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Dealer Licensing

Dealer Licensing

Used Motor Vehicle, Motorcycle or APV Dealer

A dealer primarily engaged in the business of selling one of the following: used motor vehicles, used motorcycles, used off-highway motorcycles, or used all-purpose vehicles.

Applications shall be denied for reasons listed in Ohio Revised Code 4517.12 and Ohio Administrative Code 4501:1-3-09 which include:

  • A conviction of ANY fraudulent act (misdemeanor or felony), regardless of the conviction date, related to selling or dealing in motor vehicles.
Following the issuance of a license, violation of any provisions of section 4517.171 of the R.C. could be subject to revocation of the license by the Registrar. The licensee may appeal the action of the Registrar to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Board. Notification of an administrative hearing shall be given to the licensed holder in a timely manner upon notification to the Board of such violations.


Used Motor Vehicle Dealer Application BMV 4320 PDF Word
Motor Vehicle Dealer Surety Form   Word

Physical Location Requirements

  • Verify with local authorities the zoning regulations for the proposed facility. The Dealer Licensing Section does not preempt the enforcement by local authorities of zoning, health, safety codes or laws.
  • The established place of business must be separated from any residence, or unrelated business.
  • The proposed location must be easily accessible and identified as a motor vehicle dealership.
  • Must have ONE of the following:
    • A lot of at least 3,500 square feet, not including driveways or office, with adequate ground cover of a hard surface (gravel, concrete, etc.) that is free of the collection of dust, mud, water or other unsightly conditions, OR
    • A retail sales inventory that is limited at all times to 10 vehicles or less and have sufficient space for all vehicles being offered for retail sale, and have adequate ground cover of a hard surface (gravel, concrete, etc.) that is free of the collection of dust, mud, water or other unsightly conditions.
  • The display lot must be separated from any other business, service facility*, or residence with a physical barrier. The separation MUST be maintained as approved during the entire period for which the license is held.
  • Must have a permanent office of at least 180 square feet, of usable office area, located on the display lot, which shall be kept in a neat and orderly fashion. The office must include a desk, three chairs, filing cabinets or similar furnishings and a telephone in service at all times that is answered in the dealership's name, with the business telephone number posted in a conspicuous place in public view. The office must also include adequate lighting, electrical service, heating, and ventilation that is secure and safe for a retail office environment. The office shall not be used for storage or other utility area.
  • A permanent sign in the registered name of the business as it appears on the application, with letters of at least six inches high. The business sign shall be prominently displayed, properly maintained and permanent.
  • A business telephone must be in service at all times and answered in the dealership’s name. The business telephone number must be legibly posted in a conspicuous place in public view.
  • The business hours must be maintained and legibly posted in a conspicuous place near the entrance of the office.

*Service Facility – A physical barrier is not required between a dealership and a service facility if the established place of business is owned and operated by each person listed on the dealer’s license.

  • The display lot or area must be distinguishable through signage, for the motor vehicles that are being repaired, motor vehicles being offered for sale, and customer parking.
  • A private office must be available that is conducive to transacting business in a private manner.
  • The dealership must be staffed by a licensed salesperson or owner at all times during the posted business hours.

NOTE: A physical inspection will be performed by BMV Investigations physical inspection will be performed prior to or after the issuance of the license. If the licensed location fails to meet any of the listed requirements, the license will immediately be referred to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Board for possible suspension or revocation of the license.

Registrar Review Process

A permanent physical barrier is a fixture or feature of the property that distinguishes the display lot or area from the residences or other business, compromised of metal, brick, stone, concrete, wood, heavy support cable, landscaping, curbing or other comparable feature that creates a distinct space for the display lot. If the barrier requirement cannot be met, a written request to the registrar for an exception to the requirement may be submitted. The request must include a plan that clearly identifies, distinguishes and shows all of the following:

  • How a distinction (through signage or other measures) will be made between any vehicles the dealer is offering for sale versus any vehicles that belong to customers or employees;
  • The established place of business has no health or safety threats to customers, neighbors or neighboring businesses;
  • The property was purchased or leased in good faith; and
  • The dealer has made a reasonable effort to comply with barrier requirements as set forth in Section 4501:1-3-08 of the Ohio Administrative Code.

For any restrictions imposed by local zoning ordinances or the lessor (landlord) that prohibit the barrier requirements, evidence will need to be submitted and will be taken into consideration for an exemption. At the discretion of the registrar, a submitted plan may be approved, approved with requested modifications or disapproved.

Used Dealer Requirements

  • A used motor vehicle training course must be completed prior to applying for a used motor vehicle dealer’s license (O.R.C. 4517.05).
  • A used motor vehicle dealer shall not be issued a license or permitted to operate under a license unless the dealer has secured a surety bond in the applied business name in the amount of $25,000 that is posted with the Attorney General’s Office in favor of this state. The surety bond must be maintained during the entire period for which the license is held.

Required Documentation for Licensing

  1. A copy of the certificate from the Secretary of State showing the business has been registered. (Exemption: Sole Proprietor and Partnership)
  2. A copy of the certificate from the Secretary of State showing a fictitious or trade name has been registered.
  3. Each person listed on the application in the Ownership Section are required to complete a criminal history record through the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI). For detailed information, see our Criminal History Record Requirements.
  4. A copy of a Certificate of Completion from an approved authorized Used Motor Vehicle Course Provider.
  5. Proof that the $25,000 surety bond has been secured with a bond or insurance company.
  6. Photographs of the location must be submitted via mail or e-mail (JPEG format). The required photographs are listed on the application.


Dealers are required to purchase at least one dealer plate.

NOTE: A reasonable number of additional plates may be requested to support the business. However, the plates may not be used contrary to uses as specified in the Ohio Revised Code 4503.27. Plates used for any other purpose may be reduced or subject to confiscation.


Ohio Revised Code: 4503.30, 4506.06, 4505.18(B), 4517

Ohio Administrative Code: 4501:1-3

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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