How to Get a Dealer License in Kentucky

November 15, 2023

Team ACV




How to Get a Dealer License in Kentucky

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If you are looking to open a car dealership in Kentucky, you’re in luck. We’ve put together a guide that covers every step of the dealer license application process so you can get it done quickly and accurately. Whether you’re a first-time business owner or an experienced dealer looking to expand into a new state, make sure you follow the details of the dealer license process to avoid undesirable delays to your sales. 

4 Steps to Acquiring Your Kentucky Dealer License 

1. Choose the Right Dealer License Type for Your Business 

The state of Kentucky requires anyone who aims to sell more than five vehicles within a 12-month window to obtain a dealer license, and there are several varieties. Each state classifies its licenses differently, so even if you are currently operating a dealership in a different state, it is important to assess this list as your first step1

  • New motor vehicle dealer
  • Used motor vehicle dealer 
  • Motor vehicle leasing dealer 
  • Wholesale motor vehicle dealer 
  • Motor vehicle auction dealer 
  • Motorcycle dealer 
  • Additional options for recreational and camper vehicles

2. Secure a Permanent Business Location 

According to the state’s guidelines, your business location needs to be secured before applying for your license. Your application package must include include additional documentation about the property2, such as: 

  • Proof that it is at least 2,000 sq. ft. and has a mailbox
  • Proof that you have secured a rental contract or bought a property 
  • A written address for the location
  • Photos of the sign (except wholesale dealers), as well as of the entire exterior, lot, interior, and office space 
  • Drawings of floor plans that indicate where the sales office is, where the vehicle display area will be, where the sign for the business will be located, and where you have a storage area 

3. Get a Surety Bond

In Kentucky, there isn’t a fixed amount required for your auto dealer bond. Instead, the state Commission will determine what is needed for your business, but it will fall within the range of $15,000 and $100,000. The amount you owe will be a fraction of that total amount and based on your personal financials and other factors. 

4. Pay the Application Fees 

You will have to submit the overall application online, plus the associated fees, including:

  • $40 for the application 
  • $20 for a salesperson license 
  • $20 for the criminal background check of salespeople 
  • $100 for yearly licensing training 

5. Send in Your Supporting Materials 

All the documentation mentioned above has to be mailed in to support your application, and you can send all documents to: 

Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission 
105 Sea Hero Road, Suite 1 
Frankfort, KY 40601

This is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about dealer licensing requirements, please seek the assistance of legal counsel.

Find Used Car Inventory in Kentucky with ACV Auctions

Once you have your dealership up and running, fill your lot with high-quality used vehicles from Kentucky and across the country. That’s where our team at ACV Auctions can help you—we have an online auctioning platform that prioritizes transparency. With each vehicle, you are able to access detailed inspection reports that enable you to know exactly what you’re bidding on. Take your inventory to the next level and reach out to us once you have your dealers license.


  1. JW Surety Bonds. “Kentucky Auto Dealer License Guide.” Risk Strategies: JW Surety Bonds. Retrieved November 7, 2023. 
  2. Lance Surety Bonds. (2023). “Kentucky Dealer License: Full Guide.” Risk Strategies: Lance Surety Bonds. Retrieved November 7, 2023.