Dealer Licenses

Types of Dealer Licenses

SCDMV 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.


Type of License

Description

Motor Vehicle Dealer

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

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

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

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

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.

Travel Trailer Dealer

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. 

Temporary Travel Trailer/Camper Dealer

You must be a licensed SC 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.

 

Required documents for the type of license being requested

Motorcycle Dealer

Retail Dealer

Travel Trailer Dealer

Wholesale

Auto Auction

Dealer

Motor

cycle

Form DLA-1 Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License

X

X

X

X

X

X

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

X

X

X

X

X

X

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

X

X

X

X

X

X

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

X

X

X

X

X

X

Form DLA-1B Motor Vehicle Dealer and Wholesaler Surety Bond with Power of Attorney in the amount of: 

$15,000

$30,000

$15,000

$15,000

$30,000

$15,000

Diagram of your location to include building and display area

X

X

X

X

 

 

Copy of SC Department of Revenue Retail License

X

X

X

 

 

 

Original Pre-Licensing Course Certificate

 

X

 

 

 

 

Diagram of structure and office to include address of where records are stored

 

 

 

 

X

X

Form DE-004A Wholesale Dealer Agreement

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

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 1-704-918-413 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.

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 SC 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 must 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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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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