Opening a car dealership requires overcoming business and legal obstacles. In addition to complying with the Automobile Dealer Law-Dealership licensing requirements, dealers must undertake important business planning.
Becoming familiar with the vehicle business is essential. Selling cars at a dealership, managing vehicle sales or working at a manufacturer can provide valuable experience. Some colleges have courses on owning a dealership.
Start-up costs for starting a new dealership or buying an existing one can be in the millions. Local banks or credit unions may provide loans for expenses for six to 12 months. In addition to the cost of the building, financing will be needed for furniture, computers, office equipment, cubicles, signs and decorations. Developing a strong business plan is also a prerequisite for obtaining financing and establishing the business.
Successful completion of the Florida auto dealer pre-license course is also required. The required number of hours must be fulfilled in the approved course.
A suitable location should be located with space for an office, showroom and lot that meet legal requirements and sales needs. Dealers also need to determine whether they will sell new or pre-owned vehicles. A franchise agreement with manufacturers must be entered for the sale of new vehicles.
New vehicle dealers will need to meet manufacturer requirements on exterior designs and locations distance from existing franchises. Other considerations include ease of access from roads, the appearance of the neighborhood and the other businesses in the area.
Local requirements are important, such as obtaining zoning approval and permits for business and occupancy. A surety bond may also be required.
Finally, dealerships will also need to meet the applicable legal requirements for licensure administered by the state department of highway safety and motor vehicles. The department will inspect dealerships and assure that dealers meet the requirements for transacting this business in Florida.