Dealer Licensing in New York

While it’s perfectly fine for you to sell a car here and there, there is a point when you can’t legally sell vehicles without becoming licensed as a retail dealer in New York. On this page, we’ll find that point at which you must obtain a license and outline the requirements for getting your retail dealer credentials.

Who Needs a NY Retail Dealer License?

New York regards you as a motor vehicle dealer if you:

  • Sell or offer for sale more than 5 motor vehicles, motorcycles, or trailers (excluding mobile home trailers) in 1 calendar year.

AND/OR

  • Display or allow the display of at least 3 motor vehicles, motorcycles, or trailers (excluding mobile home trailers) at any 1 time OR within any 1 calendar month on property you own or control.

Sound like what you want to do? Then it’s time to apply for a retail dealer license with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Apply for an NY Retail Dealer License

Submit the following to apply for a car dealer license in New York:

  • A completed Original Facility Application (Form VS-1D).
  • Proof of your business name if your dealership will operate as a:
  • Copies of the driver licenses (or other government-issued identification) for all business owners, officers, and/or members.
  • A copy of your Certificate of Authority from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance OR a valid NYS tax identification number.
  • Proof you have the proper workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
  • Business property ownership information; if you:
    • Own the premises: Copy of the deed, mortgage, or receipted tax bill.
    • Rent the premises: Copy of the rent or lease agreement AND copy of the deed, mortgage, or receipted tax bill from the property owner.
  • Receipts showing your purchased the dealer starter kit and required signs from an approved vendor.
  • Copy of the completed, sealed and signed Dealer Bond Under New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 415(6-b)(Form VS-3)* for the following amounts if you sell in 1 calendar year:
    • Up to 50 motor vehicles (that are not new vehicles) as retail or wholesale: $20,000.
    • More than 50 motor vehicles (that are not new vehicles) as retail or wholesale:  $100,000.
    • New (franchised) motor vehicles including passenger cars, light trucks, and SUVs: $50,000.
  • If you’ll sell new cars, the franchise agreement or letter of intent from the manufacturer.
  • Separate checks made payable to “Commissioner of Motor Vehicles” for each of the following retail dealer license fees:
    • $487.50 for the application and business fees.
    • $260 for the Retail Certificates of Sale you’ll receive after your dealership passes inspection.

Mail your application, supporting documents, and fees to:

NYS DMV Bureau of Consumer and Facility Services
Application Unit
P.O. Box 2700
Albany, NY 12220

Once your application is reviewed, you’ll get an appointment for an on-site investigation.

If you need help putting together your dealer license application, call the New York DMV at (518) 486-9786.

*NOTE: You’re EXEMPT from the dealer bond requirement if you sell ONLY trailers, motorcycles, ATVs, boats, snowmobiles, or vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs.

Requirements for NY Car Dealerships

After you submit your dealer application packet, a DMV agent will call to schedule a business inspection appointment. At your inspection, an automotive facilities inspector (AFI) will check for:

  • Proof(s) of identification (driver’s license or other government issued photo identification) for each person listed on your dealer license application.
  • Your completed dealer starter kit.
  • A permanently mounted official dealer sign (the NY DMV provides an example) that must:
    • Have white letters on a red background.
    • Be at least 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall.
    • Read “REGISTERED (YOUR FACILITY NUMBER) STATE OF NEW YORK MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER” in block letters 2 inches high.
    • Be visible at all times from the nearest roadway.
  • Obvious, permanent physical barrier(s) that separate your business (display areas, signs, and offices) from any other business that might share the location.
  • A display lot with the capacity to show at least 3 vehicles at all times
  • A mailbox for your business only.
  • Safe, locking cabinet, or other container for safely storing and protecting security items.
  • Utilities such as heat and electricity.
  • Desk(s) and chairs.
  • A business telephone.

Once your dealership passes inspection, the NY DMV will provide you with the necessary registration and licensing certificates. Now get to selling those cars!

NY Motor Vehicle Dealers Regulations

Above, we’ve outlined everything you need to get your car dealership and license application approved. However, you should also refer to the state’s Motor Vehicle Dealers and Transporters Regulations (Form CR-78) for a wide array of supplementary details and helpful information like:

  • The agency telephone directory.
  • Temporary certificates and dealer plates.
  • How to handle vehicle sales.
  • Requirements for records and advertising.
  • Steps to take when it’s time to retire.

And remember, you can call the NY Department of Motor Vehicles directly at (518) 486-9786 with any lingering questions or concerns you have.

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