What Can I Do With a Dealer License?

Obtaining a dealer license to sell motor vehicles in Washington State comes with advantages for businesses looking to enter into the automotive industry. You will be able to buy and sell vehicles at wholesale or retail, attend dealer only auctions, and network with other dealers and industry professionals which can lead to valuable partnerships and business opportunities.

Who Needs a Dealer License?

Any business or auctioneer who buys or sells new or used cars, trucks or motor homes either at wholesale or retail is required to have a dealer license. In Washington State, it is illegal to sell more than 4 vehicles registered to you in any 12 month period, or buy and sell vehicles for the specific purpose of making a profit, or sell any number of vehicles that are not registered to you.

Obtaining a dealer license involves meeting specific requirements set by the state of Washington. These requirements include having a physical place of business, obtaining a surety bond, submitting financial information, and completing our 8 hour new dealer education class.

Considerations Before Applying for a Dealer License in Washington State

Before applying for a dealer license, it's advisable to thoroughly research the specific requirements and responsibilities set by Washington State and the federal government. Other considerations include:

  • Developing a Business Plan: a comprehensive business plan should outline your goals, strategies, and financial projections. This plan should include details on your target market, pricing strategies, and how you intend to acquire vehicle inventory.
  • Evaluating Your Financial Resources: Assess your financial resources so that you are able to run your dealership successfully. This includes having adequate capital to purchase and maintain inventory, cover operating costs, and being able to handle unexpected expenses.
  • Research the Different Types of Business Structures: Those include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC. Each structure has its own legal and tax implications.
  • Deciding on Long-Term Goals: Do you plan to expand, diversify your services, or stay focused on a specific niche within the automotive industry?
  • Look at Licensing Fees and Costs: Calculate the costs associated with obtaining and maintaining your dealer license, including application fees, renewal fees, and other associated expenses.

For More Information on Obtaining a Dealer License, Contact Independent Dealers Education Association

If you are interested in obtaining a dealer license or renewing your existing dealer license in Vancouver, Bellevue, Yakima, or throughout Washington State, IDEA can help you. Our new dealer education and continuing education classes are developed by independent dealers for independent dealers. We also assist the independent auto dealer in their day-to-day operations. To learn more about us, call us at (509) 220-5530 or send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We would love to talk with you.