Everything you need to know about becoming a Car Dealer in NH

Any person engaged in the motor vehicle business who sells five or more new or used vehicles to the general public is considered a retail vehicle dealer and must be licensed. Here's what you need to know.

NH DMV/SAFETY Requirements

  • Retail Vehicle License application is $250 for a 2 year license and is due at the time of application.  Application for Retail Dealer License and Registration  (additional fees will be assessed upon approval for Dealer Registration Privileges).
  • Surety Bond of $25,000 in the business name and business legal address. 

Members of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association (NHADA) may obtain their dealer bond at a reduced rate through the "Members only" dealer bond program through CNA surety (Western Surety company)/Cross Insurance. To download information on the "Members only" dealer bond program and the cna surety (Western Surety company) bond application, use the links below.

  • Approval from local & state authorities. NHADA recommends you reach out to the town/city ahead of time to provide them notice that they will be receiving from DMV a request for a zoning approval letter and to please respond as quickly as possible.
  • Established place of business.
  • Regular business hours per week as stated in the Dealer License application.
  • Original service agreement with an approved New Hampshire Inspection Station, if you do not have your own.

If you are interested in becoming an Inspection station as well that application (found here) should be filed at the same time and you must comply with all Saf-C 3200 Motor Vehicle Inspection Requirement rules.

  • Original Criminal Background check from New Hampshire (out-of-state residents must provide a Criminal background check from their home state, as well as from New Hampshire).
  • Registration with the NH Secretary of State and proof of Good Standing for the corporate name and verification of the active trade name.

Location Requirements (RSA 259:29-a & Saf-C 2003.03)

  • Permanent physical structure that has at least 750 square feet or is primarily dedicated to the business of selling (RSA 259:29-a III (b)).
  • Be for commercial purposes only.
  • Signage must be visible from a public way with 10 inch letters.
  • Single business location.
  • Permanent heating system.
  • Only dirt floors are acceptable for heavy equipment and farm equipment.
  • Electrical outlets as stated in state code.

NH Secretary of State Requirements

All businesses/dealerships must register with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

NH Banking Requirements:

If a dealer is going to arrange financing for customers, the dealer must complete the Retail Seller Application Form and $50 fee.  If a dealer is going to provide financing to their customers and actually hold the title, the dealer must complete the Motor Vehicle Sales Finance Company Application and $350 fee.  

Dept of Insurance Requirements:

If a dealer is going to provide Insurance services (GAP, Life, Health, Disability), a producer's license must be obtained from the New Hampshire Insurance Department. The Dept. can be reached at 603-271-2261.

Dept. of Environmental Services Requirements:

If a dealer is going to be generating hazardous waste or burning used motor oil for recycle (heat), that dealer must be registered with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

New Hampshire Laws & Rules referenced above DOS/DMV

RSA 259: Motor Vehicles: Words and Phrases Define

RSA 261: Certificates of Title and Registration of Vehicles

Physical & Location Requirements

Dealer Rules

Vehicle Inspection Rules


RSA 361: Retail Installment Sales of Motor Vehicles


RSA 402-J: Producer Licensing

Department of Environmental Services

RSA 147-A, Hazardous Waste Management

ENV-HW 500 Requirements for Hazardous Waste Generators & ENV-HW 504 Notification of Activity

NHADA recommends submitting completed paperwork to the Division of Motor Vehicles 6-8 weeks prior to becoming or relocating a dealership.

Please contact the Division of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Registrations, Dealer Desk, at 271-2330 with questions or NHADA staff if you are an NHADA member or applying to become a member.