(704) 307-2030 Apex, NC M-F: 9AM - 5PM

How To Get Your NC Dealer License

Step-by-step guide with helpful links to assist you in getting your North Carolina used car dealer license.

What are the North Carolina motor vehicle minimum dealer license requirements?

Are you interested in becoming a licensed car dealer in the state of North Carolina? The NC DOT - DMV provides a great checklist of what is required...the only problem is it's just a checklist!

KGI has been working side by side with used car dealers for almost two decades. If you are just looking for the State's checklist we've linked it below.  But if you want some great inside knowledge, links, and resources to help you through this, that's what we're here for!

Used car dealership in North Carolina

Obtaining your Auto Dealer License

The Ultimate NC Auto Dealer License Checklist.

Have an "established salesroom" (Retail) or "established office" (Wholesale).

Salesroom and Office must be in compliance with state and local zoning rules.

Have a sign designating the name of the business.

Schedule a physical inspection by a NC License & Theft Bureau Officer.

Dealer application must accurately describe the physical location of the business, not a PO Box.

If the business is a corporation, articles of incorporation must have been filed with the NC Secretary of State

File business name with Register of Deeds in the NC county where the business is maintained.

Have a comprehensive liability insurance company policy or Garage Coverage policy to cover dealer plates.

Furnish a corporate surety bond ($50,000)

Applicants for a dealer's license must complete an approved 12 hour pre-licensing course.


Establishing a Physical Location

Have an Established Salesroom 

You must have a 96 square feet (or larger) of floor space in a permanent, enclosed building, or separate and apart from any living quarters, residence, or other business.  It must also have a separate entrance.

Zoning Requirements

Your dealership office/building must meet all state, county, and municipal ordinances and regulations.  TIP: If you are unsure about your location contact the DMV officer assigned to your area to preapprove the space before you sign a lease.

Dealership Sign

You must have a dealership sign with block letters at least three inches in height. BUT YOU WILL WANT BIGGER!!

Attend a 12 Hour Pre-Licensing Course

In order to get your dealer license you must show proof that within the last twelve (12) months you have completed a twelve hour licensing class that is approved by the DMV.

We HIGHLY recommend you take the NC Dealer Class early in the process. It is through this class you will learn each step in this process along with many other Do's and Don'ts on laws and regulations when it comes to selling cars in North Carolina.


Course Information:

Phone: 704-918-4138

Bond and Insurance

Corporate Surety Bond 

You must furnish a corporate surety bond or a cash bond in the amount of $50,000 and $25,000 for each additional salesroom.

Liability Insurance 

You must have a comprehensive liability insurance company policy or Garage Coverage Form - Automobile Dealer Supplementary policy number or binder number from the insurance company to cover dealer plates.  (Learn about the rules of driving on a dealer place at your PLE class)


All American Bonds and Insurance

Vanessa Rocha

Phone: 844-321-2663 Ext 402

Business Registration & Licenses

Register You Business

The DMV must have evidence of an assumed name being filed with the Register of Deeds in the county in NC of your business.

Article of Incorporation

If your business will be a Corp. you must attach the first page of the corporate charter to your dealer license application.

Here are some great North Carolina Resources

Choose a Business Structure | Choose a Name | Register Your Business



Prices range $99 ~ $400


Economic Development Partnership


Phone: 800-228-8443

Small Business Advisors is a free service for anyone seeking to start a small business in North Carolina. Get 1 on 1 phone consultations to help navigate the headaches of starting a business.

Criminal Background Requirements

Review of Criminal Convictions:

The NC DMV may deny an application based on a criminal conviction under the requirements of N.C.G.S. § 20-294 and N.C.G.S. § 93B-8.1. In reviewing an application where the applicant has a criminal conviction, the Division shall consider the following factors:

  • Seriousness and date of the crime.
  • Applicant's age at the time.
  • Circumstances and relevance to duties.
  • Rehabilitation and employment records.
  • Participation in treatment programs.
  • Certificate of Relief, if applicable.
  • Subsequent crimes and character references.
Used car dealership in North Carolina

Visit NCCOURTS.GOV to learn more about requesting a certified criminal record search.


How much does it cost to get a dealer license in NC?

The NC Dealer License itself costs $115.50.

However, there are other expenses based on the requirements above: Obtaining a bond, registering your business, taking the PLE class, signing a lease on an office, etc.

Why do I need a North Carolina Dealer's License

A dealer license is required if you take part in selling more than 5 motor vehicles in a 12 month period.  OR if you attempt to arrange the sale of / negotiate on behalf of / or exchange 5 or more motor vehicles in a 12 month period.

What is the difference between a Retail and a Wholesale License

Wholesale dealer license is limited to selling vehicles only to other licensed car dealers.  You may not sell to the public.  A wholesale license does not require an established salesroom, meaning one open to the public with a separate entrance from another business.  You can simply have an office within an office building.

Retail license allows you to sell to the public and to other licensed dealers.  Retail dealers must have an established salesrooms.  Read section 1 above, Dealership Physical Location Requirements, for more details.

What are the rules for driving on a dealer tag?

This is covered in your 12 hour Pre-Licensing training class.  You will need to take the class for specific examples but only official dealership business can be done on a dealer tag.  Your wife/husband/kids can not just drive around on your dealer tags. See NC PLE Class Schedule

Here are more Internet resources for becoming an NC Auto Dealer

Our site is designed to bring together resources to make it easy for you. ALWAYS make sure you check for the most updated information. Here are some other reliable resources.

Carolina Dealer Training

PLE NC Dealer Classes, North Carolina news and law updates, and more.


N.C. Department of Transportation's resource site for car dealers.

NC Title Manual

This Manual is provided as a reference guide for titling and registering vehicles in the State of North Carolina.

District Inspectors

North Carolina has a law enforcement agency specifically for License & Theft. They are the agency that oversee car dealerships. Reach out to your inspector for specific questions you may have.

NC License & Theft Offices

District I Greenville: (252) 999-7500

District II Fayetteville: (910) 486-1331

District III Raleigh: (984) 920-8450

District IV Greensboro: (743) 222-6000

District V Winston-Salem: (336) 767-8808

District VI Huntersville: (704) 331-4500

District VII Asheville: (828) 782-9640


How to become an NC Auto Dealer

Where to take your NC Dealer Class

Learn about NC DMV Paperwork