How to get an Ohio Dealer License

If you are interested in selling motor vehicles in the State of Ohio, you’ll need to obtain an Ohio auto dealer license.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) is responsible for licensing and regulating motor vehicle dealers in the state.

In this guide, we’ll provide a step-by-step process on how to get your Ohio auto dealer license.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Determine what type of auto dealer license you need

The first step to obtaining your auto dealer license in Ohio is to determine what type of license you need. There are two types of motor vehicle dealer licenses in the state of Ohio:

  • New motor vehicle dealer: This license allows you to sell new motor vehicles, motorcycles, all-purpose vehicles, and camping trailers.
  • Used motor vehicle dealer: This license allows you to sell used motor vehicles, motorcycles, all-purpose vehicles, and off-highway vehicles.

Satisfy all Ohio dealer licensing requirements

You’ll need to meet the following requirements to be eligible for an auto dealer license:

Register your business

Your auto dealership must be registered in the State of Ohio.

You can register your business using the Ohio Business Gateway. When you access the gateway, you’ll find a full list of instructions for completing the process. Upon completing the process, your business will also be registered with the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Your business must be registered as well and you’ll need to provide a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Complete a background check

Every person listed on the license application must pass a criminal background check and submit electronic fingerprints.

All fingerprints should be sent directly to BMV Dealer Licensing.

Prepare your business location

Before you apply for your auto dealer license, you must ensure that your business location adheres to the following guidelines:

  • Is used exclusively for selling vehicles 
  • Complies with all local zoning regulations
  • Has permanent signage with letters that are at least six inches high
  • An operating telecommunications systems with a publicly posted phone number
  • New dealerships must have a display lot with enough space to show one vehicle

There are other location requirements for used vehicle dealers including being open for business 25 hours a week.

You can find the full list of requirements on the BMV website.

Minimum net worth requirement

New and used auto dealers must be able to verify a minimum net worth of $75,000 to the BMV as part of the process of licensure.

Complete dealer training course

Used car dealers must complete a six-hour dealer training course and provide the accompanying certificate of completion along with their license application.

The course must be completed within six months of submitting your license application.

Get your Ohio auto dealer bond

Used car dealers are required to obtain an Ohio motor vehicle dealer bond before obtaining their license. The surety bond provides additional protection to the government and consumers and ensures that the dealer complies with all license regulations.

The required bond amount for Ohio used motor vehicle bonds is $25,000. You are responsible for paying a percentage of the total bond amount upfront. This payment is referred to as a premium. The surety company issuing the bond determines your premium by evaluating your industry experience, credit score, financial history, and other factors. 

Most auto dealers typically pay a premium between 0.75% and 5% of the total bond amount.

Complete and submit your Ohio dealer license application

Once you’ve met all the requirements, you can gather all your supporting documents and complete the application form.

New auto dealers must complete BMV form 4322.

Used auto dealers must complete BMV form 4320.

All applicants must include the following form along with the application form:

  • A copy of the business registration certificate obtained from the Secretary of State
  • Photographs of the dealership location
  • Proof of compliance with all zoning requirements
  • Certificate of completion of the dealer training course (used dealers only)
  • Copy of Ohio motor vehicle dealer bond (used dealers only)
  • Form BMV 4319 for every vehicle make (new dealers only)
  • Copy of vendor number for your County Auditor’s Office

After you’ve put together all the forms, you can submit the application packet along with all application fees (listed below) to the BMV at the following address.

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Attention: Dealer Licensing Section
P.O. Box 16521
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6521

Licensing and application fees

Here are the fees you must submit with your application:

  • $150 Title Defect Rescission Fund
  • $50 Permit
  • $50.25 Master Plate
  • $4.50 Postage
  • $10.25 for any additional plates (optional)

After your application is approved, you’ll receive it in the mail within four to six weeks.

When your license expires, it can be renewed through the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) Identity Manager platform.

Get bonded online with EZ Surety

 When you’re ready to get your Ohio auto dealer license, EZ Surety can offer you a free online quote for your used motor vehicle dealer bond.

We provide competitive premiums and quick turnarounds for individuals of all financial standings. Get in touch today to learn more.