How to Open a Used Car Dealer in North Carolina

How To Open A Used Car Dealer In North Carolina

How to Open a Used Car Dealer in North Carolina

The process of opening a used car dealer in North Carolina is nothing to write home about, but it is worth meeting a series of requirements and following certain steps.

As in most states, it is necessary to have a dealer’s license to be able to sell more than five cars a year.

In this article, we are going to explain what you need to do to open a used car dealer in North Carolina , and we also give you some tips to be successful with a used car dealer in North Carolina .

Types of dealer licenses in North Carolina

Although what interests us is to open a dealer to buy and sell used cars in North Carolina (for which there is a specific license);

the first thing we recommend you do is to investigate and inform yourself about each of the types of licenses in North Carolina. Well, there are five types:


  • New vehicle dealer.
  • Used car dealer. This is the license that interests us.
  • Distributor. It’s basically a new car dealer to other dealers.
  • Wholesale dealer. It is similar to the previous one in the sense that it is a sale between a dealer and a dealer, only that instead of new cars, used cars are sold.
  • Maker.

Handshake, Autokaufmann, Automobile, To Buy, Contract

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Requirements to open a used car dealer in North Carolina

To open a used car dealer in North Carolina you must meet the following requirements:

  • Information about the owners and directors ;
  • Information about the business entity ;
  • Business location requirements (size, office, sign showing dealership business name in capital letters at least 3 inches tall);
  • The first page of the deed of incorporation of the company , if it is incorporated in the Secretary of State;
  • Proof of passing a 12-hour license course approved by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV);
  • All-risk civil liability insurance policy of the company that covers the license plates of the dealer;
  • Security deposit of $50,000 for the main location, and $25,000 for each additional location or sales room;
  • Successfully pass a dealer inspection conducted by the North Carolina Bureau of Licensing and Theft prior to application .

How to open a used car dealer in North Carolina?

1- Prepare the documents

To start the process of obtaining a used car dealer license in North Carolina you have to fill out the application form.


You also have to make sure that you meet all the criteria that we have detailed above . In addition, you have to get a series of documents from other authorities:

Proof that you comply with all state and local zoning ordinances ;

Business name from the county Register of Deeds if the business is operated under a name other than the owner(s);

Township and County Trader’s License ;

If the business will be conducted as a corporation , it is necessary to file the articles of incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State .


2- Find a place
The premises must meet the following requirements:

An established sales room with at least 96 square feet of floor space;

A sign with letters at least three inches high.

Automobile, Dacia, Car Dealer, Suv, Headlights

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Important: Make sure the office and/or sales room complies with all state, county, and municipal zoning regulations and ordinances.


3- Complete the course for dealers

This is a must for used car dealers in North Carolina.

Well, you must submit the original certificate with the application , and you must complete the course during the 12-month period prior to your application.

Courses for new applicants last 12 hours; and when you renew the license you will have to complete a 6-hour renewal course.

4- Get civil liability insurance


As mentioned above, comprehensive liability insurance covering your dealer’s license plates is required . In this sense, you must include in the request the name of your provider and the policy number.

To learn more about what this type of insurance covers, read our article “ What does full cover insurance cover? ”.

5 – Get the car dealer bond

A surety bond from a North Carolina car dealer is another essential requirement that you have to meet, and you must present it on the official form.

The condition of the bond agreement is that the licensed and bonded dealers comply with NCGS Chapter 20, Sections 12 and 15.


If you violate any of these conditions and thereby cause harm to the state or the public, a claim can be made against the bond.

As we have mentioned, the amount of the deposit is $50,000 for the first location, and $25,000 for each additional location . However, to get the bond, you only have to pay a part of that amount.

The exact cost is determined based on your personal credit score, financial and business statements, and fixed and liquid assets .

6- Schedule the inspection of the premises

All dealerships must be inspected and approved by a Bureau of Licensing and Theft agent prior to submitting your application.


In this regard, you should contact the inspector specific to the county where you plan to open the dealership. Below is a list of phone numbers you can call.

  • Greenville (252) 752-4435
  • Fayetteville (910) 486-1331
  • Raleigh (919) 816-9194
  • Greensboro (336) 256-2024
  • Winston-Salem (336) 767-8808
  • Huntersville (704) 331-4500
  • Ashville (828) 782-9640

Car, Sedan, Luxury, Vehicle, Automobile, Dealer

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Make sure to call Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM

7- Send the application and documents
Finally, mail all documents to:

  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Division of Motor Vehicles
  • License and Theft Bureau
  • Raleigh, NC 27697-0001

And don’t forget to pay (and attach) the corresponding fees. Here we leave you in detail how much the North Carolina DMV charges for them.


$70.00 for each location
$28.00 per plate for the first five plates
$14.00 per plate for additional plates
$14.00 per plate for dealer carriers
$25.00 for 25 temporary plates


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