car delaer florida

Becoming a Licensed Car Dealer in Florida

Starting a career as a used car dealer is an exciting venture, and the Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association (FIADA) is here to assist you on your journey. In the state of Florida, it is mandatory for used car dealers to obtain a license, and this involves several crucial steps. The following information will serve as a guide to help you navigate the process of obtaining your dealer’s license.

One essential step in this process is completing the Dealer Training Course, which will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the requirements, rules, and regulations that pertain to used car dealers in Florida. Please note that Florida Statute dictates that you must finish this course within six months of applying for your license. If any of the requirements take longer to fulfill, you will be required to retake the course.

The FIADA is dedicated to supporting you through this journey, and the training course will provide in-depth knowledge to ensure your success as a licensed used car dealer in Florida. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need further assistance.

As per the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations, it is necessary to secure a Florida auto dealer license if, within a span of 12 months, you engage in any of the following activities:

  1. Purchasing, selling, leasing, or trading 3 or more motor vehicles, or
  2. Exhibiting 3 or more motor vehicles for sale or lease.

To clarify the prerequisites for obtaining a motor vehicle dealer license, the following requirements are detailed below:

Аttend a Pre-Licensing Dealer Training Course

Participating in a Pre-Licensing Dealer Training Course is a mandatory step in the process of becoming a Florida auto dealer. This course must be accredited by The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). As part of your dealership application, you will be expected to furnish a copy of your completion certificate obtained from a dealer training school approved by the FLHSMV.

This training is designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the auto dealership business effectively. It ensures that you are well-versed in the regulations and requirements set forth by the FLHSMV and other relevant authorities. By successfully completing this course, you not only fulfill a crucial requirement but also gain valuable insights that will serve you well in your dealership endeavors.

Determine the dealership’s business structure. 

  • Furnish Evidence of Business Entity Registration with DHSMV and Fictitious Name, if Applicable, through Florida Division of Corporations:
  • If your business is structured as a Corporation, ensure you provide copies of your Corporate Charter, Articles of Incorporation, and Minutes that clearly reflect the current officers.
  • In the case of a Limited Liability Company (LLC), submission of the Articles of Organization and the Operating Agreement is mandatory.
  • For partnerships, a documented Partnership Agreement is a requisite component of your application.

If your dealership operates under a Fictitious Trade Name or “DBA” (doing business as), make sure to include a copy of the filing with the Secretary of State. This step is vital to meet state regulations and maintain transparency in your business operations.

Florida car dealer license location requirements

Precise Business Address: When completing your application, ensure that you provide a specific business address. Listing cross-streets will not suffice; you must furnish a detailed address to the DHSMV.

Non-Residential Location: Your dealership cannot be located at a residential address, as it needs to operate from a dedicated business premises.

Equipped Office Space: In addition to a physical location, your dealership must include an adequately equipped office. This office serves as a place for maintaining essential records and organizing your financial books.

Sufficient Vehicle Storage: Your dealership location must offer enough unoccupied space to store all the vehicles you intend to sell. The space required will depend on the number of vehicles you plan to have for sale. Initially, a smaller location is acceptable for a few vehicles, but as your inventory expands, you will need a larger space to accommodate them.

Ownership or Lease Documentation: To support your application, you must include either proof of ownership or a legitimate copy of your lease agreement for the physical dealership location. These documents demonstrate your legal authorization to operate a business at that location.

It’s crucial to note that the DHSMV may conduct inspections at your dealership, so it’s imperative to provide accurate information. Ensuring your physical location complies with these requirements is essential to secure and maintain your Florida car dealer license. The positive aspect is that, as long as your location can accommodate all the vehicles you have for sale, it can be a relatively small property.

