Types of Dealer Licenses

Beginning July 1, 2018, the Travel Trailer Dealer's license is now the Recreational Vehicle (RV) Dealer's license. Dealers selling RVs will no longer have a Regular Retail or Travel Trailer Dealer's license. Dealers must apply and exhibit one RV license. This license does not allow dealers to sell other types of motor vehicles at their location(s). Each RV license expires on the last day of the month a year after the date it is issued. The license must be prominently displayed at the dealership. If a dealer decides to sell RVs and additional types of vehicles, the dealer must have a license to sells RVs and a license to sell the other type of vehicle.The SCDMV issues several types of licenses for buying, selling, and trading motor vehicles. The type of business that you wish to operate will determine the type of license that is appropriate for you.

  • Motor Vehicle Dealer license: A motor vehicle dealer license, the most commonly issued license, allows you to sell retail or wholesale motor vehicles. Vehicles may be sold to the general public and any other dealer or wholesaler. As a licensed dealer, you are not required to sell a specific number of vehicles to maintain your license. However, you must have a dealer license if you sell or attempt to sell more than five vehicles in a calendar year.
  • Motor Vehicle Wholesaler license: Licensed motor vehicle wholesalers differ from dealers. Wholesalers are limited to whom they can sell motor vehicles. As a licensed wholesaler, you may only sell vehicles to licensed motor vehicle dealers or other licensed wholesalers. There are no limitations or requirements for the number of vehicles that you sell in a calendar year. However, you must have a wholesaler license if you attempt to sell more than five vehicles in a calendar year.
  • Motor Vehicle Wholesale Auction license: A motor vehicle wholesale auction license allows you to conduct a motor vehicle auction in your place of business. You do not own the vehicles auctioned. Other businesses actually own, buy, or sell the vehicles. Your wholesale auction license permits you to provide a building or place to conduct the auction. If you choose to purchase and sell vehicles belonging to the auction, you may do so.
  • Motorcycle Dealer license: As a motorcycle dealer, you are licensed to sell retail or wholesale motorcycles to the general public or any other dealer or wholesaler. Like motor vehicle dealers, you must have a motorcycle dealer license if you sell or attempt to sell more than five motorcycles in a calendar year.
  • Motorcycle Wholesaler license: Licensed motorcycle wholesalers differ from dealers. Wholesalers are limited to whom they can sell motorcycles. As a licensed motorcycle wholesaler, you may only sell motorcycles to licensed motorcycle dealers or other licensed motorcycle wholesalers. There are no limitations or requirements for the number of motorcycles that you sell in a calendar year. However, you must have a motorcycle wholesaler license if you attempt to sell more than five motorcycles in a calendar year.
  • Recreational Vehicle Dealer license: Individuals who affect or attempt to affect the sale of more than five recreational vehicles (RV) to the retail public in a calendar year is considered a dealer or wholesaler. An RV includes a motorhome, travel trailer, fifth-wheel trailer, or folding camping trailer designed to provide temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, or travel use. The sale of utility and other trailers does not require a dealer's license.
  • Temporary Recreational Vehicle Dealer license: You must be a licensed SC recreational vehicle (RV) dealer to apply for a temporary RV dealer license. This temporary license allows you to exhibit and sell travel trailers or motor homes at fairs, recreational or sports shows, vacation shows, or other similar events. Dealers may not purchase more than six temporary licenses in one year. This license applies to only one dealer operating in one location and is not transferable to any other dealer or location. The Temporary Recreational Vehicle Dealer License is valid for 10 consecutive days and the fee is $20 per license. You must complete the Application for a Temporary Recreational Vehicle Dealer's License (SCDMV Form 417-C) to receive this license.

Each license is valid for 12 months and should be displayed prominently in your place of business. Each license applies to only one dealer at one business location and is not transferable to any other dealer or location. Each license costs $50.

If you operate as a dealer or wholesaler without the proper license, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned for up to two years.

Quick Links

Inspection
Non-Franchise Dealers (Pre-Licensing Course)
National Criminal Search
Surety Bond
Tips to Remember

Applying for a Dealer License

You must apply for a dealer license with the SCDMV before beginning business as a dealer or wholesaler. The licensing requirements may differ depending on the type of license you require and whether or not you have been licensed before.
 
To get any type of dealer or wholesaler license, you must complete all required applications and pass an inspection by the SCDMV.

Applying For the First Time 

If you are applying for the first-time, you must submit the following forms depending on the type of license you are requesting. No fees are required to submit your application.

The Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License (SCDMV Form DLA-1) is the basic application for your dealer or wholesaler license. You must indicate the type of business you intend to operate, the address of your dealership, and provide information regarding your employees on this application. You must include estimates on the number of vehicles you expect to sell during your first year in business.

Mail your completed application to the appropriate address below:

 Standard Mail    Overnight Mail
SCDMV
Attn: Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0023
  SCDMV
Attn: Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit
10311 Wilson Boulevard, Building C
Blythewood, SC 29016-0023

The below steps (if applicable to your license type) must be completed before submitting your application:

  1. Attend a Pre-licensing Course (Non-Franchise Motor Vehicle Dealers Only) 
  2. Request a Courtesy Pre-Inspection of Business Location
    (for Retail Dealers only; contact our Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit at 803-896-2611 to receive your Dealer Agent's contact)
  3. File Articles of Authorization (if applicable: LLC, LLP, Inc., etc.)
  4. Apply and Obtain a SC DOR Retail License (Form SCDOR-111)
  5. Obtain City/County Compliance Document
    (i.e. business license/zoning permit/business registration, etc. or a letter from city/county stating a compliance document is not required for the trade name (DBA and location of business))
  6. Apply for and Obtain The National Criminal Report
  7. Obtain Surety Bond and Power of Attorney (for the appropriate amount)

Note: An eight-hour pre-licensing course is not required for the following: franchise, salvage, and rental dealers, as well as wholesale, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, and wholesale auto auction. 

Once completed the applicable, above steps, please submit all below documents per your license type.

Required documents for a Retail | Dealer License

  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1) Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License
  • Hand drawn or computer-generated diagram (indicating the: 1) structure/layout of the building and lot, 2) display area of the vehicles, and 3) office space)
  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1B) Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney (POA) for $30,000
    original bond and POA must be mailed; copies are not accepted
  • Pre-Licensing Course Certificate (original certificate must be mailed; copies are not accepted)
  • Certificate of Liability/Garage Insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)
  • Copy of SC Department of Revenue Retail License
  • City/County Compliance Document
    (i.e. business license/zoning permit/business registration, etc. or a letter from city/county stating a compliance document is not required for the trade name (DBA and location of dealership))
  • Articles of Authorization (if applicable: LLC, LLP, Inc., etc.)
  • (SCDMV Form AD-808A) Affidavit of Eligibility
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.
  • If hold an out of state DL or home address, please submit a front and back copy of your out of state Driver’s License
  • If not a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, but am lawfully present in the U.S., please submit a photocopy of your alien registration card or I-94 Number. 
  • The National Criminal Report
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.

Required documents for a Wholesale License

  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1) Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License
  • If reside out of state or hold an out of state license, please provide a business model indicating why you’re interested in conducting business in SC and what you plan on doing with your business.

  • Hand drawn or computer-generated diagram
    (indicating the: 1) structure/layout of the building, 2) office space, and 3) location for storing your records)

  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1B) Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney (POA) for $30,000
    original bond and POA must be mailed; copies are not accepted
  • (SCDMV Form DE-004A) Wholesale Dealer Agreement
  • Certificate of Liability/Garage Insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)
  • City/County Compliance Document
    (i.e. business license/zoning permit/business registration, etc. or a letter from city/county stating a compliance document is not required for the trade name (DBA and location of dealership))
  • Articles of Authorization (if applicable: LLC, LLP, Inc., etc.)
  • (SCDMV Form AD-808A) Affidavit of Eligibility
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.
  • If hold an out of state DL or home address, please submit a front and back copy of your out of state Driver’s License
  • If not a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, but am lawfully present in the U.S., please submit a photocopy of your alien registration card or I-94 Number.
  • The National Criminal Report
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.

     

Required documents for a Wholesale Auction License

  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1) Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License
  • Hand drawn or computer-generated diagram
    (indicating the: 1) structure/layout of the building, 2) display area of the vehicles, and 3) office space)
  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1B) Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney (POA) for $15,000
    original bond and POA must be mailed; copies are not accepted
  • (SCDMV Form DE-004A) Wholesale Dealer Agreement
  • Certificate of Liability/Garage Insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)
  • City/County Compliance Document
    (i.e. business license/zoning permit/business registration, etc. or a letter from city/county stating a compliance document is not required for the trade name (DBA and location of dealership))
  • Articles of Authorization (if applicable: LLC, LLP, Inc., etc.)
  • (SCDMV Form AD-808A) Affidavit of Eligibility
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.
  • If hold an out of state DL or home address, please submit a front and back copy of your out of state Driver’s License
  • If not a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, but am lawfully present in the U.S., please submit a photocopy of your alien registration card or I-94 Number.  
  • The National Criminal Report
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.

