Dealer Licensing in Rhode Island

Rhode Island classifies anyone who sells 4 vehicles or more in 1 year to be an official motor vehicle dealer. If you meet this criteria, you are required by law to have a valid dealer's license.

Setting Up Your Business

Before you can apply for your dealer's license, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You need to secure a building that provides at least 2,400 sq ft. of enclosed floor space.
  • Your building must be exclusively used for the selling and repairing of vehicles. In addition, it must also contain at least 2,400 sq ft. of outdoor lot space.
  • Your business must have a front sign that's at least 24 sq ft. in total size.
  • Your dealership must provide repair service.
  • Your dealer's license must be posted in a publicly accessible spot within your building.
  • You must have a working telephone at your dealership's licensed address.

1 yearThe Application March

Round One

Once you've set up your business, you'll need to complete the following steps:

  • Get your dealership's name approved by the Rhode Island Dealers' License & Hearing Board located at the DMV's Cranston location.
  • Complete Rhode Island's Application for Dealership/Renewal/Annex/Transfer as well as a financial statement and all employee forms. Notarization is also required.
  • Provide proof that your dealership has an approved credit line of $50,000.
  • A $50,000 surety bond from your insurance company. Make sure it's signed and notarized.
  • Submit a Bureau of Criminal Identification Authorization Form for each owner, partner, and corporate officer.
  • Furnish your dealership's lease agreement, which must include square feet dimensions and be valid for at least 1 year. This must be signed and notarized. If you own your building, bring your deed instead.
  • Bring a copy of city/town license, if applicable.
  • Provide zoning approval from your town/city.
  • Supply 4 pictures of your building from different angles, including an all encompassing long shot.

Round Two

After supplying all of the above information, your license bid will be evaluated by the Rhode Island DMV's Hearing Board. If they give you the thumbs up on a license, you will have 30 days to supply the following information before your application can be finalized:

  • A picture of your front sign displaying your dealership's name.
  • A $301.50 license fee.
    • Check or money order made payable to "Dealers' License & Regulation Office".
  • Your business telephone number.
  • Proof of dealer plate insurance coverage.

Once round two of filing and signing is completed, you must call (401) 462-5732 to make an appointment with the secretary to finalize your application. BBB Business Review