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People looking to purchase a vehicle from a dealership with a Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer license

How to get a Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Dealer License

This Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer license guide is for informational purposes only. does not regulate or manage licensing for motor vehicle dealers in Wisconsin. Contact the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for the state’s latest official motor vehicle dealer license requirements.

Wisconsin requires motor vehicle business licenses for any person who acquires just 1 vehicle with the intention of selling it. If you sell or lease vehicles to the general public, you must maintain a retail dealer license. If you only sell vehicles to other licensed dealers, you need a separate wholesale dealer license.

Complete the following steps to apply for your Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer license.

How to get a Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Dealer License

How do I get a motor vehicle dealer license in Wisconsin?

Step 1: Establish a permanent business location.

Your business location must meet the following requirements, which must be outlined in the Motor Vehicle Business Facilities Statement (Form MV3180) provided with your application.

  • Be a permanent business location (not a residence) that has an office space and 12x20 foot display area. (If you only sell motorcycles, your display area only needs be large enough to display or repair 3 motorcycles.)
  • Have an outdoor vehicle display lot adjacent to your business office (unless all vehicles are displayed indoors). Your minimum vehicle display lot size must equal a standard parking stall and comply with all local zoning requirements.
  • Have local zoning and permit approval
  • Have a service department or have a written agreement with a service facility within 50 miles

Step 2: Complete your Entity/Owner Statement.

You must submit an Entity/Owner Statement (Form MV2844) for each owner, partner, LLC member or manager, corporate officer, or shareholder.

Step 3: Complete salesperson licensing.

If you employ salespeople, they must meet and adhere to the following requirements.

  • Only sell for 1 dealership at a time (except for salespeople who work for a dealership group)
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass the salesperson license exam (Salespeople who only sell recreational vehicles are exempt from the exam but must fill out Salesperson/Representative License Application (Form MV2184) and meet all the other requirements.)

Review the Motor Vehicle Salesperson Manual for more information on Wisconsin laws and DOT policies.

If you've never had a Wisconsin salesperson license or your previous license expired more than 5 years ago, you must complete the following steps to obtain your salesperson license.

  • Pass the salesperson license exam at a DMV customer service center.
  • Complete and print the Salesperson/Representative License Application form MV2184​.
  • Have your new employer complete and sign the bottom section of the form.
  • Take your completed form and the appropriate application fee with you to the DMV customer service center when you take your salesperson exam.
  • Include the appropriate fee as listed on the application form. There is an additional $5 counter service fee for the exam.

Step 4: Obtain your sales tax seller permit.

A seller permit is required for every individual, partnership, corporation, or other organization with a Wisconsin sales location that processes retail sales, including leases, licenses, or rentals, of taxable products in Wisconsin, unless all sales are exempt from sales or use tax.

You can get your Department of Revenue Sales and Use Tax Permit online or by calling 1(608)266-2776.

Step 5: Purchase your Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer surety bond in the required amount.

You must purchase and file surety bond form MV2511 with your Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer license. Your bond requires you to comply with state laws when operating your dealership and protects the state and consumers in the event of your noncompliance. Your surety bond amount varies based on your license type

  • Moped Dealer, Motorcycle Dealer: $5,000 surety bond amount
  • Motor Vehicle Salvage Dealer, Motor Vehicle Wholesaler, Motor Vehicle Auction Dealer, Recreational Vehicle Dealer: $25,000 surety bond amount
  • Motor Vehicle Dealer, Retail Dealer: $50,000 surety bond amount

You can apply for your Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer bond online 24/7 with annual premiums starting at $100. Your official Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer bond will be emailed to you once your order has been processed.

Step 6: Submit your application packet to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

You must complete and include the Retail Motor Vehicle Dealer Application Mailing Checklist with your new dealer license application packet. Forms must be arranged in the order shown on the mailing checklist to ensure prompt processing and limit delays.

Make your dealer license fee check payable to Registration Fee Trust.​

Mail all original signed application forms to the following address.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Dealer & Agent Section
P.O. Box 7909
Madison, WI 53707-7909

Submit any application questions you have to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation email service.

What is the Wisconsin motor vehicle salesperson exam?

The Wisconsin motor vehicle salesperson exam tests your knowledge of laws about vehicle disclosure, purchase contracts, record keeping, advertising, titling, and registration. Refer to the Motor Vehicle Salesperson Manual to study for your exam.

You'll pay a $5 exam fee and should allow at least 45 minutes to take the exam take the exam at any DMV Customer Service Center. If you need special accommodations for the written exam, contact your local service center in advance.

You must answer at least 36 of the 45 ​questions correctly to pass and can take the exam as many times as needed. However, you must wait 1 day before retaking a failed test.

How do I renew my Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer license?

Your Wisconsin motor vehicle dealer license will be issued for a 2-year term and will expire at the end of the odd-numbered month closest to when it was issued. You can find your license expiration date on your license certificate.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Dealer & Agent Section will send dealer license renewal materials to your physical dealership address approximately 2 months before your license expiration date. Your renewal packet will include current dealer and salesperson license information, dealer plates, and BID cards. If you don't receive your dealer license renewal packet in the mail, call the Dealer Licensing Unit at 1(608)266-1425.

You can't renew your license online. You must mail it to the following address.

Dealer & Agent Section
P.O. Box 7909
Madison, WI 53707-7909

Last Updated: September 22, 2023

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