The Full South Carolina Dealer License Guide 
Do you wish to launch an auto dealership in South Carolina? You’ll need a South Carolina dealer license to start your operations in the state.
The license type that you can obtain from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) are:
- Motor Vehicle Dealer
- Wholesale Dealer
- Wholesale Auction
- Motorcycle Dealer
- Motorcycle Wholesaler
- Recreational Vehicle Dealer
You can find out how to get your South Carolina auto dealer license in the sections below.
You’ll have to meet all the requirements set by the SCDMV for your license type.
Business and Tax Registration
You’ll first need to register a business entity. This is usually done with your city or country authorities.
You’ll have to attach the registration documents to your application. It may be a business license, zoning permit, business registration, or a letter from the city or county authorities that you don’t need such a document.
You’ll need other registrations as well, including:
- Retail License from the SC Department of Revenue (for all retail license types)
- Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Established Place of Business
You’ll need to provide a hand drawn or computer-generated diagram of your physical location, including:
- Structure/layout of the building and lot
- Display area of the vehicles
- Office space
All retail dealers have to request a courtesy pre-inspection of their business location.
Criminal Background Check
You’ll have to apply for and obtain The National Criminal Report, which is a dealer licensing background screening.
Non-Franchise Dealers Pre-Licensing Course
Non-franchise dealers have to pass an 8-hour pre-licensing course.
After you have gathered all the necessary documents, you’ll have to complete your application with the SCDMV.
South Carolina License Application Forms
You’ll also have to complete the Affidavit of Eligibility (SCDMV Form AD-808A) for each owner owning 10% or more of the business
The fees you’ll need to cover are the following:
- Dealer licensing background screen – $34.05
- License fee – $50
The SCDMV doesn’t require application fees.
You’ll need a South Carolina auto dealer bond to complete your licensing process. It ensures your compliance with all relevant laws, including Title 56, Chapter 14 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.
The bond amounts are:
- Motor Vehicle, Wholesale or Recreational Vehicle Dealer – $30,000
- Wholesale Auction, Motorcycle Dealer and Motorcycle Wholesaler – $15,000
If you’re applying for dealer demonstration plates, you’ll also have to provide a Certificate of Liability/Garage Insurance.
When you submit your application, the SCDMV will review it. Then you will get a business location inspection that will check your place of business, signs, and records.
You can check your dealer license online.
Your license is active for 12 months. You’ll have to renew it to continue your operations. Keep in mind that your license is not transferable and can be used only by you and only for the licensed location.
Do you need more details about the South Carolina motor vehicle dealer license and bonding? You can post your questions in the comments below!
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