how to start a car dealership in minnesota

Minnesota requires you to have a Minnesota Dealer License before you can start selling vehicles. Legally, you are able to sell 5 vehicles a year without a dealer license as long as those vehicles are registered in your name.

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 Minnesota Dealer License


Step #1: Fill out the entire Minnesota Vehicle Dealer License Application

For information on how to complete the application, plus zoning and location requirements, view the Minnesota License Requirements.

Step #2: Complete the Commercial Location Checklist

  • A commercial building is required. This means a permanent, enclosed building that is on a permanent foundation and connected to local sewer and water facilities or otherwise complies with local sanitary codes.
  • A commercial building may include part of a strip mall.
  • A separate entrance and separate address are maintained and the dealership is clearly identified as a separate business.
  •  The dealership must be enclosed with floor to ceiling walls with a door that can be shut and locked to close off the entire entrance and is designated for the exclusive use of the dealership

Step #3: Include the Zoning Approval form

Step #4: Purchase a Minnesota Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond

A Minnesota Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond is a requirement to get a MN Dealer License. A MN Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond protects your customers from fraud or misrepresentation during a business sale.

Get a free Minnesota Dealer Bond quote

Minnesota has set the bond amount at $50,000 for dealers selling new or used vehicles. If you are selling motorized bicycles, snowmobiles, boats, or small horse trailers the bond amount is set at $5,000. 

Not sure how to get a Minnesota Auto Dealer Bond? Use this interactive tool to help you out.

Step #5: Provide a Certification of Compliance with Minnesota Worker’s Compensation Law

Step #6: Include Verification of Property Lease or proof of ownership

Step #7: Provide Proof of Signage

Note: Used dealer license applicants are encouraged to provide photos of their exterior sign, display lot, and commercial building

Step #8: Submit

Send your MN Dealer License Application, MN Dealer Bond, and other documentation to the Minnesota DPS by mail or fax (address and fax number listed at bottom of article)

Step #9: Wait to hear back from the Minnesota DPS



License Expiration and Renewal

Minnesota Car Dealer Licenses expire exactly one year after they are issued. You are eligible to renew your license beginning on the 15th of the month preceding the expiration month.

Minnesota Dealer License Fees

  • New Vehicle Dealership – $285
  • Used Vehicle Dealership – $285


Where to Send Your Application

Send all of the documentation by fax to the Minnesota DPS at 651-296-2977 or mail it to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety – Driver and Vehicle Services. (Dealer Unit, 445 Minnesota St., Suite 186, St. Paul, MN 55101).


View our FREE EBOOK: “The Ultimate Guide To Car Dealer Licensing”


Related Articles:

Motor Vehicle Dealer License FAQ

How To Get An Auto Dealer Bond

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