Types of Dealer Licenses

The SCDMV issues several types of licenses for buying, selling, and trading motor vehicles. The type of business that you wish to operate will determine the type of license that is appropriate for you.

  • Motor Vehicle Dealer License: A motor vehicle dealer license, the most commonly issued license, allows you to sell retail or wholesale motor vehicles. Vehicles may be sold to the general public and any other dealer or wholesaler. As a licensed dealer, you are not required to sell a specific number of vehicles to maintain your license. However, you must have a dealer license if you sell or attempt to sell more than five vehicles in a calendar year.
  • Motor Vehicle Wholesaler License: Licensed motor vehicle wholesalers differ from dealers. Wholesalers are limited to whom they can sell motor vehicles. As a licensed wholesaler, you may only sell vehicles to licensed motor vehicle dealers or other licensed wholesalers. There are no limitations or requirements for the number of vehicles that you sell in a calendar year. However, you must have a wholesaler license if you attempt to sell more than five vehicles in a calendar year.
  • Motor Vehicle Wholesale Auction License: A motor vehicle wholesale auction license allows you to conduct a motor vehicle auction in your place of business. You do not own the vehicles auctioned. Other businesses actually own, buy, or sell the vehicles. Your wholesale auction license permits you to provide a building or place to conduct the auction. If you choose to purchase and sell vehicles belonging to the auction, you may do so.
  • Motorcycle Dealer License: As a motorcycle dealer, you are licensed to sell retail or wholesale motorcycles to the general public or any other dealer or wholesaler. Like motor vehicle dealers, you must have a motorcycle dealer license if you sell or attempt to sell more than five motorcycles in a calendar year.
  • Motorcycle Wholesaler License: Licensed motorcycle wholesalers differ from dealers. Wholesalers are limited to whom they can sell motorcycles. As a licensed motorcycle wholesaler, you may only sell motorcycles to licensed motorcycle dealers or other licensed motorcycle wholesalers. There are no limitations or requirements for the number of motorcycles that you sell in a calendar year. However, you must have a motorcycle wholesaler license if you attempt to sell more than five motorcycles in a calendar year.
  • Travel Trailer Dealer License: A person is required to be a travel trailer dealer if they sell more than three travel trailers, new or used, or one travel trailer that has never been titled. These dealers are issued a regular dealer's license marked Travel Trailer Dealer.
  • Temporary Travel Trailer/Camper Dealer License: You must be a licensed SC travel or camper trailer dealer to apply for a temporary travel trailer dealer license. This temporary license permits you to exhibit and sell travel trailers (motor homes) at fairs, recreational and sports shows, vacation shows and other similar events. Dealers may not purchase more than six temporary licenses in one year. This license applies to only one dealer operating in one location and is not transferable to any other dealer or location. The Temporary Travel Trailer/Camper Dealer License is valid for 10 consecutive days and the fee is $20 per license.

Each license is valid for 12 months and should be displayed prominently in your place of business. Each license applies to only one dealer at one business location and is not transferable to any other dealer or location. Each license costs $50.

If you operate as a dealer or wholesaler without the proper license, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned for up to two years.

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Applying for a Dealer License

You must apply for a dealer license with the SCDMV before beginning business as a dealer or wholesaler. The licensing requirements may differ depending on the type of license you require and whether or not you have been licensed before.
 
To get any type of dealer or wholesaler license, you must complete all required applications and pass an inspection by the SCDMV. If you're applying for the first-time, you must submit the following forms depending on the type of license you are requesting. No fees are required to submit your application.

Mail your completed application the address below:

SCDMV
Dealer Licensing and Audit Unit
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0023

Required documents for a Dealer License

If you're applying for a dealer demonstration plate, you must submit proof of current garage liability insurance.

Required documents for a Wholesale License

If you're applying for a dealer demonstration plate, you must submit proof of current garage liability insurance.

Required documents for a Wholesale Auction License

If you're applying for a dealer demonstration plate, you must submit proof of current garage liability insurance.

Required documents for a Motorcycle Dealer License or a Travel Trailer Dealer License

If you're applying for a dealer demonstration plate, you must submit proof of current garage liability insurance.

Required documents for a Motorcycle Wholesale License   

If you're applying for a dealer demonstration plate, you must submit proof of current garage liability insurance.

The Application for a Dealer or Wholesaler License (SCDMV Form DLA-1) is the basic application for your dealer or wholesaler license. You must indicate the type of business you intend to operate, the address of your dealership, and provide information regarding your employees on this application. You must include estimates on the number of vehicles you expect to sell during your first year in business.

You must report any change in the information on your application to the SCDMV within 30 days.

You must complete a new application if you move your dealership to a new location, change the name of the business, change ownership, or change your license type or status from a wholesaler to a dealer.

You must notify the SCDMV within ten days in the event you close your business. You must return your dealer or wholesaler license and any plates issued to you.