How To Get A South Carolina Dealer License:
A Step by Step Guide

Are you up to the challenge?  Here is a simple guide of steps you need to take to get your South Carolina Dealer License

Before You Begin:

Determine Which Type of License You Need

  • Motor Vehicle Dealer License: Allows you to sell new and used vehicles.
  • Motor Vehicle Wholesaler License: Allows you to distribute/sell used vehicles to car dealers.
  • Motor Vehicle Wholesale Auction License: Allows you to conduct a motor vehicle auction in your place business
  • Motorcycle Dealer License: Allows you to sell retail or wholesale motorcycles to the public or other dealers
  • Motorcycle Wholesaler License: Allows you to sell motorcycles other motorcycle wholesalers or dealers but not to the public

Step 1: Attend a Pre-Licensing Course 

All applicants for a South Carolina dealer license must attend a eight hour pre-license course.    The course is in person only and will allow you upon completion to receive an original certificate that must be part of the application packet for your South Carolina dealers license. (Used Motor Vehicle Dealers Only)

Step 2: Obtain a Business Location

  • Have an  "established salesroom" containing at least 96 square feet of floor space in a permanent, enclosed building, or separate and apart from any living quarters, residence, or other business and having a separate entrance.  Must be easily accessible to the public. Plus a lot of at least 2000 square feet
  • Applicant must draw a sketch of the building and lot showing approximate proportions.
  • Is a place where the books, records, and files required by the Division under this Article are kept.
  • Confirm with local zoning for approval for dealership business at the location
  • Your sign must be permanent with lettering at least six inches tall readable from the nearest street.

Step 3: Determine Company Structure and Register with the State

Decide what the company structure will be file with the South Carolina Secretary of State under business filings.

Step 4: Surety Bond

Dealers must file an original surety bond with their application for a new license as well as when renewing their license. Surety bonds can be quoted and purchased from the company below.


South Carolina Dealer/Wholesaler Surety Bond — $50,000 bond
Motorcycle Dealer/Wholesaler Surety Bond - $25,000 bond
**Make sure the business name is exactly the same on the bond from step 3!

Step 5: Garage Liability Insurance

You must provide proof of insurance via a certificate of insurance for a garage liability policy.  Garage Liability policies can be quoted and purchased fastest through  All American Bonds and Insurance.

Step 6: Arrange for a Business Location Pre-Inspection

All applicants for a South Carolina dealer license should arrange for a location pre-inspection.  The pre-inspection is conducted by an agent of the SC DMV.  Contact the Business License unit at 803-896-2611 to reach your local agent and request a pre-inspection prior to making a commitment on a location.

Step 7: Obtain Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN)

Internal Revenue System) or Social Security Number and Affidavit. Sole Proprietors with no employees and partnerships can submit proof of identification instead of a FEID number. 
This is done on

Step 8: Apply for a South Carolina Retail License or Tax Exempt Certificate

As a retail dealer you must obtain your required sales tax number from the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Because licensed wholesalers cannot sell vehicles to individuals, they are not required to collect sales tax and therefore are exempt from this requirement. Wholesale dealers must obtain a tax exemption certificate from the SC Department of Revenue.

Step 9: Apply for a City or County Business License

Apply for the appropriate business license within your city or county.   

Step 10: National Criminal History Report

Get a Premier Biotech " National Criminal History Report" for all owners through theSCDMV.  It may take a minimum of three to five business days to receive the report via email. The minimum cost is $43.01  

Step 11: Prepare Fees

License fees are as follows:

First Time Application Fee:  $150
License Renewal Application Fee: $150
Business Name or Address Change: $150 plus $1 per plate
License Category Change Fee: $150

Plate Fees : $20 each to local DMV branch

Step 12: Other Items

If financing vehicles:
-File Consumer Credit Grantor Notification form and the Maximum Rate Schedule Form HERE

If Charging a "Doc Fee":
-File Motor Vehicle Dealers Closing Fee form HERE

Step 13: Enroll with an Electronic Vehicle Registration "EVR" Vendor

The Electronic Registration and Titling (ERT) program allows authorized business partners to apply for titles and registrations on newly purchased vehicles electronically. The ERT system is supplied through a service provider that works with the SCDMV.

There are only 3 authorized service providers:
Solera Title Tec
DDI Technology
Computerized Vehicle Registration

Step 14: Complete and Submit the Dealer  Application 

Submit the following in order to process your application.  Incomplete forms or illegible forms will not be processed.

  • SCDMV DLA-1 (Dealer License Application)
  • SCDMV Form AD-808A (Affidavit of Eligibility) One for each owner of 10% or more.
  • SCDMV DLA-1B (Dealer Bond) ORIGINAL no copies allowed!
  • Check or Money Order for application fees
  • 8 Hour Continuing education certificate.  Must be ORIGINAL no copies allowed(Step 1)
  • Zoning approval letter (Step 2)
  • Garage liability insurance certificate or declaration page (Step 5)
  • If Corporation/LLC, copies of your Articles of Authorization      Secretary of State filing (Step 3)
  • Copy of SCDOR Retail License or Exemption (Step 8)
  • National Criminal Report background check for each owner of 10% or more (Step 10)
Applications Should be Submitted to the Following Locations:
Standard Mail:
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Business License Unit
PO Box 1498 | Blythewood, SC 29016-0023

Overnight Mail:
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Business License Unit
10311 Wilson Blvd. Bldg C | Blythewood, SC 29016-0023