If you want to sell motor vehicles or open a car dealership in Missouri you will need to get a dealer’s license. The Motor Vehicle Bureau at the Missouri Department of Revenue is responsible for overseeing the licensing process.
In this guide, we’ll outline the licensing requirements and give you a step-by-step process for getting your dealer license in Missouri.
Step 1: Determine your license type
The first step to becoming a licensed auto dealer in Missouri is to determine what type of license you need. Different license classifications are given based on the type of vehicle that you want to sell. They include:
- Franchise Motor Vehicle (MV) Dealer License: This license lets dealers sell new vehicles under a franchise agreement.
- Used Motor Vehicle Dealer License: This license lets the dealer sell used motor vehicles and powersport vehicles.
- Wholesale Motor Vehicle Auctions License: This license lets the dealer conduct wholesale auctions.
- Wholesale Motor Vehicle Dealer License: This license lets the dealer sell vehicles wholesale to other dealers.
- Boat Dealer License: This license is required for anyone that sells watercraft.
- Trailer Dealer License: This license lets dealers sell trailers.
- Franchise Powersport Dealer License: This license lets the dealer sell new powersport vehicles.
Step 2: Complete a dealer education program
Senate Bill 747 of Missouri mandates some dealer license applicants complete a dealer education administered by a state-approved provider. The following types of dealer licenses are exempt from the requirement:
- Used motor vehicle dealers licensed prior to August 28, 2006
- New motor vehicle franchise dealers
- New franchise power sport dealers
- Wholesale dealers
- Wholesale auction dealers
If you need to take the Dealer Education Seminar, you must do so within 12 months prior to applying for the license.
Step 3: Register your business
Next, you will need to register your business with the Missouri Secretary of State Business Services Division. You can complete the registration online or over the phone. There is a $7 fee for registering your business in the State of Missouri.
Step 4: Get your permanent business location
All auto dealers in the State of Missouri must have an established place of business. This business location must be for the sole purpose of selling the type of vehicles specified in the license classification. It must also meet the following requirements:
- Be a permanently enclosed structure
- Have space to store business records
- Be open at least 20 hours per week between the hours of 6 AM and 10 PM
- Have hours of operation posted near the front entrance
- Contain garage signage with the business name
Missouri law prohibits most types of auto dealers to operate on Sundays. The only exception is motorcycle dealers. Keep in mind that if you sell motorcycles as well as new or used vehicles, your business will have to stay closed on Sundays.
Step 5: Complete a criminal background check
Another requirement you need to complete before applying for a dealer license is to complete a criminal background check. You can complete the submission form on the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website which will then conduct a search based on the name that you enter.
There is a $13 fee to conduct the search and you will need to print out a copy of the results to include with your dealer license application.
Step 6: Get liability insurance coverage
According to Missouri Statute Section 397.201, auto dealers must get general liability insurance to cover bodily injuries suffered by non-employees during the course of operations. The policy must cover all dealer plates belonging to the dealership.
Step 7: Get a Missouri auto dealer bond
Finally, before you can get a Missouri dealer license, you will need to get an auto dealer surety bond. These bonds are required to ensure that dealers comply with state laws and are held financially responsible for any damages caused to other parties during the course of business.
The required bond amount for Missouri auto dealer bonds is $50,000. To obtain your bond, you will need to pay a small portion of this amount as a premium. The surety company issuing your bond will give you a premium based on a variety of factors including your credit score and industry experience. Well-qualified dealers typically see rates between 0.75% and 5% of the bond amount.
Your alternative to getting a surety bond is to get an irrevocable letter of credit from a financial institution.
Step 8: Submit dealer license application
After you get your surety bond, you are ready to complete your dealer license application form. The process can be done through the myDMV online portal or by printing out and mailing in the form.
There are several licensing fees that you will need to pay when submitting your application. This includes:
- $150 annual license fee (all license types but boat dealers)
- $80 annual license fee for boat dealers
- $50 dealer plate fee (first one)
- $10.50 for each additional dealer plate
If mailing your application, you can mail the packet to the following address:
Motor Vehicle Bureau
Dealer Licensing Section
Post Office Box 43
Jefferson City, Missouri 65105-0043
Missouri dealer license frequently asked questions
How do you renew a Missouri dealer license?
Missouri dealer licenses are valid for one year and expire on December 31st. In order to renew your license, you will need to submit a renewal application before October 30th. If you do not send the renewal application by this date, you will have to pay a $25 penalty fee. This fee increases to $50 if you don’t submit the renewal application before December 31st.
How many cars can you sell in Missouri without a license?
In the State of Missouri individuals and businesses are allowed to sell up to six vehicles per year without a dealer license. If you sell more than six vehicles, you will need to get a dealer license for the type(s) of vehicles that you sell.
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