Dealer Licensing in Idaho

In order to become a licensed automotive dealer in the state of Idaho, you must undergo a series of steps―a long series of steps. For starters, you will want to determine whether your activity warrants the need for a license. Simply, if you sell 5 vehicles/vessels or more in 1 calendar year, and if they each require a title, then you are required by law to possess an Idaho dealer license.

Step 1: Determine Whether You Need a Dealer License

If the following scenarios describe your actions, then you surely need permission to operate as a dealership:

  • I solicit the sale, exchange, or consignment of vehicles/vessels that are not titled in my name.
  • I sell, display for sale, exchange, or consign vehicles/vessels that are not titled in my name, as the displayer.
  • I sell, display for sale, exchange, or consign 5 vehicles/vessels or more during 1 calendar year, even though their titles do not bear my name.
  • I engage in the business of selling, exchanging, or consigning vehicles/vessels, or participate in any other actions that could commonly be construed as selling or exchanging vehicles/vessels.
  • I display vehicles/vessels for sale, exchange, or consignment on property that is neither owned nor controlled by the owners of the said vehicles/vessels.

If the next scenarios do in fact describe your actions, consider yourself off the hook. There is no need to obtain a dealership license if you do the following:

  • I sell fewer than 5 vehicles/vessels that bear my name on their titles per 1 calendar year.
  • I am part of an insurance company, financial institution, or public utility company that disposes of any vehicle/vessel incidental to typical business activities.
  • I manufacture or sell specialty vehicles, including fire trucks, fire engines, urban transit buses, ambulances, street sweepers, and hazardous material response vehicles.

Step 2: Name Your Dealership

Some may consider this the fun part (savor this moment; the rest of the tasks are a bit tedious). Before you apply as a dealer or before you obtain a dealer bond, you have to come up with a name for your dealership that is nowhere near the name of an already existing one. Call the Dealer Team at (208) 334-8681 to ensure that your proposed dealership's name is not deceptively similar to that of another.

Any dealership name with a D.B.A. (doing business as) must be filed as an assumed name with the Secretary of State's office. If a corporation, limited liability company, or a limited liability partnership owns the dealership, then you must go through the Secretary of State to submit verification. Call (208) 334-2300 for details.

Step 3: Obtain a Vehicle Dealer Performance Bond

You are required as a vehicle/vessel dealer by Idaho Code to obtain this bond and file it with the Transportation Department (ITD). Exact ownership, D.B.A., and dealership location must be shown on the bond exactly as it is listed on your Application for Dealer License(Form ITD 3170)

If you are a motorcycle, ATV, or snow machine dealer, you are required to have a $10,000 surety bond. If you are a retail motor vehicle dealer you must obtain a $20,000 bond from a corporate surety licensed to do business within Idaho. Wholesale only dealers must have a $40,000 surety bond. Your second option is to post a bond in the form of cash or a certificate of deposit. This will remain on file for 5 years after your dealership ceases operations as a business. It is important to keep this bond in effect during the full licensing period, or until your license becomes invalid.

Step 4: Obtain a Building and Zoning

You must have a permanent structure with a foundation, built to meet applicable building codes, in which to carry out your business transactions. It must be located in an area zoned by local authorities as an acceptable location to do such business.

To determine whether your building stands in an appropriately zoned area, you must either get a zoning official to sign your license application or obtain a letter of zoning approval. The same goes for off-site sales, location changes, and supplemental lots.

Step 5: Get Schooled

If you are hoping to obtain a license for a new dealership selling used vehicles, then you must attend an pre-licensing class, which lasts 8 hours, and pass a closed-book test. You must provide verification of attending the course and passing the test before the state will issue you a license. Questions? Call the Independent Automobile Dealer's Association at (800) 950-8227.

If you are simply renewing your license to operate a used-vehicle dealership, you will have to undergo at least 4 hours of education acceptable to the department before you can renew your license.

You may send a manager in your place, but if he/she quits, you must have another manager or employee fulfill the annual education requirement. This does not apply to franchised dealers and wholesalers.

Step 6: Complete the Idaho Vehicle Dealer License Application

Round up all the names of owners, partners, directors, and corporate officers involved in the dealership, and have each provide a personal history.

Inactive corporate officers need not obtain identification cards. Make sure the name of the dealership and its address both match what is listed on the bond you will submit with your application. Once all owners, partners, officers, and directors sign the application in the presence of a notary, and you have submitted all required materials, give the department 30 days to process your Application For Vehicle Or Vessel Dealership License (Form ITD 3170).

Step 7: Get Your Dealership Inspected

Once your application is approved, you will need to have your place of business inspected. First, the Dealer Licensing Team will contact the Motor Vehicle Investigator for your district. Then the investigator will contact you to make an appointment to inspect your dealership location. Once he/she verifies the location, display area, office, and sign, he/she will instruct you on how to complete the appropriate documents for titling.

Side Notes


You are required to obtain a letter of franchise approval from the manufacturer if your dealership will sell new vehicles/vessels. This goes for every type of new vehicle/vessel sold.

Personal History and Salesman Application:

When you, the owner, hire a new sales rep, remember to complete an Personal History And Salesperson Application (Form ITD 3171) for him/her. The NCR copy or photocopy of the application is his/her temporary license. This license is valid for 30 days.

Department of Finance Requirements

If you assess interest, late fees, carrying fees, or if you extend, assign, or take an assignment of credit, you must notify the Department of Finance at (888) 346-3378.


  • Initial Dealer License $190.
  • Owner/Officer ID $0; add $10 if a picture is taken.
  • Salesperson ID $26; add $10 if a picture is taken.
  • Dealer plates $20.74; includes $2.74 mailing fee.
  • Temporary 30-day registrations (out-of-state residents only) $180; books of 20 each.
  • Supplemental Lot License (per location) $44.
  • Temporary Supplemental Lot License (off site) $44; $88 for 2 dealers or more.
  • License reprints $18.

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