The Full Florida Dealer License Guide [2020]

Published: Dec 5, 2019
florida dealer license

 

Starting your dealership in Florida entails completing a rigorous administrative procedure. You have to obtain a Florida dealer license, which is needed if you want to sell more than 3 vehicles within one year. 

The licensing process includes providing a list of documents that guarantee your legal compliance. Among them, you have to post an auto dealer bond that ensures you will follow the law in your operations. 

In the guide below, you can get acquainted with the exact steps, so that you can obtain your licensing smoothly. 

1. Find out the right auto dealer license type 

The licensing authority in the state is the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department (FLHSMV). It monitors the activities of car sellers. The Florida car dealer license types that you can obtain are the following: 

  • Franchised Dealer – new vehicles under a franchise agreement
  • Independent Dealer – used vehicles 
  • Wholesale Dealer – wholesale or motor vehicle auctions
  • Auction Dealer – auction sales
  • Salvage Dealer – salvaged or wrecked vehicles
  • Mobile Home Dealer – mobile homes
  • Mobile Home Broker – used mobile homes sales
  • Recreational Motor Vehicle Dealer – new recreational vehicles
  • Recreational Used Motor Vehicle Dealer – used recreational vehicles

2. Get to know the Florida dealer license requirements

The Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department has strict rules regarding who can receive a Florida auto dealer license. You need to fulfill a list of criteria that includes providing the following:

  • Information about all owners and partners
  • Business entity documents – corporation papers and meeting minutes (for a Corporation or Incorporation), Articles of Organization and Operating Agreement (for an LLC) or a Partnership Agreement (for a Partnership)
  • Property lease or ownership for your business location
  • Dealer training course completion document from an approved training school
  • Garage liability insurance
  • Surety bond 

The garage liability insurance requirement has different parameters according to license type:

  • Independent, auction and wholesale dealers – a general liability insurance policy or a general liability insurance policy coupled with a business automobile policy, of a minimum $25,000 combined single-limit liability coverage including bodily injury and property damage protection and $10,000 personal injury protection 
  • Franchise dealers, RV dealers, and mobile home dealers and brokers selling RVs – a garage liability insurance certificate, of a minimum $25,000 combined single-limit liability coverage including bodily injury and property damage protection and $10,000 personal injury protection
  • Salvage dealers and mobile home dealers not selling RV – not required to have garage liability insurance 

In addition to these criteria, you also have to meet the Florida dealer license location requirements. Your business location has to comply with the state’s rules regarding office and display space which are detailed in the application form. 

3. Prepare your paperwork

florida dealer licenseIn order to start the process with the FLHSMV, you have to complete the Florida dealer license application form (HSMV 86056). Along with it, you have to prepare the paperwork proving your compliance with all requirements described in the previous section. 

Additionally, you have to obtain documents from other authorities and present them together with your application:

  • Employee Identification Number (EID) from IRS
  • Sales Tax Number from the Department of Revenue
  • Business registration and name documents from the Division of Corporations
  • Certification showing current registration of business to operate in the state from the Division of Corporations
  • Electronic fingerprints for each owner and new officer from a service provider authorized by the Department of Law Enforcement 

4. Obtain the necessary Florida auto dealer bond 

The licensing process includes providing a surety bond. It is a security instrument that guarantees you will follow the law in your activities as an auto dealer. 

The Florida auto dealer bond amounts are the following:

  • $25,000 for motor vehicle dealers and for mobile home dealers or brokers
  • $50,000 for mobile home dealers with more than 4 supplemental locations
  • $10,000 for recreational vehicle dealers
  • $20,000 for recreational vehicle dealers with more than 4 supplemental locations

In order to get bonded, you have to pay a fraction of the required amount. This is your premium, and it is determined on the basis of your personal and business finances. The rates for applicants with solid profiles are between 0.75% and 5%. This means that for a $25,000 bond, your premium can be between $187 to $1,250

5. Apply with your full document set

Whenever you have your complete application form and necessary documents, you can submit all to the regional office of the FLHSMV which is responsible for your area. 

The relevant fees that you have to cover are:

  • $300 for motor vehicle dealers 
  • $340 fee for mobile home or recreational vehicle dealers
  • $54.25 fingerprinting fee per person

6. Renew your Florida dealer license

In order to keep your license active and conduct your operations legally, you have to undergo the Florida dealer license renewal. You can choose between annual and biennial renewal on the renewal application form.  

The deadline for franchise dealers is December 31st of the year of expiration. The fees are $75 for one year and $150 for two years. 

For Florida wholesale dealer license, auction license, salvage license, and independent license holders, the deadline is April 30th. The fees are $75 for one year and $150 for two years. 

Mobile home dealers and brokers and RV dealers have to renew their licenses by September 30th. The annual fee is $140, while the biennial is $280. 

 

Have more questions about getting your Florida dealer license and bonding? You can get in touch with our experts by calling us at 877.514.5146.

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

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