ACV facts & figures
Are you an aspiring car dealership owner looking to open up business in West Virginia? If so, you may be wondering how to get started with the dealer licensing process. Although the process is detailed, getting it right the first time means you can get your business up and running faster. That’s why we’ve compiled a checklist you can reference as you go through the application process. Below, discover what you’ll need to complete each step.
6 Steps to Follow to Get Your West Virginia Dealer License
1. Choose which Type of Dealer License you Need
Each state varies in the way that they classify their dealer license types, but in West Virginia, the two types of licenses are:
- New motor vehicle dealers: License D which allows you to sell used or new vehicles.
- Used motor vehicle dealers: License DUC which only allows you to sell used vehicles.
- For other vehicle types, such as trailers, you will need to consult the state manual to find instructions.
2. Set up your Business Location
Regardless of what type of dealership you open, you will need to establish a permanent business location before continuing with the application process. This location needs to meet a handful of requirements that align with the regulations outlined by the Department of Transportation. Each state’s location requirements vary, but in West Virginia, your dealership location must1:
- Be a permanent structure that you either own or lease.
- Be used exclusively for selling the vehicles.
- Contain enough indoor space to have at least one vehicle on display.
- Have space to service and repair at least one vehicle.
- Include an office of at least 144 square feet in area.
- Feature a display area for vehicles that is at least 1200 square feet
- Have a permanent sign that includes letters of at least four inches, visible from the street.
- Include a telephone registered under the dealership name.
- Be open at least 20 hours per week, at least 40 weeks per year. At least 10 of the hours each week must fall between 9:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. between Monday-Saturday.
- Have the business hours listed and posted.
- Notify the DoT in advance of dates when it will be closed.
- Adhere to all local zoning laws and regulations.
3. Arrange and Pass an Inspection of the Location
Before the application is submitted, your location has to go through the inspection process and pass a pre-inspection. This is completed through the Dealer Services department. To arrange your inspection appointment contact:
PO Box 17100
Phone number: (304) 926-0705
4. Get an Auto Dealer Bond and Liability Insurance
Alongside your application, you will have to provide proof that you have liability insurance with the following amounts: minimums of $20,000 for bodily injury to a single person in one incident, $40,000 for two people, and $10,000 for every additional person. Furthermore, you will need an auto dealer bond of at least $25,000. You’ll pay a fraction of this value depending on your personal financial standing.2
5. Get your Documents Ready
Before you submit, gather all of the documents you will need to submit as proof of eligibility. Getting this step right will help you succeed in the application. You will need:
- A personal property tax receipt in the name of the owners.
- Photos of your dealership and the sign to prove it meets all requirements.
- A West Virginia business license.
- Franchise agreement.
- Garage agreement.
Then, the Dealer Services Department will coordinate with other public departments to obtain fingerprints of all owners, a letter of good standing from the tax department, the criminal investigation report, and approval through the Bureau of Employment Programs for non-delinquency of unemployment benefits.
6. Pay your Fees and Submit the Dealer License Application
Once you have all your paperwork ready to go, all you have to do is pay your fees. They are the following:
- $250 license fee.
- $3 per temporary plate.
- $5 for each additional plate.
- $150 dealer recovery fund fee.
Finally, you can submit your application by mailing all of your documents and check to:
Division of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 17100
Charleston, WV 25317
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 West Virginia with ACV Auctions
Once you have received your dealer license in West Virginia and are ready to get your business up and running, work with us at ACV Auctions to fill your lot with the premium wholesale used car inventory from West Virginia or across the country. Our vehicle inspection team diligently inspects the interior and exterior condition of each vehicle to give you the full picture of each vehicle. After you have earned your dealer license register with us.
- JW Surety Bonds. “West Virginia Auto Dealer License Guide.” Risk Strategies: JW Surety Bonds. Retrieved October 31, 2023. https://www.jwsuretybonds.com/states/west-virginia/auto-dealer-license
- Lance Surety Bonds. (2023). “The Complete West Virginia Dealer License Guide.” Risk Strategies: Lance Surety Bonds. Retrieved October 31, 2023. https://www.suretybonds.org/blog/west-virginia-dealer-license
Aug 30, 2023