ACV facts & figures
Getting an auto dealer license is the first step to launching your business. While the process is not super complex, it does have nuances and details that are essential to follow. In this guide, we will outline how to get a Florida auto dealer license so you have everything you need to know to get started with buying and selling at dealer auctions.
How to Get a Florida Auto Dealer License
1. To begin the process, attend a pre-licensing dealer training course.
All Florida auto dealers must complete the pre-licensing dealer training course1. The course must be approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The certificate of completion will then need to be submitted with your application. The certificate is valid for six months after completing the class, giving you those six months to fulfill the following requirements.
2. Determine the dealership’s business structure.
The options are as follows: Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Partnership, or DBA (doing business as).
- A corporation requires a copy of a corporate charter, articles of incorporation, and minutes reflecting current officers.
- A Limited Liability Company or LLC requires articles of organization and an operating agreement.2
- A partnership requires a partnership agreement.
- A DBA requires a copy of the filing to be submitted to the secretary of state.
3. Get an FEIN: Federal Employee Identification Number
Sole proprietors can submit proof of ID instead of a FEIN.
4. Find a permanent business location and get approval from the local DHSMV office
You’ll need a permanent business location before you become an approved vehicle dealer. The location will need to be inspected by a compliance examiner. The business location must be a permanent structure that is not a residence, with at least 100 square feet of interior floor space, not including hallways, bathrooms, or closets, with at least 7-foot ceiling heights.
You’ll need to create permanent signage that is visible to the public from 50 yards away. If the building is shared with another business, it must have a separate entrance and address. Display space at the business must be adequate to show all vehicles for sale. Contact the Florida Department of Revenue to obtain a sales tax number.
5. Obtain garage proof of liability insurance
You’ll need to get liability insurance for your proposed auto dealership. The policy must cover $25,000 in single-limit liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage, plus $10,000 for personal injury protection.
The insurance certificate must include: the liability insurance company name/address/phone number, the name/address/phone number of the agency, name/address of the insured entity, garage liability policy number, effective and expiration dates, authorized number of dealer license plates, and copy of the garage liability insurance signed by the agent.
6. Obtain an auto dealer surety bond
The dealer bond requirement is $25,000, and the cost—a percentage of the total amount—will depend on your credit history. The surety bond guarantees that you will fulfill the obligations of an auto dealer.
When you submit the surety bond, it must have the following information: your exact business name, the name of the bond company, the bond number, amount of coverage, effective date and expiration date, signature from the surety agent, contact information for the surety agent and surety bond company, and surety company seal or electronic seal.
A line of credit issued by a bank can be used in place of the surety bond. The letter of credit must include: auto dealer business name, an address, partner names and signatures, the name, address, and telephone number of the bank, a numerical assignment from the bank, effective date and expiration date, the bank officer’s signature and title, and the electronic seal of the bank.
7. Install signage
The signage for the auto dealership must be installed before submitting the completed application form. The information on the sign must include operating hours and days, and it has to be visible from the road. Before installing the sign, send the image and dimensions to the compliance coordinator for approval.
8. Complete electronic fingerprinting
Every officer of the dealership will need to provide electronic fingerprints from a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Service Provider. The provider will then submit the fingerprints to the FDLE, while the applicant will attach a copy of their receipt to the application.
9. Submit your completed dealer license application form.
The form you’ll need to complete is the HSMV 86056. The following documents need to be submitted along with the completed form:
- Pre-license certificate of completion, dated within 6 months of the application submission date
- Original surety bond form 86020 or line of credit in lieu of surety bond. In the case of submitting a line of credit, it must be accompanied by an irrevocable letter of credit.
- Proof of Garage Liability Insurance.
- Proof of registration to the DHSMV
- A copy of your lease agreement
- Photos, at least 3” x 4” in size, of your dealership entrance, sign, display area, and parking area and spaces. Two proposed licensed places of business, including one showing the exterior and two sides of the building, including the public entrance, and the other showing the remaining sides of the building.
- Proof of electronic fingerprinting (receipt)
- Copy of court records for any applicant who has been found guilty of a felony
- Proof of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.
Don’t forget to include a check made out to DHSMV for the correct fee: Vehicle dealers will pay $300, and mobile home or recreational vehicle dealers will pay $340.
10. Join ACV Auctions when you get your dealer license
After you get your dealer license, register with ACV Auctions. We offer membership with no joining fees and pride ourselves on being the most transparent online auto auctions service. We will help you purchase inventory with our state-of-the-art vehicle condition reports to ensure you are getting exactly what you expect.
- JW Surety Bonds. (2022). How to Get a Florida Auto Dealer License. JW Surety. Retrieved November 25, 2022 from https://www.jwsuretybonds.com/states/florida/auto-dealer-license
- Wayne Reaves Auto Dealer Solutions. (2022). Florida Auto Dealer License: Step-By-Step Guide. Wayne Reaves. Retrieved November 25, 2022 from https://waynereaves.com/florida-dealer-license
Mar 31, 2023