How To Get a Car Auction License in Florida

If you’re thinking of entering the car auction game, Florida is the right place. Car auctions are popular in the Sunshine State. But before you get ready to sell your first vehicle via auction, you’ll need to first get properly licensed with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)

Selling cars at an auction can be a win-win-win. For you as the dealer, it’s an opportunity to make money on multiple sales at one event. For the individual or organization offloading the vehicles, it’s a quick way to get their transaction completed. And for the buyer, it often means a better deal than buying the vehicle through a traditional dealer transaction. 

If you sell more than three vehicles in a year’s time, you’ll need an auto dealer license from the FLHSMV. And the process for getting that license is virtually the same whether you choose an independent motor vehicle dealer (VI) license or a motor vehicle auction dealer (VA) license. So if auctions interest you, getting your car auction license can make a lot of sense.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s your comprehensive overview of getting your vehicle auction license in Florida. 

What's a Florida car auction license?

The FLHSMV issues ten different types of motor vehicle, recreational vehicle, and mobile home dealer/broker licenses. If you want to sell vehicles at an auction, the type you’ll need is (as you can probably guess) the vehicle auction dealer (VA) license. 

With this license type, you can legally hold auctions at which vehicles are sold to the highest bidder. You can sell recreational vehicles at auctions with this license type, too.

But there are a couple of important caveats here. First, the buyers at your auction need to be licensed motor vehicle dealers. Secondly, if you plan to sell vehicles for retail price at your auction, you’ll need to get a vehicle independent dealer (VI) license, too.   

Pre-licensing requirements

Now that you know more about the Florida vehicle auction dealer license, you probably have a clear idea of whether it’s the right license type for you. If so, here are the steps you need to take before you can get your license:

  • Complete the required pre-license education: The FLHSMV requires that all vehicle auction dealer licensees in Florida take 16 hours of pre-license education. (Wholesale motor vehicle dealer, independent motor vehicle dealer, and salvage motor vehicle dealer licensees need the same number of pre-license education hours.) The good news? You can take these hours online at your own pace. Just make sure you take your online Florida car auction pre-license education hours from an FLHSMV education provider. Once you finish all 16 hours, your education provider should issue you a certificate of completion, which you’ll need for your license application. 
  • Get fingerprinted. Choose a fingerprinting service provider that’s approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
  • Get a surety bond and liability insurance. You’ll need proof of both of these things to get your license. Get a surety bond in the amount of $25,000. Get either garage liability insurance or general liability insurance and a business automobile policy. Whichever route you choose, make sure you have at least $25,000 of combined single-limit coverage for bodily injury and property damage and $10,000 of coverage for personal injury protection.
  • Register your business so you can legally operate in Florida. You can do this online. Make sure you hold onto the paperwork you get from the Division of Corporations because you’ll have to send it in with your application. 
  • Lease or buy your dealership location. You’ll need a place to hold your auctions, after all. 

Next steps to getting that FL auto auction license

Once you’ve checked off the above to-dos, you’re ready to get to the actual license application process. There are just two things left to check off your list:

  • Fill out the application. A PDF of the application is available online. The application is 17 pages, but don’t get overwhelmed. The bulk of it is just instructions explaining what you need to include in order for the FLHSMV to accept your application. Submit the completed application to the regional office that will oversee your dealership. You can find that office based on your county on this sheet
  • Pay the fee. It’s $300 for your initial application. Be ready to pay a $75 renewal fee each year, too. Attach the $300 fee to your application and send it in along with it. 

What Documents Are Needed

As you can tell from perusing the application itself, you need to send in quite a bit of paperwork to complete the process and get your Florida car auction license. Beyond the fee, you need to include:

  • Proof of identification
  • A copy of your lease or proof of ownership for your dealership location
  • Proof of your electronic fingerprints
  • The certificate of completion you got when you finished your 16-hour pre-license course
  • Your original surety bond
  • A copy of your business name or fictitious business name registration
  • A copy of your business registration certification from the Division of Corporations
  • The relevant paperwork verifying your business type (e.g., articles of incorporation if you registered as a corporation, articles of organization if you LLCed)
  • Proof of the sufficient amount of liability insurance

Other things you should know

Once you submit your application, the process to approve it usually takes about a month. If you don’t hear back about your application or get your license after 30 days or so, contact your local regional office. 

Once your license is approved, mark April 30 on your calendar. You’ll need to renew your license on that date each year. You’ll need to take eight hours of continuing education and pay $75 to renew each time.  


Getting your ducks in a row to get your Florida car auction license will require some legwork on your part. But once you get the license, you’ll be ready to tap into the lucrative statewide vehicle auction market. And, from that point forward, as long as you renew your license on time, you’ll be able to work as a legal vehicle auction dealer throughout the state.