Compile the Required Documents

You are required to provide the following fully completed documents as part of your application:

  • A copy of the business registration and/or any fictitious trade name(s) registered with the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Corporations. You can access these records online at
  • If your dealership is incorporated, submit the Articles of Incorporation, along with copies of corporate documents and corporate meeting minutes indicating the election of corporate directors.
  • For Limited Liability Company (LLC) dealerships, supply the Articles of Organization and the Operating Agreement.
  • In the case of a partnership-based dealership, ensure the inclusion of the Partnership Agreement.
  • Acquire a sales tax number, obtainable through the State of Florida, Department of Revenue.
  • Obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
  • Provide fingerprints collected by an approved fingerprinting service recognized by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, accompanied by the requisite fees (currently $54.25 per person).
  • Submit evidence of ownership or a valid lease for your business location.

Please note that franchise dealers must meet additional, specific requirements as well.

Obtain Proof of Liability Insurance

Independent dealers (VI), Auction dealers (VA), Wholesale dealers (VW), and Salvage dealers (SD) have the option to provide a copy of either:

  • A garage liability insurance certificate that, at a minimum, offers $25,000 combined single limit liability coverage encompassing bodily injury and property damage protection, along with $10,000 personal injury protection; OR
  • A combination of a general liability insurance policy and a business automobile policy, which must provide, at a minimum, $25,000 combined single limit liability coverage covering bodily injury and property damage protection, as well as $10,000 personal injury protection.


The dealer bond requirement stipulates an amount of $25,000, and the expense, which is calculated as a percentage of this total, is contingent upon your credit history. This surety bond serves as a guarantee that you will fulfill your responsibilities as an auto dealer.

When you present the surety bond, it should contain the following essential information: your precise business name, the name of the bonding company, the bond number, the coverage amount, effective date, expiration date, the signature of the surety agent, contact details for the surety agent and the surety bond company, and the seal of the surety company (either physical or electronic).

Alternatively, a line of credit from a bank can substitute for the surety bond. The letter of credit must encompass the auto dealer’s business name, address, partner names and their signatures, the bank’s name, address, and phone number, a unique identification number issued by the bank, effective and expiration dates, the signature and title of the bank officer, and the electronic seal of the bank.

Install signage

Before finalizing and submitting your application, it’s essential to have the dealership signage in place. The sign should prominently display operational hours and days, and it must be clearly visible from the road to comply with regulations.

Prior to installing the sign, it’s a crucial step to send an image of the sign, along with its dimensions, to the compliance coordinator for review and approval. This proactive measure ensures that your signage aligns with the specific requirements and guidelines, guaranteeing a smooth and compliant application process.

Complete Electronic Fingerprinting

Electronic Fingerprinting: Obtain proof of electronic fingerprinting from a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) authorized service provider. Contact the approved provider to be electronically fingerprinted. They will issue a receipt and submit the fingerprints to FDLE. Attach a copy of this receipt to your license application. Please note that each person listed in items 3 (A) and/or (B) on form HSMV 86056 must be electronically fingerprinted on both state and federal levels. The approximate cost for fingerprints is $60.

Criminal History Declaration: Provide a declaration regarding any felony convictions for the applicant, partners, corporate officers, or directors. If any such individuals have a felony conviction, furnish official case disposition documents (e.g., conviction, adjudication withheld, civil rights restored, etc.). Additionally, if there are misdemeanor convictions or violations of motor vehicle statutes or DIVISION OF MOTORIST SERVICES rules, relevant documentation is required. Consult the attorney who handled your case or contact the Clerk of the Court in the county where the charges were filed to obtain court records. In cases of bond cancellations or denials, include a written statement explaining the circumstances.

Submit Your Dealer License Application

To initiate your dealer license application, complete the HSMV 86056 form, and include all the necessary supporting documents. The required fees, payable by check to DHSMV, are as follows:

  • For motor vehicle dealers, the fee amounts to $300.
  • For mobile home or recreational vehicle dealers, the fee is $340.

Once all the documentation is in proper order, the license application will be forwarded to and authorized by the Motor Vehicle Field Operations, Regional Office. Concurrently, the electronic fingerprints submitted along with your application will undergo processing by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Typically, this processing takes about five business days to complete.

Get a free instant offer on your car now Obtenga una oferta