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ODPS | BMV | OhioAutoDealers.com

Distributor’s License

Business licensed for the purpose of distributing new motor vehicles or new motorcycles from the manufacturer to franchised dealers.

Applications for a leasing license shall be denied for reasons listed in the R.C. 4517.12 and 4501:1-3-09 of the Ohio Administrative Code which include:

  • Conviction of ANY felony during the past ten (10) years.
  • Conviction of ANY misdemeanor or felony (regardless of the conviction date) related to dealing in motor vehicles.

Physical Location Requirements


  • Verify with the local authorities the zoning regulations for the proposed facility. The State of Ohio (BMV) Dealer Licensing Section does not pre-empt the enforcement by local authorities of zoning, health, safety codes, or laws.
  • The proposed established place of business must be easily accessible from a public roadway and identified as a distributor.
  • The distributor’s established place of business is used exclusively for the purpose of distributing new motor vehicles to new motor vehicle dealers; except as pursuant to R.C. 4517.03 (F) a distributor who is also a new motor vehicle dealer may distribute new motor vehicles at the same place of business at which the distributor sells, displays, offers for sale, or deals in new motor vehicles.
  • The established place of business must be separated from any residence, used motor vehicle dealership, salvage motor vehicle dealership, salvage motor vehicle auction, and salvage motor vehicle pool.

NOTE: A physical inspection will be performed by BMV Investigations shortly before license issuance. If the licensed location fails to meet any of the listed requirements, it will immediately be referred to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Board for possible suspension or revocation of the license. (IN-STATE DISTRIBUTORS ONLY)

Additional Application Requirements


Photographs of the proposed physical location must be submitted with an application or separately via e-mail. The photographs shall reveal the following, but not limited to:

  • The office (inside and outside)
  • The sign with the business name, including any registered trade names (minimum 6-inch lettering)

All photographs submitted via e-mail (JPG format only) must include your business name and county name or number in the subject line and send to dealerphotos@dps.ohio.gov


Ohio residents who are an owner, partner, president, member, trustee, or principal owner of any “other registered entity” ownership style MUST be electronically fingerprinted.

Any out-of-state residents who are an owner, partner, president, member, trustee, or principal owner of any “other registered entity” ownership style MUST be fingerprinted by submitting a fingerprint card.

For detailed instructions on how to obtain and submit electronic fingerprints or a fingerprint card click on the following links:


NOTE: Electronic Fingerprinting prices vary and are payable to the company taking the prints.


Distributors within the state of Ohio are required to obtain at least one distributor plate to use for demonstration purposes. Distributors outside the state are not eligible.

NOTE: A reasonable number of additional plates may be requested to support the auction business. However the plates may not be used contrary to uses as specified in the Ohio Revised Code Section 4503.33. Plates used for any other purpose may be reduced or subject to confiscation.


Download Application

Distributor’s License Application  (PDF) (Word)



Permit $100.00
Master Distributor Plate (Ohio applicants ONLY) $50.25
Additional Distributor Plates (each) $10.25
Postage (if plates are ordered) $4.50


Relevant Code Sections

ORC 4503.30 ORC 4517.52 ORC 4517.61
ORC 4517.02 ORC 4517.53 ORC 4517.62
ORC 4517.03 ORC 4517.54 ORC 4517.63
ORC 4517.08 ORC 4517.55 ORC 4517.64
ORC 4517.10 ORC 4517.56 ORC 4517.65
ORC 4517.13 ORC 4517.57 OAC 4501:1-3-03
ORC 4517.23 ORC 4517.58 OAC 4501:1-3-04
ORC 4517.50 ORC 4517.59 OAC 4501:1-3-07
ORC 4517.51 ORC 4517.60 OAC 4501:1-3-09