12 Steps to an Ohio Dealers License

1. Complete Ohio Dealer License Application

Before you obtain an Ohio Dealers License you must complete an Ohio Used Motor Vehicle Dealer Application from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). You may download the form at www.ohioautodealers.com. The application must be completed correctly and in its entirety. Mistakes on your dealer application can cause significant delays in your licensing process. We will complete a Used Motor Vehicle Dealer Application in the your Ohio dealer license class.

2. Electronic Fingerprinting

Before you apply for your dealer license from the registrar of motor vehicles you must be electronically fingerprinted. Any person whose name has not been on an Ohio dealer license in the last 12 months must submit the electronic fingerprinting to obtain the license. Any owner or partner that owns 10% or more must be electronically fingerprinted. You must request the fingerprinting location send an electronic copy to “BMV Dealer Licensing”. For a complete list of fingerprinting locations in Ohio visit the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.ohioattorneygeneral.com to find an electronic fingerprinting location near you. Some locations allow you to walk in but others require an appointment. The price varies depending on the location that conducts your fingerprinting. If you do not live in Ohio you must call the Dealer Licensing Section at 614-752-7636 in Columbus to obtain your fingerprint card. Be sure to include a copy of each owners fingerprint card in your dealer license application packet.

3. Business Building

In order to obtain an Ohio dealer license the State of Ohio requires you to have a place of business to be used solely for the purpose of selling motor vehicles. You must have an office in the building that has at least 180 square feet. Your office must include, at minimum, a desk, three chairs, and one filing cabinet or similar furnishings to create an environment conducive to an office and facilitating the storage of records, all of which must be kept neat & orderly. The building must meet all building and zoning requirements. Be sure the office never becomes a storage area. You must also have a working landline or cellular telephone that is answered in the dealership name. Be sure to check your local zoning ordinances to ensure you may have a dealers license at the location you have chosen for your dealership. We will discuss the building requirements extensively in your dealership class.

4. Display Lot

Before Columbus will approve your dealer license application you must have a display lot that is at least 3500 square feet or, for Ohio dealers that never have more than 10 vehicles for retail sale, the lot must have enough space for all vehicles being offered for retail sale. You cannot allow the accumulation of mud, dust, water, weeds, or unsightly conditions on the display lot. The lot must meet all local zoning requirements. Your lot and building must have easy access from the nearest roadway. We will also explain what an expanded display lot is in your dealer license class.

5. Business Sign & Photographs

You will need a permanent business sign. The dealership name must be displayed in letters on the sign that are at least 6 inches high or larger. Most printing companies can produce a permanent business sign at minimal costs. Be sure the letters in the dealership name are at least 6 inches high. You must also send photographs of your business to be granted an Ohio dealer license.You can email the photographs to dealerphotos@dps.ohio.gov  or enclose the photographs in your dealer application packet.We will discuss what photos to send in your dealer license class.

6. Business Hours & Records

Ohio dealers must display business hours prominently near the entrance to the office in order to be granted your license. You may post your business hours on the front of the building, on a window, or on the business sign. The dealership must be open and staffed during the posted hours of operation. Minimum dealers business hour requirements will be disclosed in class. Columbus will require all dealers to maintain records on all vehicles purchased, leased, and sold. You will review an entire section on exactly what records to keep in your Ohio dealer license training course.

7. Apply for Ohio Vendors Number & Register with Ohio Secretary of State

Before you apply for your dealer’s license you must obtain an Ohio Vendors number. This number will be necessary for you to report the sales tax you collect on the vehicles you sell with your dealers license. You will be taken step by step through the Vendor Number Application process in a dealer training class near you. We will make this process very easy. Any entity obtaining a dealers license in Ohio may also be required to register with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Registering your business with the Secretary of State is covered in greater detail in the dealer class. For additional information on registering your business you may contact the Ohio Secretary of State at 614-466-2655.

8. I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification & Federal ID Number

The Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is a U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services form. You can find the form at www.uscis.gov You will be given an overview of this form in your training class. Before mailing your dealer license application packet you must also create a Federal Employee Identification Number. This number is used to identify the new business you are starting and will be needed for tax purposes. Obtaining this number is a very quick and easy step that will be covered in your licensing class. Be sure to include it on your dealer license application.

9. Net Worth

The State of Ohio would like you to have a net worth of at least $75,000 before you apply for an Ohio dealer license. It is very easy to estimate your net worth, just add up everything you own and subtract what you owe. If requested, you must provide documentation, such as a financial disclosure statement, to prove your net worth to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This documentation would only be required upon request.

10. Dealer Educational Class

Any person applying for an Ohio used motor vehicle dealer’s license that has not held a dealer license in the past 2 years are required to take 6 hour dealer educational course. You will receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the class to enclose in your dealer license application packet. When you complete the class, you will be confident and ready to start your Ohio dealership. Click here for the Ohio Dealer License Class Schedule

11. Mail or Hand Deliver Dealer License Application

When you have completed the initial application steps you will need to enclose all of your paperwork into a large envelope which we refer to as the dealer application packet. Be sure to include your completed Ohio dealer application form BMV 4320, dealer education Certificate of Completion, photographs if they are not being emailed, form BMV 4347 if sharing the location with another dealer, any salesperson applications if applicable, and check or money order for all dealer license fees to:

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Dealer Licensing Section
P.O.Box 16521
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6521

If you would like to hand deliver your application you may deliver it to:

Ohio Department of Public Safety
1970 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43223-1101

12. Physical Lot Inspection

Shortly after you receive your license, BMV Investigation personnel will inspect your lot. The Ohio BMV wants to make sure that you have met all of the physical requirements which includes the office building located on the display lot, desk, chairs, filing cabinet, lighting & heating, display lot, displayed telephone number and office hours, etc. All requirements must be met before applying for a dealer’s license. We will discuss this lot inspection in your dealer training.

If you have questions on how to gain your Ohio dealers license, call us at 800-369-2467. GOOD LUCK!