The Full Ohio Dealer License Guide (2024)

Published: Jan 07, 2022

ohio dealer license


Are you thinking about starting a car dealership in Ohio? If you want to launch this business endeavor, you have to undergo rigorous administrative procedures. Most notably, you have to obtain an Ohio dealer license. 

The licensure is required for anyone selling more than 5 vehicles within a period of 12 months. In order to get licensed, you have to meet the state requirements for dealers. They ensure that you are equipped to handle the duties of a car salesperson. 

In the guide below, you can find the main steps that you need to take to launch your car dealership in Ohio.

1. Choose the right auto dealer license type 

Before you get started with the actual application, you have to select the type of Ohio auto dealer license that you want to obtain. The options are:

  • New Vehicle Dealer - for selling new motor vehicles, motorcycles, off-highway motorcycles, all-purpose vehicles, and camping trailers
  • Used Vehicle Dealer - for selling used motor vehicles, motorcycles, off-highway motorcycles, and all-purpose vehicles

2. Get to know the Ohio dealer license requirements

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) regulates the activities of auto dealers in the state. You have to comply with its licensing requirements in order to get started as a car dealer. 

The documents that you have to obtain and fill in include:

  • Business entity information and formation documents 
  • Information about owners, partners and principal officers
  • Local zoning compliance documents for your business location
  • Proof of compliance with business location requirements, including display lot, permanent business sign, business phone and business hours (different for new and used dealers) 
  • Photos of the business location 
  • Certificate for completion of a 6-hour dealer training course done within the last 6 months (for the Ohio used car dealer license only)
  • Statement of Manufacturer/ Distributor Franchise (BMV 4319) for each line of make (for new car dealers only) 
  • Proof of meeting the $75,000 minimum net worth requirement 

3. Prepare your paperwork

ohio dealer licenseYou have to fill in the respective Ohio dealer license application form for the license type that you seek:

In addition to the documents listed in the previous section, you also have to obtain the following from different institutions:

  • Business entity registration from the Ohio Secretary of State
  • Tax registration with the Ohio Department of Taxation
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  • Criminal history records from the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI)
  • Vendor number from the County Auditor’s Office

4. Obtain the required Ohio auto dealer bond

Used car dealers in Ohio are required to obtain a surety bond as an additional requirement. It functions as a safety measure that protects the interests of your customers, ensuring your legal compliance. 

The amount of the Ohio auto dealer bond that you need to post is $25,000. You have to provide it in the official form.

To get bonded, you need to pay a premium, which is a fraction of the required bond amount. It is formulated on the basis of your personal and business finances. Your personal credit score, company financials, and any fixed and liquid assets are some of the main indicators that affect the bond price. If they are in good shape, you can expect rates between 0.75% to 5%

Want to see the exact price of your auto dealer bond? Fill in the short form below! 


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5. Apply with your full document set

Once you have collected all the required documents, you have to mail them to:

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Attention: Dealer Licensing Section

P.O. Box 16521

Columbus, Ohio 43216-6521

The fees for the BMV dealer licensing that you have to cover include:

  • $150 Title Defect Rescission Fund
  • $50 Permit
  • $50.25 Master Plate
  • $4.50 Postage for plates
  • $10.25 per each additional plate that you want

Before you are issued a license, you will have to successfully pass the physical inspection of your business location by the BMV. The usual waiting period for the licensing is between 4 to 6 weeks. 

6. Renew your license

The licensing period for Ohio dealers runs for 1 year. To continue your operations afterwards, you can renew the license online via the Identity Manager Platform of the  Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS). 


Need more information about the Ohio dealer license and bonding? Don’t hesitate to contact us at 877.514.5146.

Ready to get your FREE surety bond quote? Apply with Lance Surety Bonds and get bonded in minutes.
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About Lance Surety Bonds

Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. is a surety bond agency based out of southeastern Pennsylvania that is able to write all surety bond types in all 50 states. We are dedicated to servicing all of our customers' surety bonding needs throughout the country and guarantee competitive rates, timely responses, and unparalleled customer service.

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