The Illinois Secretary of State processes all new Illinois dealer license applications.
You must get an Illinois Dealer License if you plan to deal 5 or more vehicles in a 12-month period.
Not sure if you need a dealer license? Check out this post on selling cars without a license.
How to get an Illinois Auto Dealer License
(Step by Step Guide)
Step #1: Complete an Illinois Auto Dealer License application
Step #2: Purchase an Illinois Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond
Purchase a bond from a licensed surety bond company.
An IL Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond is a type of surety bond that protects your customers. Your customers can make a claim against your bond if they feel you are not conducting business ethically and honestly.
Illinois has set the bond amount at $50,000.
You will pay anywhere from 1-15% of the bond amount to get bonded. You will only need to pay one time, not monthly.
See what you’d pay by getting a free quote below:
Step #3: Purchase insurance
Purchase insurance from an insurance company at a minimum of:
- $100,000 for bodily injury
- $300,000 for each accident and
- $50,000 for property damage
Step #4: Additional Requirements
Final requirements include:
- Providing a copy of your lease (for your location)
- Passing local zoning
- Prove that your business is in good standing with the Secretary of State’s Department of Business Services
- Provide a Hazard Waste Generator Number (if you have a repair shop on site) – do this by contacting the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Step #5: Undergo a criminal background check
Do this by contacting an Illinois State Police approved live-scan fingerprint vendor at 815-740-5160.
Worried about a previous felony? View this post on “Getting a Dealer License With a Felony”.
Step #6: Take an 8-hour training course
The course is given by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. (Only required if you are a first-time used car dealer applicant.)
Step #7: Submit
Submit your Illinois Dealer License application, Illinois Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond and fees to the Secretary of State’s office:
Vehicle Services Department
Dealer Licensing Section
501 S. Second St. Room 069
Springfield, IL 62756
The cost of a vehicle dealer license to sell new and/or used motor vehicles costs $1,000.
Licensed dealers may purchase license plates to demonstrate their vehicles: $45 for a master set and $13 for duplicate plates.
Step #8: Wait
This usually takes two to four weeks for your paperwork to be processed. Upon approval, you will be mailed your Illinois Auto Dealer License
License Expiration and Renewal
Illinois Auto Dealer Licenses expire on December 31st of each year.
If you get licensed later in the year, you still have to renew your Illinois Auto Dealer License come December 31st. Therefore, fees for those licenses issued later in the year are cheaper (1/2 off).
Renewal notices are sent to dealers in September.
- Dealer License annual fee: $1,000 ($500 if after June 15).
- Supplemental Certificate of Authority annual fee (for each additional location): $100 for new cars, $50 for used cars (half those amounts if after June 15).
To find out more information about applying for an Illinois Auto Dealer License, contact the Vehicle Services Department at (217) 782-7817.