how to start a car dealership in washington dc

In order to become a licensed dealer in Washington DC, you must get a Washington DC Dealer License.

According to the DMV, dealers are those involved in the business of buying, selling, distributing, exchanging, or dealing in motor vehicles or trailers.

You are legally allowed to sell up to 5 vehicles a year in Washington DC, as long as those vehicles are titled in your name.

Not sure if you need a dealer license? Check out this post on selling cars without a license.

How to get a Car Dealer License in Washington D.C.

Step #1: Determine Your License Type

There are 2 dealer licenses available:

  • New Car Dealer License: allows you to sell new and/or used vehicles
  • Used Car Dealer License: allows you to sell used vehicles

Step #2: Complete Application

Complete the Basic Business License Application. 

Step #3: Complete Clean Hands Self-Certification Form

The Clean Hands Self-Certification Form indicates that you owe no more than $100 to the District of Columbia Government due to fines, penalties, interest, or taxes.

Step #4: Complete Other Paperwork

Worried about a felony on your record? Check out this post on Getting a Dealer License With a Felony.

Step #5: Purchase Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond

Before you can be issued a Washington D.C. Dealer License, you must purchase a Washington D.C. Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond. This bond promises you will follow all rules and regulations. If you fail to do so, someone can make a claim against your bond.

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

Washington D.C. has set the bond amount at $25,000.

You will not need to pay the full amount to get bonded. Instead, you’ll pay a percentage of the bond amount (usually between 1-15% of the total bond amount).

The price you pay is a one time, not monthly, payment.

Free Washington DC Dealer Bond Quotes

Step #6: Pay Fees

  • $70 dealer application fee

Make fees payable to “D.C. Treasurer”

Step #7: Submit

Submit your application, bond, and any other necessary paperwork to the Washington D.C. DMV.

  • You can submit online.
  • You can submit in person at DCRA Business License Center, 1100 4th Street SW, 2nd Floor, Washington DC 20024.
  • Or you can submit by mail to Wells Fargo Bank, DC Government Wholesale Lockbox 91360, 7175 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046

Allow 30 days for your background check to be processed.

Online or in-person is the fastest turnaround time for license applications.

License Expiration and Renewal

Washington D.C. Dealer Licenses expire on October 31st of each year.

For more information:

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

Related links:

How To Open Your Own Car Dealership [Infographic]

The Surety Bond Claim Process For Car Dealers (And How To Avoid It)

5 Easy Steps To Getting Your Car Dealer License

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Back To Top