Ready to start a car dealership in South Carolina? Before you can open up your dealership doors, you will need to get licensed and bonded. Here are the steps you need to take to get your South Carolina dealer license:
Not sure if you need a dealer license? Check out this post on selling cars without a license.
Short on time? Read our Motor Vehicle Dealer License FAQ
How to get a South Carolina Dealer License
To get a South Carolina Dealer License, you must attend a pre-licensing course, complete and submit a dealer license application, secure a surety bond, and pay all licensing fees. The exact steps are listed below:
Step #1: Determine what kind of license you need
The following steps are for getting a South Carolina dealer/wholesale license. The steps may be different for other license types.
Consult the South Carolina license requirements for your specific license type.
For dealership location requirements, please click here.
Step #2: Attend a pre-licensing course
Upon completion of your course, you will be given a certificate that you will need to include with your South Carolina Dealer License Application.
Step #3: Complete South Carolina Auto Dealer License Application
Step #4: Purchase South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond
Not sure how to get a South Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond? Use this interactive tool to help you out.
Be sure to apply for the correct bond amount.
- Retail and wholesale dealers: $30,000 bond
- Motorcycle,auto auction wholesale dealers: $15,000 bond
- Recreational travel trailer dealers: $30,000 bond
Why do I need a South Carolina Dealer Bond?
A South Carolina Car Dealer Bond (also known as a South Carolina Car Dealer Bond or South Carolina Auto Dealer Bond) is a type of surety bond that protects your customers from fraud or misrepresentation during a business transaction.
If you fail to follow rules or regulations, someone can make a claim on your bond.
You won’t have to pay the entire bond amount to get bonded. You’ll pay anywhere from 1-15% ($300-$4,500) for the $30,000 bond. This is a one-time payment, monthly.
The price you pay is based on personal credit.
Have bad credit? We can still get you bonded. Check out our bad credit options.
Nervous about paying for your bond? We can help you finance.
Step #5: Provide Other Documentation
- Sales tax number
- Incorporation papers
- Proof of liability insurance
- Affidavit of eligibility for each owner who owns 10% or more of business
- SLED criminal history report for each owner who owns 10% or more of business
Step #6: Submit Paperwork
Submit all the above paperwork to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles at the address below:
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016
There is no fee for submitting an application. Once your South Dakota motor vehicle dealer application has been processed, the DMV will contact you to arrange an onsite inspection of your dealership location.
The agent will inspect your place of business and if you pass, you will qualify as a motor vehicle dealer in the state of South Carolina.
Step #7: Pay
The last step to become a South Carolina car dealer is to purchase your license which costs $50 and lasts 12 months.
For information about getting a South Carolina dealer license, call the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles at 803.896.2611
License Expiration and Renewal
South Carolina Dealer Licenses are valid for 12 months.
To renew your license, view the Renewing a Dealer License page.