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Dealer Licensing

Dealer Licensing

Frequently Asked Questions

Auction / Auctioneer

May I, as a licensed auctioneer, auction off a licensed motor vehicle dealers (new or used) inventory to the public if I do it on their property?

You may auction vehicles that are titled to the dealer at the licensed location only. Any other location or any other dealer's inventory is prohibited from the auction per the Ohio Revised Code 4517.02 (B).

Can a licensed auctioneer gather at a large parking lot and invite the general public to sell, via the auction method, any number of motor vehicles, as long as no one individual violates the casual sale rule?

A licensed motor vehicle dealer can hold a flea market, in which the dealer will invite the general public, to sell their vehicles at a designated location. The dealer may charge a nominal fee for those individual that wish to participate in the flea market. The casual sales law does apply for those participating in the flea market per the Ohio Revised Code section 4517.01 (U), which defines a “flea market”, and Ohio Revised Code section 4517.02 (A) (6), which defines the sale of a motor vehicle at a flea market without obtaining a license as a dealer.

Background Check / Criminal History Record / Fingerprints

How do I obtain fingerprints for the background check required for a dealer’s or salesperson’s license?

For detailed information, see our Criminal History Record Requirements.

Charity / Donations

May a dealer gift a car for charity?

A dealer may gift a motor vehicle to an organization (with NIP title exemption). The organization must obtain title in their name. The motor vehicle does not become used at this point because the organization is not the ultimate purchaser, and this would also allow the organization to display the motor vehicle at the contest location.

For further information regarding taxes to be paid, contact the Department of Taxation at 888-405-4039. For information regarding a Non-Profit title exemption, contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Title Section at 614-752-7671.

Motor Vehicle Dealer’s License

Who is required to have a motor vehicle dealer’s license?

Any person engaged in the business of offering for sale, displaying for sale, or selling motor vehicles at retail, is required to obtain an Ohio dealer’s license. Wholesale purchases and sales may be made incidental to, and in support of, engaging in business at retail.

How many motor vehicles can I sell before I must obtain a motor vehicle dealer’s license?

Five motor vehicles within a 12-month period.

Can a motor vehicle manufacturer have an automobile dealer’s license?

No. Pursuant to S.B. 260 passed by the 130th General Assembly. However, applicants who are a manufacturer, a parent company, subsidiary, or affiliated entity of a manufacturer who were issued a New Motor Vehicle Dealer License prior to January 1, 2014 and have continued to renew that license, may qualify for the issuance of no more than three (3) New Motor Vehicle Dealer Licenses.

Applicants who are a manufacturer, a parent company, subsidiary, or affiliated entity of a manufacturer who were issued a New Motor Vehicle Dealer License after January 1, 2014 but before September 4, 2014, no additional New Motor Vehicle Dealer Licenses may be issued.

Are finance companies dealing in motor vehicles required to be licensed?

Yes. However, finance companies may sell repossessed motor vehicles at retail without obtaining a dealer’s license.

Are dealers who sell new motor vehicles required to have a contract with a manufacturer or distributor for the new motor vehicles they sell?



Who needs a salespersons license?

All employees who offer for sale, display for sale, or sell motor vehicles for a dealer must be licensed. All employees that offer to lease, make available for lease or lease motor vehicles to another person for personal, family, or household use, must be licensed as a salesperson. Salespersons must apply for a license immediately upon being hired by a motor vehicle dealer, and are prohibited from offering for sale, displaying for sale, or selling motor vehicles until licensed.

For what reason would a salesperson’s license application be denied?

Any felony or misdemeanor conviction relating to dealing in motor vehicles would be reason for denial.

What is required if a salesperson leaves the employ of one dealer, and begins working for another?

The dealer for whom the license was issued must send in a salesperson’s termination form or complete online. A salesperson’slicense may be transferred by submitting an application for transfer of license and fee of $4.00.

Retail Installment Contract

How much can a seller entering into a retail installment contract charge a customer for the preparation of documents?

On June 30, 2006, an amendment to section 1317.07 of the Revised Code, which governs retail installment contracts, took effect.

That section provides that a seller entering into a retail installment contract can charge a fee of up to $250 for preparation of documents related to the sale. Previously, the maximum fee that could be charged for document preparation was $100.

As a result of the amendment, motor vehicle dealers selling motor vehicles to customers under retail installment contracts can charge the customer this $250 document preparation fee in addition to other fees associated with the sale of the vehicle (taxes, registration fees, etc.). It is important to note that the dealership is not required to charge the document preparation fee.

The Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Motor Vehicles did not play any role in the adoption of the amendment to section 1317.07, and receives no portion of the document preparation fee. Instead, the fee is retained by the motor vehicle dealer.

Returned Check

I was notified by my bank of a returned check written to you or a Deputy Registrar office. How do I resolve this matter?

Banks are instructed to send returned checks through a second time. If the check clears on the second attempt, the BMV does not receive any notice of a returned check.

However, if the returned check does not go through on the second attempt, and/or for another reason is sent to the BMV to process, you will be sent a letter requesting payment, including a $15.00 service charge, with a return envelope provided. The letter will reference a claim number, which needs to be included with your payment in order for you to receive proper credit for the transaction.

We understand that mistakes happen and afford you the opportunity to correct the situation.

If you have further questions about a returned check, you may contact the BMV Tax Distribution Section at (614) 752-2084.


Are persons engaged in salvaging motor vehicles eligible for a dealer’s license?

No. However, such persons may be eligible for a dealer’s license. by establishing a motor vehicle dealership entirely separate from the salvage business.

Is a salvage department in a dealership considered as in support of the business of dealing in motor vehicles?

No. Places of business or departments in a place of business used to dismantle, salvage, or rebuild motor vehicles with used parts are not considered as in support of the business of dealing in motor vehicles.

Have Questions?

Please contact us at (614) 752-7636 or email us at Dealers Support.

Monday - Friday
8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Fax: (614) 752-7220

Mailing Address
Ohio BMV Dealer Licensing
PO Box 16521
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6521

In Person (Drop-off Services ONLY)
Ohio Department of Public Safety
1970 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43223
Applications or paperwork may be dropped off near the security desk. All paperwork that requires payment, cash, check or money orders are accepted; however, no receipt will be available.

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