Can I Get a Dealer License Without a Lot?

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Many people ask whether they can get a dealer license without a lot and a physical location. While some people may claim you can obtain your dealer license only to gain access to dealer auctions or to become a licensed dealer, these claims are untrue. Whether you are a retail or wholesale dealer, you will be subject to certain, specific premises requirements in order to receive your dealer license.

Regardless of your business model, you’re going to be subject to the premises requirements of the state. Those include having an established and permanent place of business. That means a retail dealer will need a business office, a permanent sign, and to meet several other requirements that we cover in the Pre-Licensing Education course. Regardless of how you plan to acquire and/or sell your inventory, you DO have to have a real physical dealership location.

Again, it is not possible to get your dealer license without a lot. 

Premises Requirements

Keep in mind that you may not sell – or offer to sell – vehicles from anywhere other than your licensed location. That is known as “curbstoning” (selling vehicles with no license at all is also referred to as curbstoning, by the way). 

The requirements we’re about to go into will apply to independent motor vehicle, independent motorcycle, travel trailer, and utility trailer dealers.

If you have a consignment location and you are going to retail vehicles to the public, you must have a GDN unless the consignment location is a wholesale motor vehicle auction.

The full list of premises requirements is published by the Administrative Code by the Texas Secretary of State. The code reiterates that you will not be permitted to get your dealer license without a lot and provides complete details about the premises requirements.

Established Permanent Location

As the state clearly lays out, each location a dealer operates must be an established and permanent place of business. To be considered established and permanent, the location must have the minimum premises requirements outlined below.

A dealer that files an application for a new license or a supplemental location must:

  1. A dealer’s office must be located in a building with a permanent roof and connecting exterior walls on all sides.
  2. A dealer’s office must comply with all applicable municipal ordinances, including municipal zoning ordinances. The dealer is responsible for obtaining a certificate of occupancy, certificate of compliance, or other required document issued by a municipal government to show compliance, including a new certificate or document when the building is altered or remodeled, or when the building use changes.
  3. A dealer’s office may not be located in a residence, apartment, hotel, motel, rooming house, or any room or building not open to the public.
  4. A dealer’s office may not be located in a restaurant, gas station, or convenience store, unless the office has a separate entrance door that does not require a dealer’s customer to pass through the other business.
  5. A dealer’s office may not be virtual or provided by a subscription for office space or office services. Access to an office space or office services is not considered an established and permanent location.
  6. The physical address of the dealer’s office must be in Texas and recognized by the U.S. Postal Service or capable of receiving U.S. mail. The department will not mail a metal dealer’s license plate to an out-of-state address.
  7. A portable-type office building may qualify as an office only if the building meets the requirements of this section and is not a readily moveable trailer or other vehicle.
  8. The dealer’s office space must:
    (i) include at least 100 square feet of interior floor space, exclusive of hallways, closets, or restrooms;
    (ii) have a minimum seven-foot-high ceiling;
    (iii) accommodate required office equipment; and
    (iv) allow a dealer and customer to safely access the office and conduct business in private while seated.


These requirements are true both of retail and wholesale dealers.

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