Dealer Licensing in Florida
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The Florida DHSMV’s Division of Motorist Services issues and regulates numerous types of motor vehicle dealer licenses.
Most types of dealer licenses carry the same general requirements, but some—specifically those that go beyond buying, selling, and or otherwise dealing with basic motor vehicles—have additional requirements.
Types of Florida Dealer Licenses
You must obtain a motor vehicle dealer license if you will be:
- Buying, selling, leasing, or dealing 3 motor vehicles or more within a period of 12 months.
- Displaying 3 vehicles or more for sale or lease over the course of 12 months.
Currently, Florida offers a range of dealer licenses; here, we highlight how to become a used and new car dealer. Florida refers to them as:
- Independent Dealers (VI): For those dealing ONLY with used motor vehicles.
- Franchise Dealers (VF): For those with a manufacturer agreement, selling new motor vehicles and, if they choose, used motor vehicles, too.
For more information about becoming another type of motor vehicle dealer—such as a recreational vehicle or motor home dealer—refer to either of the following:
- Florida Motor Vehicle Dealer License Requirements brochure.
- Application for a License as a Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home or Recreational Vehicle Dealer(Form HSMV 86056).
For additional questions about which type of dealer license to apply for, call the Division of Motorist Services’ dealer licensing number at (850) 617-3003.
BEFORE you can apply for a Florida car dealer license, you must complete each of the following:
- Have a compliance examiner from your business’ local FL Division of Motorist Services regional office inspect and approve your dealership location.
- The Application for a License as a Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home or Recreational Vehicle Dealer (Form HSMV 86056) includes a booklet that explains each requirement your business location must meet.
- You should hold off on signing the lease for your prospective business location until completing this inspection.
- Once you’ve finished your training, you’ll receive a certificate of completion—put this in a safe place! You’ll need it to apply for your dealer license.
- Enroll in a licensed Florida dealer training program.
- Have electronic fingerprints taken for each officer of the dealership with a FL Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) vendor.
Once you’ve completed the items above, you can begin the application process.
Apply for a FL Car Dealer License
To apply for your independent or franchise dealer license, you’ll need to submit:
- A completed Application for a License as a Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home or Recreational Vehicle Dealer (Form HSMV 86056).
- Review the application and attached instructional booklet carefully to help ensure your application’s acceptance.
- Your certificate of completion for dealer training.
- Acceptable proof of:
- Electronic fingerprints taken with the FDLE.
- Ownership or lease for your dealership’s location.
- A Surety Bond (Form HSMV 86020) for $25,000 OR an Irrevocable Letter of Credit (Form HSMV 86057) from a bank authorized to do business in Florida.
- A copy of your:
- Business registration (stating you can do business in Florida) from the Florida Division of Corporations.
- Fictitious and/or business name registration with the Florida Division of Corporations.
- Proof of:
- Garage liability insurance.
- General liability AND business automobile insurance (independent dealers only).
- Garage liability insurance.
- Corporate papers and meeting minutes showing the election of corporate directors.
- Your sales tax and federal employer identification numbers.
- A check made payable to “DHSMV” for the $300 fee, required for each main location.
Once your application, documents, and fees are ready, submit everything to the Division of Motorist Services Regional Office responsible for your motor vehicle dealership.
Florida dealer licenses are renewed annually.