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PA Auto Dealer Application Process

The application process for an auto dealership license borders on epic. But to save you time, be sure you know beforehand what license you are applying for. This is important; you will be allowed to sell only the type of vehicles you are licensed for.

Types of Dealer License

  • New motor vehicles: cars, trucks, buses, and light vehicles.
  • Used motor vehicles: cars, trucks, buses, and light vehicles.
  • New recreational vehicles: motorhomes and travel trailers.
  • Used recreational vehicles: motorhomes and travel trailers.
  • Trailers: semitrailers and pole trailers.
  • New or used motorcycles: motorcycles and quadricycles.
  • New or used mobile homes.
  • New or used special vehicles: ambulances and hearses.
  • New or used all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Applying for a Dealership License

Getting a dealership license is a lengthy process and not for the faint of heart. Make sure all of your information is accurate, for it will be scrutinized by the Pennsylvania Department of State's Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers, and Salespersons. Any information deemed false will either stall or terminate your license quest.

You'll need to carefully follow the instructions on the application, but in general you need to take the following steps:

The auto dealer industry is highly regulated, down to the physical requirements of your dealership. Whether you sell used cars or new, make sure your site adheres to the following:

  • Must have a permanent enclosed building that has a private office for the storage of files.
  • Must have a display area.
  • All outdoor display areas must be properly graded and have adequate lighting.
  • Must have a phone line for business purposes.
  • Must have a sign attached to the building or built separate that displays the dealership's name and can be seen by the public.
  • Your dealership must conform to all local building codes and zoning ordinances.
  • Business hours must be posted somewhere easily visible to the public.
  • Must own a certificate of occupancy that meets all standards of the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act.

After You Submit Your Application

Once all of your forms and documents are deemed in order, your dealership will be inspected by a vehicle board agent. If everything is satisfactory, you will be issued a temporary authorization allowing you to open for business while your license certificate is processed. Your license and Dealership Identification Number (DIN) will be mailed to you in about four weeks.

You will need to renew your license before May 31st every odd-numbered year. You can find a list of renewal fees for every type of dealer license at the bottom of the vehicle board home page.