealer LicenseThe process of applying for a motor vehicle dealer license in the state of Florida can be broken down into a series of simple steps. Simply follow the steps below, and you’ll be selling cars in no time!

Step 1: Determine Which Type of License You Need

Depending on what types of vehicles you plan on selling, the type of license you apply for will be different. A used car lot application is different than working with a franchise. Franchise dealers  sell vehicles directly from the manufacturer.  Will you sell cars directly to their new owners, or would you prefer a wholesale or auction-run dealership? Once you consider your answers to the questions above, the type of license you need is easy to decipher.

Types of Licenses:

Independent Dealer (VI)—This license allows you to sell used cars as a retail or wholesale dealer.

Wholesale Dealer (VW)—This grants you permission to sell to and buy from other licensed dealerships at wholesale prices and quantities.

Franchise Dealer (VF)—This license allows you to sell new and used vehicles in agreement with a specific manufacturer at retail prices and quantities.

Salvage (SD)—The Salvage Vehicle Dealer License allows you to sell salvaged and wrecked vehicles and/or their parts.

Auctions (VA)—This grants you permission to sell vehicles through the bid process on behalf of other licensed dealers.

Step 2: Take a Pre-Licensing Dealer Training Course

When applying for a license, you will need to provide a certificate or other proof of completion of a dealer training course. There are many department-approved motor vehicle dealer training schools. A list of approved courses can be found here.

Step 3: Pick a Location and Get It Approved

Before submitting your application, you must have the location of your dealership approved. Schedule a time for a Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles regional office compliance officer to examine your location. The Motor Vehicle Dealer License Application for the State of Florida will require that you submit proof that you can use your new location. Either a copy of the lease for your location or proof of ownership of the lot will be required. Remember, get your location approved prior to submitting your application. Contact your regional DMV to schedule an appointment to have your site approved.

Step 4: Obtain the Appropriate Insurance Policy

Independent, Auction, Wholesale, and Salvage Dealer Licenses require one of two types of insurance. Option one,  garage liability insurance with minimum general coverage of $25,000. Option two is a general liability insurance policy coupled with a business automobile policy. Franchise Dealer Licenses must submit the garage liability insurance certificate.

Step 5: Register and Establish Your Business

This is a multi-step process.

  • Registering your dealership with Florida’s Department of State, Division of Corporations
  • Obtain a federal employer identification number from the IRS
  • Get a sales tax number from the Florida Department of Revenue.

If your dealer ship will be a corporation you will need to provide a copy of corporate papers and the Articles of Incorporation.  If an LLC, a copy of the Articles of Organization and Operation will need to be provided. If the dealership is a partnership, a copy of the partnership agreement will be required. When you apply for your license, you will need to provide proof of the following:

  • Your business’s registration with the Division of Corporations
  • Your sales tax number
  • Appropriate organizational documents.

Step 6: Apply for an Original $25,000 Surety Bond

This process is quick and simple. If you get your bond from Surety1, the company’s easy online application will get your bond to you in no time. Employees from the company are ready and willing to walk you through the entire process. More information on the bond as well as a link to the online application can be found here.

Step 7: Submit Your Application

Complete Form HSMV 86056 online or at your local regional Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office to obtain your license. This is when you’ll submit the documentation you completed earlier, along with any applicable fees.

Enjoy your new life as a licensed Motor Vehicle Dealer!

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