Dealer Licensing in Washington
Washington's Department of Licensing (DOL) requires a dealer license from businesses engaged in buying, selling, or brokering vehicles, as well as other businesses involved in vehicle sales and marketing. The intent of Washington's requirements for automobile dealers is to ensure fair business practices and quality products for the state's drivers and registered vehicle owners.
Washington residents are allowed to sell as many as four vehicles registered in their name over a year's time without being licensed. Beyond that, a vehicle dealer license from the Washington DOL is required for individuals or businesses that engage in the following with either new or used cars:
- Buying, selling, or leasing
- Listing, exchanging, brokering, or advertising vehicle sales
- Arranging, offering, soliciting, or negotiating vehicle sales for others
- Sale of vehicles that are not titled with the seller's name
The fee for a dealer license in Washington is $750, with a $250 annual renewal fee. Dealers in Washington may also obtain dealer plates, which are $33.
The following requirements apply to temporary plates for auto dealers and other vehicle businesses:
- Dealer plates may be used on vehicles for sale.
- Dealer plates may be used on vehicles operated by licensed dealers, their employees, and their spouses.
- Drivers of vehicles with dealer plates must carry identifying cards at all times.
- Vehicles using dealer plates may be test driven with a valid demonstration permit that is no older than three days.
There are other requirements for a vehicle dealer to obtain a license from the DOL in Washington, including specifications for the established place of business. The dealership must have the following:
- Commercial zoning
- Permanent, exterior signage
- Telephone book listing
- Regular hours
Washington auto dealers must be bonded for $30,000 if selling new vehicles, mobile homes, and travel trailers. The bond must be $5,000 for other dealers, including used car sellers.
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