To sell vehicles in Montana which are not registered in your name, you must obtain a Montana dealer license. All dealer licenses in the state are issued by the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the Montana Department of Justice.
There are several different types of licenses, depending on the types of vehicles you want to sell. Licensing requirements for these different licenses are fairly similar though. They include securing an appropriate dealership location, obtaining an auto dealer bond and insurance, and several others.
For a full overview of the licensing process, see our guide below!
1. Choose Your Montana Dealer License Type
The Montana MVD issues the following types of dealer licenses:
- New/Franchise Dealer (D)
- Used Dealer (U)
- Wholesale Dealer (W)
- Auto Auction Dealer (A)
- Broker Dealer (B)
2. Register Your Business in Montana
To operate legally as a business in the state, you need to get a business registration from the Secretary of State.
During the registration process, you will also need to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS, as well as apply with the Montana Department of Revenue.
Once you have completed this initial step, you can proceed with applying for your Montana auto dealer license.
3. Find a Suitable Dealership Location
As an initial pre-licensing step, you must either lease or buy a location for your dealership.
All dealers must:
- Have a permanent non-residential building as their dealership, where sales are made and records are kept
- Meet all city/county zoning requirements and obtain written verification of their compliance
- Install and maintain telephone service in the name of the business, and have it listed in the local directory assistance
- Post a written notice at their dealership of the regular and customary office hours
All dealers, except broker dealers must:
- Install a sign that states the name of the dealership and indicates that vehicles are being sold
- The sign must have letters that are at least 6 inches high and clearly visible and readable by the public from a distance of at least 150 feet
New, used, and auto auction dealers must have:
- A lot in their dealership where vehicles are displayed
- A computer, printer and access to the internet to be able to issue electronic temporary registration permits (TRPs)
All franchise dealers:
- Who sell new motor vehicles, power sport vehicles, motor homes, trailers or special mobile equipment must have a bona fide service department in their dealership
4. Obtain a Montana Auto Dealer Bond
All dealers in the state must obtain a Montana auto dealer bond. Bond amounts are as follows:
- $50,000 dealer bond for new, used, wholesale, auto auction, and broker dealers
- $15,000 bond for new and used dealers who ONLY sell street legal motorcycles or quadricycles
- $5,000 bond for new and used dealers who ONLY sell snowmobiles, non-street legal motorcycles or quadricycles, and boats
This bond guarantees dealers’ compliance with state laws and regulations. It also serves as protection to consumers who suffer a loss as a result of legal violations committed by a dealer.
5. Get Liability Insurance Coverage
All dealers except broker dealers must obtain general liability insurance. Your insurance policy may also include garage liability insurance, if you need it.
The policy must be valid for at least one year, and has to cover any dealer demonstrator license plates offered for demonstration or loan to, or operated, by a customer as part of the business.
6. Pass a Dealership Inspection
Your intended place of business must pass a physical inspection as part of the requirements to get licensed. To schedule a dealership inspection, contact the Montana Highway Patrol, local law enforcement agency, or Compliance Specialist.
When the dealership checkup is done, have the inspecting officer complete the Dealer Inspection Form.
7. Complete the Montana Dealer License Application Form
You must also attach the following paperwork to your application packet:
- А Dealer Plate Order MV35P
- A Montana auto dealer bond
- Proof of dealership compliance with zoning requirements
- Copy of your liability insurance coverage (if applicable)
- A completed Dealer Inspection Form
8. Submit Your Application and Pay Fees
When you have assembled the full application packet, mail it to the MVD at the following address:
Title and Registration Bureau
Motor Vehicle Division
1003 Buckskin Dr Deer Lodge,
You must include the following license fees to your license application:
- $30.90 for new, used, wholesale and broker dealers
- $515 for auto auction dealers
In addition, you must also pay plate fees:
- $35 for dealer plates
- $15 for demonstrator plates (required by wholesale and auto auction dealers)
If your application is approved, your Montana car dealer license will be issued within two to three weeks after the submission of your application.
For any additional questions about the license and application process, consult the official General Information and Requirements for Application for a Motor Vehicle Dealer License document.
9. Montana Dealer License Renewal
To renew your license, you will need to follow the license renewal schedule.
If you have any additional questions about the application or renewal process for your Montana dealer license, make sure to contact the MVD.