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  Dealer Licenses
Types of Dealer Licenses

The Department of Motor Vehicles issues several types of licenses for buying, selling and trading motor vehicles. The type of business that you wish to operate should determine the type of license appropriate for you.

Each license is valid for a period of 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. The fee for each license is $50.00.

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.

  • Motor Vehicle Dealer License.   A motor vehicle dealer license, the most commonly issued license, will allow 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. 
      
     
  • Travel Trailer Dealer License.  A person is required to be a travel trailer dealer if they sell more than three travel trailers, new or used, or one travel trailer that has never been titled. These dealers are issued a regular dealer's license marked Travel Trailer Dealer. 
     
  • Travel Trailer/Camper Dealer License (Temporary).  You must be a licensed South Carolina travel or camper trailer dealer to apply for a temporary travel trailer dealer license. This temporary license permits you to exhibit and sell travel trailers (motor homes) at fairs, recreational and sports shows, vacation shows and 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 Travel Trailer/Camper Dealer License is valid for 10 consecutive days and the fee is $20.00 per license.

 

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Initial Application for a Dealer License

Before beginning business operations as a dealer or wholesaler, you must apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Depending upon the type of license you require and whether or not you have been licensed before, your licensing requirements may differ.

To obtain any type of dealer or wholesaler license, you must complete all required applications and pass an inspection by the Department of Motor Vehicles, Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit. As a first time applicant, you must submit the following forms depending on the type of license you are requesting. No fees are required to submit your application.

Retail Dealer License:

1.     Form DLA-1 Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License

2.     Diagram of your location to include building and display area

3.     Form DLA-1b Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney in the amount of $30,000

4.     Original Pre-Licensing Course Certificate

5.     Current proof of garage liability insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)

6.     Copy of SC Department of Revenue Retail License

7.     Form AD-020-A Affidavit of Eligibility for each owner owning 10% or more of the business

8.     SLED Criminal History report for each owner owning 10% or more of the business. Report cannot be more than 90 days old

 

Wholesale Dealer License:

1.     Form DLA-1 Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License

2.     Diagram of where records are stored

3.     Form DLA-1b Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney in the amount of $30,000

4.     Form DE-004A Wholesale Dealer Agreement

5.     Current proof of garage liability insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates

6.     Form AD-020-A Affidavit of Eligibility for each owner owning 10% or more of the business

7.     SLED Criminal History report for each owner owning 10% or more of the business. Report cannot be more than 90 days old

 

Motorcycle Dealer License:

1.     Form DLA-1 Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License

2.     Diagram of your location to include building and display area

3.     Form DLA-1b Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney in the amount of $15,000

4.     Current proof of garage liability insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)

5.     Copy of SC Department of Revenue Retail License

6.     Form AD-020-A Affidavit of Eligibility for each owner owning 10% or more of the business

7.     SLED Criminal History report for each owner owning 10% or more of the business. Report cannot be more than 90 days old

 

Wholesale Motorcycle License:

1.     Form DLA-1 Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License

2.     Diagram of where records are stored

3.     Form DLA-1b Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney in the amount of $15,000

4.    Form DE-004A Wholesaler Dealer Agreement

5.  Current proof of garage liability insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates)

6.     Form AD-020-A Affidavit of Eligibility for each owner owning 10% or more of the business

7.     SLED Criminal History report for each owner owning 10% or more of the business. Report cannot be more than 90 days old

Travel Trailer Dealer License:

1.     Form DLA-1 Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License

2.     Diagram of your location to include building and display area

3.     Form DLA-1b Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney in the amount of $15,000

4.     Current proof of garage liability insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates

5.     Copy of SC Department of Revenue Retail License

6.     Form AD-020-A Affidavit of Eligibility for each owner owning 10% or more of the business

7.     SLED Criminal History report for each owner owning 10% or more of the business. Report cannot be more than 90 days old

 

Wholesale Auto Auction License:

1.     Form DLA-1 Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License

2.     Form DLA-1b Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney in the amount of $15,000

3.     Current proof of garage liability insurance (if applying for dealer demonstration plates

4.     Form AD-020-A Affidavit of Eligibility for each owner owning 10% or more of the business

5.     SLED Criminal History report for each owner owning 10% or more of the business. Report cannot be more than 90 days old

Form DLA-1, Application for a Motor Vehicle License, is the basic application for your dealer or wholesaler license. In this two-page application, you must indicate the type of business you intend to operate, the address of your dealership, and provide information regarding your employees. The application also requires you to provide estimates regarding the number of vehicles you expect to sell during the first year of operation.

Any change in the information provided on your application must be reported to the department within 30 days. 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 complete a new application. In the event you cease operating as a dealer or wholesaler, you must notify the department within 10 days and return your dealer or wholesaler license and any plates issued to you.

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Nonfranchise Dealer Prelicensing Course

Applicants applying for a non-franchise automobile dealer license must attend an eight-hour pre-licensing course prior to being issued a dealer license. The original certificate of completion of the course must accompany your application. This requirement does not apply to non-franchised dealers owned and operated by franchised dealers, non-franchised dealers whose primary business is salvage or non-franchised dealers whose primary business objective and substantial business activity is the rental of motor vehicles. For additional information, you may contact the only two providers who meet the criteria to teach the course (see list below).

