How to Get a Wisconsin Dealer License
To sell more than 5 vehicles a year in Wisconsin, you will need to get a Wisconsin dealer license. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DoT) offers over 10 types of dealer licenses, depending on the type of vehicles you want to sell and in what way.
To get licensed you will need to fulfill the legal prerequisites, complete your dealer application and obtain a Wisconsin auto dealer bond. Read on for a full overview on how to open a dealership in ‘America’s Dairyland’!
Dealer licensing options in Wisconsin
Depending on what kind of dealer you wish to become, the following license types are available through the Wisconsin DoT:
- Buyer’s license
- Manufacturer license
- Moped dealer license
- Motorcycle dealer license
- Recreational vehicle dealer license
- Representative license
- Retail dealer license
- Salesperson license
- Salvage Buyer ID (BID) card
- Salvage dealer license
- Wholesale auction dealer license
- Wholesale dealer license
The retail dealer license is the one that allows dealers to sell vehicles to the public. The Wisconsin wholesale dealer license, on the other hand, allows dealers to sell vehicles only to other dealers but not to the public.
Once you choose which license you would like to apply for, you have to prepare for covering the license prerequisites, as well as filing the necessary forms and documents.
If you want to obtain a retail dealer license and be able to sell vehicles to the public, here is what you will need to do!
Wisconsin dealer license requirements
To successfully obtain a retail dealer license, you must cover the license prerequisites. These are as follows:
- Secure a permanent business location that conforms with the requirements of the Wisconsin DoT
- Provide proof of ownership or lease agreement for the location
- Obtain a sales tax seller permit through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue
- Obtain a zoning and local permit approval
- Have your own service department or provide a copy of an agreement with a nearby service facility
- Install a business sign with clearly displayed working hours
- You must have at least one person with a salesperson license (see list of licenses above)
- Pay your licensing, plate and Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) fees. These are $40 for the license, $150 for the plates and $20 to the DFI.
- Obtain a $50,000 Wisconsin auto dealer bond
Once you have successfully covered the above requirements, you can proceed with completing your dealer license application. The forms you need to complete are as follows:
- Form MV2186 – Motor Vehicle Dealer Two Year License Application (you will need to submit two copies)
- Form MV2844 – Entity / Owner Statement
- Form MV3180 – Business Facilities Statement
- Form MV2511 – Wisconsin Auto Dealer Bond
- Form MV2184 – Salesperson or Representative License Application
- Form MV2085 – Dealer Service Agreement (if you don’t have your own service department)
- Form MV2941 – A Buyer’s License Application (optional – if you intend to have someone attend wholesale auctions)
- Form MV2651 – Salvage Buyer ID (BID) Card Application (optional – if you intend to bid on salvage pools)
When you complete the above forms, you are ready to submit your application to the Wisconsin DoT by mail. The DoT will then process your application. If any information is missing, you can expect them to contact you to request that you provide the missing info to complete your application. Once your application is processed and reviewed you will hear from the DoT about the status of your license.
Make sure to check the DoT’s instructions for filing your Wisconsin dealer license, if you have any questions about the process.
Getting your Wisconsin auto dealer bond
Posting your $50,000 Wisconsin auto dealer bond is an essential requirement of the licensing process. Without a bond, you cannot open your dealership.
Dealer bonds are a type of protection that the auto dealer must provide to the state and the public. They guarantee that dealers will comply with Wisconsin law and dealer regulations. If a dealer violates these laws, the bond makes financial compensation available to those who have suffered damages or losses as a result.
To obtain your bond you needn’t pay $50,000, though! Getting bonded requires you to pay a small premium. Standard market rates are usually somewhere between 1% and 3% of the total bond amount if you have good financials, such as a high credit score. Read our surety bond cost guide to get a good picture of the factors that determine bond cost.
If you’re curious about the cost of your own bond, you can get an entirely free quote by applying online right now. And if you have any questions regarding the bonding process or the bonding requirement for Wisconsin auto dealers, call us at 877.514.5146 anytime!
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