WA State Licensing: Motor vehicle dealer

Motor vehicle dealer

Businesses or auctioneers must have a Motor Vehicle Dealer endorsement to buy or sell the following items at wholesale or retail:

  • New or used cars.
  • New or used trucks.
  • New or used motor homes.

If you don’t have a dealer license, it’s illegal to:

  • Sell more than 4 vehicles registered to you in any 12 months.
  • Buy and sell vehicles for the purpose of making a profit.
  • Sell any number of vehicles that aren't registered to you.

Business site requirements

Your business site must:

  • Comply with all applicable building codes, zoning, and other land-use ordinances. For more information, please contact your city or county directly.
  • Be located at a commercial property with an enclosed building.
  • Have a permanent sign with the business name and the type of business (such as Auto Sales).
  • Have an operating telecommunications system and a phone number listed in directory assistance.
  • Be open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., five days per week. These hours are referred to as “normal business hours.” Additional hours and days of operation may be added at your discretion. You must prominently post the hours of operation at the main entrance doors.
  • Have an area to maintain books, records, and files at the business site. If 2 or more vehicle dealer businesses share a location, all records, office facilities, and inventory must be physically separated and clearly identified.

Licensing requirements

  1. To get a Motor vehicle dealer endorsement, you must have the following:$30,000 bond. Bonds are available through many insurance companies. We recommend you research the cost of your bond before you apply for an endorsement.
  2. Certificate of Dealer Education, as proof you have completed at least 8 hours of approved training if selling used vehicles only. For more information about how to obtain this certificate, call our Dealers Division at 360-664-6466.
  3. Copy of your property tax statement, or the rental/lease agreement for the business site, as proof of ownership. The rental/lease agreement must be valid for at least 1 year.

 

E-Permitting

All retail vehicle dealers are required to use the E–Permitting system. Find out more about E–Permitting.

 

Post your license

A license must be posted at each location where the licensee operates. You may not begin this business activity until you receive a Business License listing the required endorsement(s).

 

After you receive your license

  • You'll need a contract with us if you want to search vehicle registration information.

How to apply

Apply by using one of the following options:

Fees

Specialty endorsement Fee
Motor vehicle dealer $975
Plate, decal, and certificate fees Fee
Dealer plate—motor vehicles $50.75 each
Other fees that may apply Fee
Registering your business name as a trade name $5
Business License Application $19 (non-refundable)

Regulatory questions

Department of Licensing
Phone: 360-664-6466