Dealer Licensing in Iowa
Do you have a passion for cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles? Have you ever considered opening your own business? If you'd like to sell vehicles in the state of Iowa, there are licensing requirements you must satisfy to make your business legal. And if you sell more than six vehicles in a 12-month period, you must be licensed.
To obtain a motor vehicle dealer's license to sell at retail in Iowa, you'll need to establish a place of business that includes an office, a repair facility, and a display area.
Before your license can be issued, you'll need to produce written evidence proving your business complies with all applicable zoning laws and requirements for incorporation. If your business will involve selling new cars rather than (or in addition to) used, you'll also need to be franchised by the manufacturer or an authorized distributor of each make you plan to sell.
You can download an application for the motor vehicle dealer's license from the Iowa Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division. The application requires the free Adobe Reader software to print from your computer.
Iowa motor vehicle dealer's licenses are issued for two, four, or six years and cost $70, $140, or $210, respectively. You'll pay additional fees to register and obtain license plates for your vehicles, or to obtain a license to sell mobile homes or travel trailers.
Mail your application, supporting paperwork, and fees to:
- Office of Vehicle Services
- Iowa Department of Transportation
- 6310 SE Convenience Blvd.
- Ankeny, IA 50021
- Mailing address:
- P.O. Box 9204
- Des Moines, IA 50306-9204
Applications will not be approved without documentation of your financial liability coverage and an on-site business inspection by a motor vehicle enforcement investigator.
To learn more about selling motor vehicles in Iowa, visit the Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division.
Other Types of Licenses
After you've obtained a motor vehicle dealer's license, you may be required to carry other licenses to legally do business in Iowa. The type of licenses needed depends on the purpose of your business:
- If you intend to lease cars for periods longer than 60 days, you'll need to obtain a leasing license.
- If you wish to sell used parts, rebuild vehicles, or engage in the business of vehicle salvage, you'll need a vehicle recycler's license.
- If you want to sell mobile homes or manufactured homes, you'll need a mobile home retailer's license.
- If you plan to sell travel trailers, you'll need a travel trailer dealer's license.
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