The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles – Dealer Unit put out their updated NC DMV Minimum Dealer License Requirements form back in May of 2023.  Not much has changed in this update but here are the 5 things you need to do in order to get a car dealer license in North Carolina.

1. Find a location, 2. Take the 12-hour pre-licensing course, 3. Get bonded and insured, 4. Register the business, and 5. Pass a criminal background check.  Read more below!

1. Find a Location

If you want to sell cars to the public you need a publicly accessible car lot and “established salesroom”.  The DMV requires you have a physical address and office that is 96sq ft (no home office!). 

If you are just getting your Wholesale Dealer License, then an office that is accessible for Division personnel and where books and records are kept is all you need.  This can be in an office building.

2. Take the 12-Hour Pre-Licensing Course

It is mandatory that all perspective dealers take a, two day, 12 hour class learning the Do’s and Don’ts of the business.  You can find dates and locations for North Carolina classes here:

3. Get Bonded and Insured

Let’s face it, you’re not just selling socks.  Motor vehicle sales in North Carolina require you to be bonded and insured.  A corporate surety bond and garage insurance is a must.

4. Register your Business

You need to be “official”.  This means you need a current business license from the state and local municipality saying you can do business at your physical location.  You can do this yourself or use Legal Zoom to take of it for you!

5. Pass a Criminal Background Check

There are minimal requirements you must pass regarding certain crimes and felonies in order to be the owner of a car dealership.

Need more info?
Check out our NC Dealer’s Corner for more details!

DID YOU KNOW?  There are approximately 7,900 licensed automobile dealers and 44,000 sales reps in the state of North Carolina as of 2023!


How much does it cost to get your dealer’s license?

The NC Dealer License itself cost $97 but based on the requirements above their are many more additional expenses: Obtaining a bond, registering your business, taking the PLE class, signing a lease on an office, etc.

How much is it to get your Wholesale License?

In North Carolina it’s the same, $97, to get your wholesale dealer’s license.

What Paperwork is required in order to apply for my auto dealer license?

   LT-400 (Notarized);
   LT-409 (Notarized);
   LT-426 (Notarized);
   12 Hour Continuing education certificate dated within the past 12 months;
   Zoning approval letter;
   Garage liability insurance certificate or declaration page;
   If Corporation/LLC, copies of your meeting minutes and Secretary of State filing;

Where can I find more info?

Always check the NCDOT website for latest information.  Here are some helpful links: