How to Get a Used Car Dealers License in Wisconsin

Ever thought of running a used car dealership in Wisconsin? It might feel overwhelming at first. Yet, with the right info and prep, you can move through the needed steps. But, first things first: Do you know the strict rules for used car dealers in Wisconsin? And do you know how to get a dealers license?

Wisconsin is serious about overseeing motor vehicle businesses. Even if you just buy one car to sell, you need a Motor Vehicle Dealer License. This rule applies whether selling to the public or only to other dealers. So, you must get the right license.

In this guide, we will explore how to get a used car dealer’s license in Wisconsin. We’ll look at what you need, the types of licenses, and how to apply. This guidance aims to make the process clearer. By the end, you should understand how to start a used car dealership in Wisconsin.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wisconsin requires a Motor Vehicle Dealer License for anyone who acquires a vehicle with the intention of selling it.
  • There are two main types of dealer licenses in Wisconsin: retail and wholesale.
  • Retail dealers must have a permanent business location with dedicated office space and a vehicle display area.
  • Applicants must obtain a sales tax seller permit and a surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit.
  • The dealer license application process involves submitting various forms and documents to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

6 Steps to Get Your Wisconsin Dealership License

Getting a used car dealer license in Wisconsin is a detailed process. It covers several key steps. If you want to open a retail used car dealership or a wholesale used car dealer business, knowing these steps is vital. Let’s go through the complete guide to obtaining used car dealership license in Wisconsin:

  1. Determine the Appropriate License Type: Wisconsin has two types of dealer licenses. There’s a retail dealer license for selling to the public, and a wholesale dealer license for selling to other dealers. Choose based on your business model and what vehicles you’ll sell.
  2. Establish a Permanent Business Location: You need a non-residential space for your business. This space must have a 12×12 foot indoor area for showing cars and an outdoor area for displaying cars. Make sure to get the right approvals from your local area for zoning.
  3. Complete the Entity/Owner Statement: In your application, you must include an Entity/Owner Statement. This is Form MV2844, for every owner, partner, member, officer, or shareholder of your dealership.
  4. Obtain Salesperson Licensing: If you will have sales staff, they need to be licensed. They have to pass a test and fill out a Salesperson/Representative License Application (Form MV2184).
  5. Acquire the Necessary Permits and Bonds: You must get a sales tax seller permit from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. You also need a $50,000 Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Dealer Surety Bond.
  6. Submit the Complete Application Packet: The last step is to put together your applications and documents. This includes the Motor Vehicle Dealer Two Year License Application. Then, mail your application packet to the Dealer & Agent section in Madison, WI.

Using this process to get a used car dealer license in Wisconsin guides potential dealers. It helps them meet the state’s licensing needs and start a business that follows the law.

Understanding Wisconsin’s Used Car Dealer Licensing Requirements

Wisconsin’s auto dealer field has many license types for different businesses. There are mainly retail dealer licenses and wholesale dealer licenses. Retail licenses are for selling directly to consumers, while wholesale licenses cater to businesses selling primarily to other dealers.

It’s crucial to comply with these requirements as renting or borrowing a dealer license is illegal and can result in severe penalties. Each dealer must obtain their own license to legally sell used cars, ensuring compliance with state regulations and maintaining industry integrity.

Retail Dealer License

If you sell vehicles directly to the public, you need a retail dealer license. This can be cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles. Retail dealers have to follow many rules. They need to give buyers important details, warranties, and other key info.

Wholesale Dealer License

Businesses that sell only to other licensed dealers get a wholesale dealer license. They deal in a model where they sell to those in the automotive industry.

Other License Types

Besides the basic retail and wholesale licenses, Wisconsin has others. These include licenses for manufacturers, salespeople, buyers, and sellers of mopeds, motorcycles, and more. The license you need depends on what vehicles you’re selling and how you’re running your business.

Establishing a Permanent Business Location

To get a used car dealer license in Wisconsin, your business must not be at home. It needs a separate office and a spot to show cars at least 12×20 feet big. If you sell only motorcycles, this area can fit 3 of them. You also need an outdoor lot for displaying cars, unless all cars are inside. Be sure to check with the local area for zoning and permits before starting your dealership.

Office Space

Your dealership must have its own office space that follows the state’s rules. This area is where all the business work happens. It’s important to have a place that looks professional and is not a home for meeting clients and doing paperwork.

Vehicle Display Area

Your dealership must also have a big enough area to show the cars. For motorcycle-only sales, a spot that fits 3 motorcycles is okay. This space is for showing off what you have to sell to people who visit.

Zoning and Permit Approval

Getting the right permissions from local authorities to start your dealership is a crucial step. This includes following all the rules for the business’s location and safety. Ensuring your business complies with the necessary rules is part of opening a used car dealership in Wisconsin.

Completing the Entity/Owner Statement

If you want to sell used cars in Wisconsin, you need to follow a few steps. One of these is sending in a special form, the Entity/Owner Statement (Form MV2844). Each person who owns part of the dealership has to fill one out. This form tells the state about the people running the show, what they do, and their background checks.

When you aim to get a used car dealer license in Wisconsin, the entity/owner statement is key. It shows the state you are honest and follow the rules. You prove you are open about who runs the dealership and their record is clean.

Handing in the Entity/Owner Statement (MV2844) with your license application is important. It lets the Wisconsin Department of Transportation see who’s in charge of your used car business. This way, they can make sure your dealership is a safe place for buyers and sellers. It builds trust in the market.

Obtaining Salesperson Licensing

If you hire salespeople at your used car dealership in Wisconsin, they need a valid salesperson license. They must pass a written

Salesperson License Exam

This test checks their understanding of vehicle information, contracts, keeping records, and more. After this, they fill out the Salesperson/Representative License Application (Form MV2184).

Salesperson License Application

Other rules include being at least 18 and working for one dealership at a time (with some exceptions).

It’s key for your Wisconsin used car dealership that salespeople are well-informed and follow state rules. By getting a license and completing the application, they can work legally for you. They offer valuable knowledge and help to your customers.

Acquiring the Necessary Permits and Bonds

To run a used car dealership in Wisconsin, you need to get certain permits and bonds. You must have a sales tax seller permit from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Also, a Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer surety bond is required.

Sales Tax Seller Permit

If your business will sell things in Wisconsin, you need a sales tax seller permit. This is true for all sales, except if they don’t involve sales tax. It makes sure your dealership can legally collect and pay sales tax on vehicles.

Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Dealer Surety Bond

Used car dealers in Wisconsin must also obtain a motor vehicle dealer surety bond. The bond amount is usually $50,000, but it can change. It depends on your credit score and financial situation. This bond is a promise that your dealership will follow state rules. It also helps protect your customers.

Submitting the Application Packet

Applying for a used car dealer license in Wisconsin involves a few steps. You need to fill out a Retail Motor Vehicle Dealer Application Mailing Checklist. This applies to the used car dealer license process. You also have to send in some other forms and documents.

Required Forms and Documents

To get a Wisconsin used car dealer license, you’ll need to prepare several things:

  • Motor Vehicle Dealer Two Year License Application (Form MV2186)
  • Entity/Owner Statement (Form MV2844)
  • Business Facilities Statement (Form MV3180)
  • Dealer Bond (Form MV2511)
  • Salesperson/Representative License Application (Form MV2184)
  • Motor Vehicle Dealer Service Agreement (Form MV2085)
  • Buyer’s License Application (Form MV2941) (optional)
  • Salvage Buyer Identification (BID) Card Application (Form MV2651) (optional)

Application Submission Process

After completing the forms, you send your application to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). They will then check your application, which includes looking into your background.

They may need more details from you, which can cause delays. The cost of your license will depend on what services you’ll provide as a dealer. The application processing fee is at least $20.


Getting a used car dealer license in Wisconsin involves several steps. You have to set up a permanent business place. Then, fill out forms and get the needed permits and bonds. Finally, you must submit all this to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

By following each requirement closely, you can get your license. This makes it legal to run your dealership. The important thing is to know and follow the state’s rules for a hassle-free business.

The Wisconsin used car dealer licensing process underlines the state’s aim: to stick to high standards and safeguard consumers. By carefully working through these steps, dealers can not only get their license but also thrive in a regulated market. It’s about playing by the book while aiming for success.

Step Into the Used Car Market with Twin Cities Auctions!

Once you secure your dealer license in Wisconsin, work with us at Twin Cities Auctions to access a vast selection of used car inventory. Our extensive online auction platform offers the variety you need to populate your dealership with attractive, high-quality vehicles that will broaden your market reach. Each vehicle is thoroughly inspected by our expert team, ensuring you receive top-notch quality before making any purchase. 


What are the two main types of auto dealer licenses in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has a retail and a wholesale dealer license type. A retail dealer license lets you sell cars to the public. A wholesale license allows sales only to other dealers.

What are the requirements for the business location of a used car dealership in Wisconsin?

For a used car dealer license, your business site must not be a home. It needs a separate office and a display lot at least 12×20 feet. You must also have space for an outdoor vehicle display.

If you sell motorcycles, the area should fit 3 of them. Be sure your location meets zoning laws and has the right permits.

What information is required in the Entity/Owner Statement for a Wisconsin used car dealer license?

For a dealer license, you need to provide details about the dealership’s owners or key personnel. This includes their positions and any past legal issues.

What are the requirements for salespersons at a used car dealership in Wisconsin?

Salespeople at a Wisconsin dealership need a special license. They must pass a test on car laws and procedures. To get the license, they fill out a form and meet certain criteria, like being 18 years old and working for just one dealer.

What permits and bonds are required to operate a used car dealership in Wisconsin?

You need a Wisconsin sales tax seller permit to run your used car dealership. Plus, as part of your license, you must have a Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Dealer Surety Bond.

What forms and documents are required for the used car dealer license application in Wisconsin?

When you apply for a license, include a Retail Motor Vehicle Dealer Application Mailing Checklist. Also, provide the Entity/Owner Statement and the Salesperson/Representative License Application.