ACV facts & figures
Are you opening a dealership in Ohio? Whether you’re planning on selling used or new vehicles, you’ll need a dealer license to begin operating your business. Following the correct steps as closely as possible will help you get your application right on the first attempt without wasting precious time as you get your business up and running. In this article, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about getting your dealer license to avoid a hassle. So, let’s get started.
Getting Your Ohio Dealer License
1. Which type of license will you need?
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) is in charge of dealer licensing, and depending on the type of business you’ll be operating, there are two different license types1:
- New motor vehicle dealer
- Used motor vehicle dealer
These categories vary state-by-state, so if you are familiar with the industry from having a business in another state, make sure you pay attention to the details as you fill out this new application.
2. Take the dealer educational course
If you haven’t held a dealer license in the past two years, you’ll need to complete a six-hour course, which can be done online or in person. We recommend taking it with the Ohio Independent Automobile Dealers Association. You’ll get a Certificate of Completion, which will be submitted with all of your final documents.2
3. Register your business
Once you know the license type you’re applying for, the first step is to register your business name using the Ohio Business Gateway. This platform will guide you through the process, including registering with the Ohio Department of Taxation.
Beyond this, you’ll also need to register with the IRS for a Federal Employer Identification Number, as well as with the auditor’s office, so that you can get a vendor number.
4. Get a business location
You need to have a permanent business location in order to operate a dealership in Ohio. This location also needs to meet several criteria for which you may be required to show proof. When selecting a location, ensure it meets the following points:
- The location must be easily accessible and identifiable as a dealership, with a sign that shows your business name in clear letters at least 6 inches in height.
- The office must be at least 180 sq. ft.
- The lot for display must be 3,500 sq. ft. or larger.
- If you’re registering for a new motor vehicle license, you need space indoors to display at least one car.
- The location must meet all other local zoning regulations.
Additionally, you’ll need to submit photographs depicting the lot, office, and sign indoors and outdoors along with your application. These images can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Schedule an inspection of the business location
You’ll have to get your location inspected to ensure it meets all requirements. Send photos in advance, and be prepared to have random inspections moving forward once you’ve obtained a license.
Everyone who owns more than a 10% share of the business will have to get electronically fingerprinted and submit those prints to the BMV.
7. Get your documents together
You'll need to submit a long list of required documents. Reference this as a checklist when gathering your materials, but always double-check with the BMV in case of any changes or updates:
- Paperwork showing your business information and formation, including your FEIN and Federal Tax ID number.
- Information about the business owners, partners, and principal officers.
- Zoning compliance documents pertaining to your location.
- Proof of complying with business location requirements like display lot, signage, phone lines, and hours.
- Photos of your location.
- Certificate from the training course.
- Proof that you meet the $75,000 minimum net worth requirement.
- Statement of manufacturer/distributor for each line of make if you’re a new car dealer.
8. It’s time to submit the application and pay the fees
Fill out the DMV application form and pay the fees, which are valid for two years:
- Permit: $50.00
- Master plate: $50.25 plus $10.25 per additional plate
- Title Defect Recision Fund: $150
- Postage for plates: $4.50
You can send your materials to:
Attention: Dealer Licensing Section
P.O. Box 16521
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6521
This is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about dealer licensing requirements, please seek the assistance of legal counsel.
Become an ACV Auctions member
Once you’re a licensed dealer in the state of Ohio sign up with ACV Auctions. ACV can partner with you to help you get inventory from all over Ohio or nationwide. Because we’re an online auction, we have inventory from all over the country, giving you a wide range of vehicle options. With no membership fees and transparent vehicle condition reports, we give dealers everything they need to bid confidently and acquire inventory.
- JW Surety Bonds. “Ohio Auto Dealer License Guide.” Retrieved September 6, 2023. https://www.jwsuretybonds.com/states/ohio/auto-dealer-license
- Lance Surety Bonds. “The Full Ohio Dealer License Guide.” Retrieved September 6, 2023. https://www.suretybonds.org/blog/ohio-dealer-license
Aug 30, 2023