The Complete West Virginia Dealer License Guide [2020]

Published: Jan 7, 2020
west virginia dealer license

 

Are you planning to start a car dealership in West Virginia? If you want to launch this new business endeavor, you need a West Virginia dealer license. 

The license is obligatory for all WV dealers. In order to obtain it, you have to satisfy a list of requirements that ensure you are suitable for the job. One of the main criteria that you have to fulfill is to post an auto dealer bond. It guarantees your legal compliance as a car salesman. 

**NEW:** Download our FREE e-book guide containing comprehensive information on how to start your own dealership, from getting licensed and bonded to securing financing and cars for your lot!

For a full overview of the licensing process, you can consult the detailed guide below. 

1. Determine the right auto dealer license type 

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at the state Department of Transportation is the licensing authority that governs the activities of dealers in the state. You can apply for a number of different license types from it: 

  • New and Used Vehicles (D)
  • Used Vehicles (Duc)
  • Recreational Vehicles (Drv)
  • Trailer (Dtr)
  • Motorcycle (F)
  • Manufacturer (Mfg)
  • Transporter (Trs)
  • Auto Auction (Aa)
  • Wrecker (Wdr)
  • Dismantler
  • Rebuilder
  • Repo-Financial
  • Institution
  • Ls-License Service

2. Get to know the West Virginia dealer license requirements

Obtaining a WV auto dealer license entails that you meet a range of criteria set by the DMV. The list includes the following:

  • Personal information about owners and officers
  • Business entity details
  • Business location requirements (office, display area, business sign, working hours, telephone)
  • Pictures of dealership and sign with letters no less than 4” in height
  • Franchise agreement (for franchised dealers)
  • Garage agreement (if necessary)
  • Dealer liability insurance – $20,000 for bodily injury to a single person in any one incident, $40,000 for two persons and any physical and bodily injuries and $10,000 for every additional person in any one accident (for all license types but license service)
  • $25,000 surety bond (for all license types but manufacturers, repo-financial institutions and transporters)

3. Prepare your paperwork

west virginia dealer licenseIn order to start your licensing process, you have to call the DMV at (304) 926-0705 to request mailing of the minimum requirements. Afterwards, you have to set an appointment for a pre-inspection of your location. The inspector who visits your business will bring the application package, which you have to fill in fully. 

Besides fulfilling the requirements detailed in the previous section, you also need to obtain additional documents from other authorities:

  • Personal property tax receipt for each owner and corporate officer or an affidavit from your county that you don’t owe any taxes
  • Letter of good standing for all owners and corporate officers from the WV State Tax Department
  • Business license from the WV State Tax Department
  • Zoning compliance documents from your county 
  • Criminal background check from the Investigation Bureau

4. Obtain the necessary West Virginia auto dealer bond 

For most types of WV dealer licenses, you have to get a surety bond. It represents a security instrument that safeguards the interests of the state and of your customers. Manufacturers, repo-financial institutions and transporters are exempt from this requirement. 

The amount of the West Virginia auto dealer bond is set at $25,000. In order to get bonded, you have to pay a premium, which is a small percentage of the required amount. 

The typical rates for applicants with stable finances are between 0.75% and 5%. If your personal credit score and company finances are in good shape, you can expect to pay less for your bond. 

5. Apply with your full document set

Whenever you have obtained all necessary documents, mail them together with your completed application form to:

 

West Virginia DOT

Division of Motor Vehicles

Dealer Services

PO Box 17100

Charleston, WV 25317

 

Afterwards, an inspector will visit your location again to obtain fingerprints from all owners and corporate officers, as well as to get signatures on a release of information waiver.

The licensing fees for your West Virginia dealer license are the following:

  • $250 for new and used vehicles, used vehicles, recreational, trailer, motorcycle, manufacturer, transporter, auto auction, and wrecker
  • $100 for repo-financial institution
  • $25 for licensing service
  • No fee for dismantler, rebuilder, and institution
  • $150 recovery fund fee for all license types

If you have complied with all requirements and paid the due fees, you will receive your license and West Virginia dealer tags. 

6. Undergo the yearly renewal

To keep your business in operation, you have to renew your license every year. The licensing period for most license types runs from July 1st to June 30th of each year. The period for license services is from January 1st to December 31st. You have to cover the renewal fees and prolong your bond coverage as well.  

 

Have further questions about the WV dealer license and bond process? Don’t hesitate to contact our experts 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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