Required documents for a Motorcycle Dealer License

  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1) Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License
  • Hand drawn or computer-generated diagram
    (indicating the: 1) structure/layout of the building and lot, 2) display area of the vehicles, and 3) office space)
  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1B) Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney (POA) for $15,000
    original bond and POA must be mailed; copies are not accepted
  • Certificate of Liability/Garage Insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)
  • Copy of SC Department of Revenue Retail License
  • City/County Compliance Document
    (i.e. business license/zoning permit/business registration, etc. or a letter from city/county stating a compliance document is not required for the trade name (DBA and location of dealership))
  • Articles of Authorization (if applicable: LLC, LLP, Inc., etc.)
  • (SCDMV Form AD-808A) Affidavit of Eligibility
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.
  • If hold an out of state DL or home address, please submit a front and back copy of your out of state Driver’s License
  • If not a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, but am lawfully present in the U.S., please submit a photocopy of your alien registration card or I-94 Number.  
  • The National Criminal Report
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.

Required documents for a Motorcycle Wholesale License   

  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1) Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License
  • If reside out of state or hold an out of state license, please provide a business model indicating why you’re interested in conducting business in SC and what you plan on doing with your business.
  • Hand drawn or computer-generated diagram
    (indicating the: 1) structure/layout of the building, 2) display area of the vehicles, and 3) office space)
  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1B) Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney (POA) for $15,000
    original bond and POA must be mailed; copies are not accepted
  • (SCDMV Form DE-004A) Wholesale Dealer Agreement
  • Certificate of Liability/Garage Insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)
  • City/County Compliance Document
    (i.e. business license/zoning permit/business registration, etc. or a letter from city/county stating a compliance document is not required for the trade name (DBA and location of dealership))
  • Articles of Authorization (if applicable: LLC, LLP, Inc., etc.)
  • (SCDMV Form AD-808A) Affidavit of Eligibility
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.
  • If hold an out of state DL or home address, please submit a front and back copy of your out of state Driver’s License
  • If not a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, but am lawfully present in the U.S., please submit a photocopy of your alien registration card or I-94 Number. 
  • The National Criminal Report
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.

 Required documents for a Recreational Vehicle Dealer License

  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1) Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License
  • Hand drawn or computer-generated diagram
    (indicating the: 1) structure/layout of the building and lot, 2) display area of the vehicles, and 3) office space)
  • (SCDMV Form DLA-1B) Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney (POA) for $30,000
    original bond and POA must be mailed; copies are not accepted
  • Certificate of Liability/Garage Insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)
  • Copy of SC Department of Revenue Retail License
  • City/County Compliance Document
    (i.e. business license/zoning permit/business registration, etc. or a letter from city/county stating a compliance document is not required for the trade name (DBA and location of dealership))
  • Articles of Authorization (if applicable: LLC, LLP, Inc., etc.)
  • (SCDMV Form AD-808A) Affidavit of Eligibility
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.
  • If hold an out of state DL or home address, please submit a front and back copy of your out of state Driver’s License
  • If not a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, but am lawfully present in the U.S., please submit a photocopy of your alien registration card or I-94 Number. 
  • The National Criminal Report
    You must submit one for each owner owning 10% or more of the business.

If you are requesting a temporary recreational vehicle (RV) license permit to exhibit and sell travel trailers or motor homes at fairs, recreational or sport shows, vacation shows, or other similar events, you must complete the (SCDMV Form 417-C) Application for a Temporary Recreational Vehicle Dealer's License.

Dealers Requesting Additional Demonstration Plates

You will use this process when you have not met your sales volume.

  1. A letter of request, signed by the owner, specifying a) the number of dealer demonstration plates being requested and b) why the plates are being requested
  2. Current Certificate of Liability/Garage Insurance
  3. Listing of Sales | (SCDMV Form DLA-1C) Certification of Vehicle Sold or a similar printout including all the information recorded on this form

 Changes to Your Dealership

You must report any change in the information on your application to the SCDMV within 30 days.

You must complete a new application if you move your dealership to a new location, change the name of the business, change ownership, or change your license type or status from a wholesaler to a dealer.

You must notify the SCDMV within ten days in the event you close your business. You must return your dealer or wholesaler license and any plates issued to you.

SC Code of Laws 56-14-30 et seq.