In order to start a car dealership, the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles requires you to get a West Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer License. Here are the steps you need to take to get licensed.
Note that you are allowed to sell vehicles without a dealer license as long as those vehicles are titled in your name and used primarily for personal, family, or household use. If you plan to flip cars for a profit, you will need to get a dealer license.
Short on time? Check out our Car Dealer License FAQ.
How to get a West Virginia Dealer License
Step #1: Request a dealer handout
Request a dealer handout by calling (304) 926-0705. Make sure you meet the minimum requirements to start a car dealership.
Minimum requirements can be mailed upon request by calling (304) 558-3584.
Step #2: Set up a pre-inspection of your dealership location
Once you have read over the handout, contact the Office of Dealer Services in West Virginia to schedule a pre-inspection appointment. An inspector will deliver your licensing application package.
Step #3: Complete West Virginia Dealer License Application
Your application will require you to provide the following:
- Dealer liability insurance form
- Provide a personal property tax receipt (or a letter of exemption)
- Pictures of dealership sign
- Proof of valid business license for West Virginia - apply with the Secretary of State
- Garage agreement (if applicable)
- Franchise agreement (if applicable)
Step #4: Purchase a West Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond
To get your West Virginia Used Car Dealer License, you must purchase a West Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond. This is a type of surety bond that protects your customers. If one of your customers feels you are not conducting business ethically, they can make a claim against your bond.
Not sure how to get a West Virginia Auto Dealer Bond? Use this interactive tool to help you out.
West Virginia has set the bond amount at $25,000.
You will not need to pay the full bond amount to get bonded.
You will pay 1-15% of the bond amount ($250-$3,500) based on your personal credit. This is a one-time payment, not monthly.
To see the exact price you'd pay, get a free quote below:
Step #5: Mail & Inspect
After you have completed your license application in full, mail the package to the office of dealer services. Once they receive the package, they will send another inspector to obtain fingerprints of all owners and signatures on the release of information waiver.
After the waiver is completed and signed by all owners/corporate officers, the office of dealer services will check with various agencies to be sure that:
- Prospective dealers are approved through the bureau of employment programs for non-delinquency of unemployment benefits
- Criminal investigation bureau reports return stating "no record"
- The tax department states all owners/corporate officers are in good standing
Worried about a felony on your record? Check out this post "Getting a Dealer License With a Felony"If you pass the inspection, and upon payment of your dealer licensing fees, you will be issued a West Virginia Car Dealer License.
For Dealer or Salesperson Questions:
Phone: (304) 558-3584
Write: Dealer Services
PO Box 17100
Charleston, WV 25317
License Expiration and Renewal
Your West Virginia Dealer License expires every year on June 30th. You will need to renew your license to remain in compliance with the law. You will also need to renew your West Virginia Dealer Bond each year.
There are no application or renewal fees for dismantlers, rebuilders, or institutions.