Dealer Licensing in Wisconsin
Are you thinking about selling motor vehicles in Wisconsin? If so, then we have all the information to help you get your new dealership off the ground.
Before anything else, you'll need to determine exactly which type of vehicle you'll sell and apply for the appropriate license. The most commonly used is the retail dealer license which covers several different forms of motor vehicleS.
Here's a list of the things that will be required of you before you will be permitted to open your dealership:
- A business location with a showroom of at least 12x20 feet, which must located in a business zone, and not be a residence.
- All local permits and zoning approvals for the business address.
- A sales tax seller's permit from the Department of Revenue.
- An irrevocable letter of credit or a $50,000 surety bond.
- The facility must have an in-house service department or be contracted in writing with a nearby repair service facility.
- One person who is licensed as a salesperson; either the dealership owner or another person.
- If the business property is not owned by the applicant, then there must be a lease in place for the real estate.
- A Certificate of Appointment from the manufacturer, also known as the franchise, if you plan to sell new vehicles.
- The dealer license fee, dealer plate fee and the Department of Financial Institutions fess must be paid.
- The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
- Have no convictions of any serious crimes related to selling cars or other vehicles.
- Be of good character.
There are several forms that you'll need to complete before you can be licensed to sell vehicles; refer to our Dealer Forms section for a comprehensive list of all forms.
Because of the requirement for original signatures and, in some cases, notarized documents, dealer license applications cannot be submitted online or by e-mail.
Here is the address you must use in order to submit your application:
- Wisconsin Department of Transportation
- Dealer Section
- 4802 Sheboygan Avenue, Room 201
- P.O. Box 7909
- Madison, WI 53707-7909
Fees for dealer licenses and other dealer-related needs vary depending on the type of license and material being ordered, i.e., plates and cards. Wisconsin provides an online chart of the exact fees you'll need to submit.
Once you obtain your dealer license, it will be valid for two years. The Department of Transportation will send you a renewal notice and instructions to renew your license, along with dealer license plates, salesperson licenses, buyer's licenses, and Salvage Buyer Identification (BID) Cards.
None of these can be renewed online; use the above address to mail your renewal material.
Of course you do! Head on over to Dealer-related Information to find out about the latest happenings in the automobile dealer industry.
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