Getting into the automobile dealership business is no easy task. In addition to securing a franchise (if that’s the path you plan to take), finding a perfect location and securing adequate financing, you also have to be properly licensed.
The steps required to get a dealership license in Florida are specific. Taken one by one with the help of qualified counsel, they are very achievable.
From location to documents
The first step is to decide what kind of license you want:
- A franchise dealer license allows you to sell new and used motor vehicles under an agreement with a manufacturer.
- A service facility license allows you to service the franchise models you sell.
- An independent dealer license allows you to sell new and used vehicles at the retail and wholesale level.
- A wholesale dealer license allows you to buy and sell vehicles wholesale or through vehicle auctions.
The next step is to attend a pre-licensing dealer training course. The courses are offered throughout the state by private companies.
Next, you need a permanent location. State law requires that dealerships be located in a permanent structure that is not a residence and must have at least 100 square feet of floorspace and a ceiling height of at least seven feet.
Now you are ready to gather your documents. Among other items, you will need your:
- Registration of business with the state Secretary of State’s office
- Articles of incorporation and other corporate documents if your business is a corporation, or the articles of organization and the operating agreement if your business is a limited liability company, or the partnership agreement if your business is a partnership
- Sales tax number issued through the state Department of Revenue
- Federal employer identification number, available through the IRS
- Copy of your fingerprints – and those of any other partner or officer – processed through an FDLE-authorized processor
- Copy of your dealership training course completion certificate
- Proof of liability insurance of at least $25,000 and personal injury protection of at least $10,000
- Proof of your automobile dealer bond of $25,000 and form HSMV 86020
- Completed form HSMV 86056
- Check for $300
As you can see, the list of items you need is exhausting but not exhaustive. As will all business decisions, it is wise to consult proper, qualified legal counsel.