Carolina Independent Automobile Dealer Association (CIADA) at 1-800-432-4232 and 1-704-455-2117 or visit the CIADA website at http://www.theciada.com/?page=SCPLE.

Carolina Dealer Training at 1-704-918-4138 or visit their website at www.carolinadealertraining.com.

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SLED Criminal History Report

Any license issued under this chapter may be denied if the licensee has any of the following:

·         been convicted of any violation of law involving the acquisition or transfer of a title to a motor vehicle or of any violation of law involving tampering with, altering, or removing motor vehicle identification numbers or markings;

·         been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to have violated any federal or state law regarding the disconnecting, resetting, altering, or other unlawful tampering with a motor vehicle odometer, including the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 32701-32711 (Title 49, Subtitle VI, Part C, Chapter 327);

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Surety Bond

Form DLA-1B, Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond, insures that every dealer or wholesaler applicant furnishes a surety bond in the amount required by state law. Effective December 1, 2006 all dealers or wholesalers applying for an original dealer or wholesaler license must furnish a surety bond in the amount of $30,000.00, along with its Power of Attorney. Travel Trailer Dealers, Motorcycle Dealers and Wholesale Auto Auctions are required to post a $15,000.00 surety bond.

You must submit your original Surety Bond and Power of Attorney with the Form DLA-1, Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License, at the time of your application. The purpose of the bond is to provide indemnity for loss or damage caused an individual due to fraud or fraudulent representation in relation to a sale or transfer of a motor vehicle by a licensed dealer, wholesaler or their employees.

Your bond must be in effect before the department will grant a license to you. The owner, partner or corporate officer of the dealership must sign the surety bond. A corporate surety company authorized to do business in South Carolina must also secure the bond. If you should change your bonding company, you must submit a new surety bond and Power of Attorney to the Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit. Dealers should always retain a copy of all documents submitted to the Department.

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Inspection
Once your application is processed by the Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit, a DMV agent will contact you to schedule an inspection. During this inspection, the DMV agent will determine whether or not your place of business and operational procedures qualify you as a motor vehicle dealer. Depending upon your status as a dealer or wholesaler, certain requirements must be met for you to pass the inspection.
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Submitting Your Application

First time applicants should submit all required forms to the following address:

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit
Post Office Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0023

For questions, call (803) 896-2611.

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Renewal Applications

To renew your dealer or wholesaler license, you must complete Form DLA-1, Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License, and Form DLA-1C, Certification of Vehicles sold, current proof of garage liability insurance and a current SLED Criminal History report for each owner. Submit forms to your local Department of Motor Vehicles Branch Office. If you purchased a new surety bond since your last application, you must submit your original bond and Power of Attorney to the Dealer License and Audit Unit at P.O. Box 1498, Blythewood, SC 29016-0023.

If you are an existing dealer or wholesaler and your license expires after November 30, 2006, you will be required to furnish a $30,000.00 surety bond with its Power of Attorney or you may provide a bond rider, which increases your current bond to  $30,000.00. Travel Trailer Dealers, Motorcycle Dealers and Wholesale Auto Auctions will continue to post a  $15,000.00 surety bond. Dealer and wholesaler license renewals may be processed at your local Department of Motor Vehicle field office.

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Inspections for Renewals

Some applicants require facility inspection upon renewal. The following criteria determine whether or not an inspection is required for a renewal applicant:

  1. The dealer or wholesaler license has been expired for more than 90 days.
  2. The type the dealer has changed (wholesaler to dealer or vice versa).
  3. The dealer or wholesaler changed his name and/or address.
  4. The dealer or wholesaler changed ownership or location.
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Tips to Remember
  • The name and address on your surety bond must match the name and address on your application.
  • The names, addresses and driver's license numbers of all your employees must be furnished on the reverse side of your application. If additional space is needed, please attach a separate sheet of paper.
  • If you have moved, a DMV agent must inspect your new location before a new license can be issued.
  • If the 911 System or Post Office has assigned you a new address, you must submit a new application, letter from the Post Office and an address change rider from your bond company.
  • Sales tax number is needed if applying for retail license.
  • Tax exempt number is needed if applying for wholesale only license.
  • Must file articles of authorization with the SC Secretary of State. Example: "Inc" or "LLC".

 

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Dealer Central Locations

Charleston:

3790 Leeds Avenue

North Charleston, SC 29405

843-740-1658

 

Chester:

508 Belt Road

Chester, SC 29706

(803) 385-6082

 

Columbia:

1630 Shop Road

Columbia, SC 29201

(803) 737-8350

 

Fort Mill:

3071 Highway 21, Suite 110

Fort Mill, SC 29715

(803) 547-8350

 

Greer:

610 Arlington Road

Greer, SC 29651

(864) 801-9375

 

Irmo:

1016 Broadstone Road

Irmo, SC 29063

(803) 732-6602

 

Ridgeland:

407 Live Oak Drive

Ridgeland, SC 29936

(843) 726-6934

 

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On This Page
Types of Dealer Licenses
Initial Application for a Dealer License
Nonfranchise Dealer Prelicensing Course
SLED Criminal History Report
Surety Bond
Inspection
Submitting Your Application
Renewal Applications
Inspections for Renewals
Tips to Remember
Dealer Central Locations

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