Dealer-related Information in South CarolinaPage Overview
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 pre-licensing course lasting 8 hours 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 with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You'll complete the same Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License (Form DLA-1) 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 by Dealer (Form DLA-1C), 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 DMV. Each dealer plate is $20 and expires when your dealer license expires.
To be eligible for the dealer plates, you must sell a minimum 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 2 dealer tags; for each additional 15 cars you sell, you can purchase 1 additional 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 2 years.
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides several ways to contact them with dealer questions.
Dealers can call (843) 953-6058, or write to:
- Dealer Central (For Automobile Dealerships Only)
- 8740 North Park Blvd.
- North Charleston, SC 29406
Questions about licensing and applications can also be directed to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit at (803) 896-2611.