Dealer Licensing in West Virginia

You need a dealer license if you’re in the business of buying, selling, exchanging, or otherwise dealing with motor vehicles in West Virginia. Sound like you? Keep reading to find out how to apply for the correct dealer credentials.

Dealer License Minimum Requirements

First, you must request written information about the minimum requirements to establish a car dealership and obtain a dealer license by contacting the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) Dealer Services at (304) 926-0705.

Generally, the paperwork will contain requirements regarding:

  • The applicant:
    • What kind of dealer license do you want? Not all dealer license types have the same application requirements.
    • Certain situations (e.g. if you have a criminal record) can disqualify you from being eligible for a license.
  • Car dealerships:
    • West Virginia has regulations regarding what constitutes an established place of business when it comes to setting up your car dealership. Your location will need a certain number of square feet, specific office equipment, and a business sign. 

After determining you meet the criteria for your desired dealer license type and establish your place of business, contact Dealer Services again to schedule a pre-inspection appointment at your dealership.

At the inspection, the inspector will give you a car dealer license application packet

WV Dealer License Application Materials

Once your business location passes inspection, it’s time to complete the license application, provided by a DMV agent after your dealership passes pre-inspection.

Below is a GENERAL OUTLINE of what the application packet will include and/or request. Depending on the type of dealer license you want, your packet and requirements might differ.

  • A dealer application.
  • A Surety Bond (Form MV-126-DS-P) for $25,000.
    • Doesn’t apply to applicants for transporter, manufacturer, and repossession financial institution licenses.
  • A Dealer Vehicle Liability and Property Damage Certificate of Insurance (Form DMV-126-DS-J).
    • You must have 20/40/10 coverage:
      • $20,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in one accident.
      • $40,000 for bodily injury or death of two people or more in any accident.
      • $10,000 for property damage others sustain in one accident.
  • Personal property tax receipts from each owner, corporate officer, member, and partner OR an affidavit from the county in which the dealership is located stating no one owes any taxes.
  • Pictures showing the dealership meets building location requirements and the signage has letters at least 4 inches high.
  • Garage agreement (if applicable).
  • If you plan on selling new cars (i.e. will be a franchise dealer), the franchise agreement from the car manufacturer or distributor whose vehicles you’ll sell.
  • A valid West Virginia business license.
    • Apply for your business license and register your business with the Business Division of the West Virginia Secretary of State (SOS).
    • Except an additional business license fee.
  • The applicable fees.

Once Dealer Services receives your application materials, the office will:

  • Send a representative to gather the following for criminal background checks:
    • Fingerprints of each owner, corporate officer, member, and partner.
    • All signatures on a release of information waiver.
  • Contact:
    • The WV Tax Division to confirm your business is properly registered and in good standing.
    • WorkForce West Virginia to confirm you’re approved for non-delinquency of unemployment benefits.

If you need help while putting together your dealer license application, give Dealer Services a call at (304) 926-0705.

Finalize Dealer License Application

Once that’s all said and done, Dealer Services will team up with other state agencies to:

  • See that you have a non-delinquency of unemployment benefits.
  • Check your criminal history record (specifically that it states “no record”).
  • Get a letter of good standing for each owner, corporate officer, member, and partner stating no one owes any taxes.

After everything checks out, you’ll receive your dealer license certificate and dealer plates.

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