Dealer-related Information in South Carolina
Here you'll find some of the most frequently asked questions about becoming a dealer in South Carolina that may not be thoroughly covered in the rest of our Dealers and Auto Industry sections.
Yes. South Carolina requires all prospective car dealers to attend an eight-hour pre-licensing course before they apply for their dealer license. For your convenience, the Carolina Independent Automobile Dealers Association (CIADA) offers this course year-round throughout the state.
You'll need to renew your dealer license each year. You'll complete the same Dealer Application you submitted to obtain your original license, but you'll check the renewal box located at the top of the application.
You'll also need to submit a Certification of Vehicles Sold, so keep a copy of this in your records and update regularly.
If there have been any changes in your business status―change of ownership, name or address, or if your license has expired past 90 days―you will need to schedule another appointment to have your business inspected before your renewal license can be issued.
After you have received your dealership license, you can purchase dealer tags from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Each dealer plate is $20 and valid for one year.
To be eligible for the dealer plates, you must sell a minumum of 20 vehicles in the 12 months before you apply for dealer plates. For the first 20 cars you sell, you are allowed to purchase two dealer tags; for each additional 15 cars you sell, you can purchase another tag.
If you loan a vehicle to a school for a driver's education program, the $20 plate fee will be waived. When the car is no longer being used for educational purposes, you must return the tag to the DMV.
Acting as a dealer or wholesaler without a license is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $1,000 and a prison sentence of up to two years.
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides two addresses for dealership concerns.
Charleston area residents can call (843) 953-6058, or write to:
- Dealer Central (For Automobile Dealerships Only)
- 8740 North Park Blvd.
- North Charleston, SC 29406
Columbia area residents can call (803) 896-5743, or write to:
- Dealer Central
- 800 Dutch Square Blvd.
- Dutch Square Plaza Bldg A, Suite 100
- Columbia, SC 29210
Other Topics in This Section
Your Opinion Matters To Us!Send Feedback
- New Study: Voice Texting and Traditional Texting Equally Distracting
- Bicycling While Boozing
- Federal Agency Stirring Around the Idea of Lowering BAC Limit to .05 Percent
- Pot Runs to Legalized Marijuana States Putting Cops on High Alert
- Behind the scenes: Iron Man & rental car insurance
- 5 Reasons to Welcome Big Brother Into Your Car
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.