Dealer Licensing in Kentucky

The Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) issues all dealer licenses in the state. To ensure acceptance of your application, you will need to make sure you meet all license requirements.

Keep reading for basic outline of all you need to apply for your Kentucky vehicle license.

Types of Kentucky Dealer Licenses

Kentucky offers the following types of dealer licenses:

  • New motor vehicles.
  • Used motor vehicles.
  • Motor vehicle leasing.
  • Wholesale.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Mobility vehicles.
  • Auction.
  • Nonprofit.
  • Restricted.
  • Recycler.

Applying for a KY Car Dealer License

Requirements for dealer license applications vary depending on what type of license you are applying for. In general, you should be prepared to provide:

  • A completed Application for Motor Vehicle Dealer License (Form TC 98-1).
    • This application includes detailed instructions and explanations of all the requirements you need to fulfill to obtain a KY dealer license.
  • Proof of approval from your city/county zoning authority.
    • The dealer application provides a space for the zoning official’s signature.
  • Your business name, which must clearly identify your business as a motor vehicle dealership.
  • Various photographs AND a drawing (to indicate dimensions) of the premises.
    • The dealer application provides space to attach your pictures and complete the drawing.
  • A financial statement, which should include information about your personal AND business assets, liabilities, and debts.
  • Your sales tax permit number.
  • A Certificate of Insurance, showing liability coverage in the amount of:
    • $250,000 per person.
    • $500,000 per occurrence.
    • $250,000 for property damage.
  • A copy of each applicable franchise agreement if you’ll be selling new cars.
  • A check made payable to “Kentucky State Treasurer” for the applicable fees:
    • Dealer license fee: $100.
    • Application fee: $40.
    • Criminal background check (for each owner, partner, and corporate officer): $20.

The MVC’s Dealer Handbook thoroughly explains the requirements for submitting a successful dealer license application. Remember, incomplete applications will result in the refusal of your license.

After reading over the handbook and confirming you have all the required items AND ensuring your established place of business meets all the state’s criteria, mail everything to:

Motor Vehicle Commission
105 Sea Hero Road, Suite 1
Frankfort, KY 40601

Generally, the Kentucky MVC meets on the 2nd Friday of each month; submit your application packet no later than 10 business days before this meeting to be placed on the agenda.

If you have lingering questions or would like further assistance in completing this (somewhat overwhelming) application, call the Motor Vehicle Commission at (502) 573-1000 for help. 

Business/Dealership Requirements

As a car dealer in Kentucky, your established place of business must:

  • Display a permanent business sign visible from the nearest road and identified the exact business name used on the application in letters at least 9 inches tall.
  • Have a display lot AND customer parking area that is:
    • At least 2,000 square feet.
    • Only for displaying cars for sale and customer parking.
    • Made of a hard surface, such as concrete or gravel.
    • Not open to public traffic flow.
  • Have a permanent enclosed commercial building.
    • The location can’t be a residence.
  • Have an office that:
    • Is located on or adjacent to the display lot.
    • Is on a permanent foundation or has underpinning.
    • Has at least 100 square feet of floor space.
    • Has typical office furniture and utilities including a desk, chairs, filing cabinets, a telephone, and electricity.
  • Meets all required building, zoning, AND land use regulations.
    • This includes meeting regulations related to the display and repair of motor vehicles.

Before you can receive your Kentucky dealer license, but after you’ve submitted your application, your business location needs to pass an inspection.

For more information about creating an established place of business, refer to the KY Dealer Handbook and/or contact the KY MVC at (502) 573-1000.

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