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Want to sell cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles and mobile homes in Florida? Let us show you what you need to do and how you can become licensed. You may take the class online. Click here for a list of dealer license classes.
Requirements to Become a Florida Used Car (Independent) Dealer
It’s not like the old days when becoming a successful Florida used car dealer meant having a large lot with a lot of frontage on a main road with great access. It’s far from it.
Today’s typical startup used car dealer will opt for the smallest location possible (usually a warehouse or strip shopping center store front) that meets Florida DMV and local zoning requirements, with the lowest amount of overhead and no expectation of foot traffic. Why? Because dealerships successfully operate in the virtual world.
The internet has had a dramatic effect on the auto industry. Regardless of how large your lot is and how many cars you have in inventory, if you don’t have a significant presence on the internet, you are operating at a competitive disadvantage.
But back to the requirements for becoming an independent (used car) dealer in Florida. Here are the basic requirements for becoming a dealer (more detailed information is provided in the course):
- Receive training from a licensed motor vehicle dealer training school (Click here to register for an independent dealer class)
- Have a commercial location approved by DMV and local zoning (NOTE: You may not operate from a residence.) The office must be in a permanent structure. The office must have a minimum of 100-square feet of interior floor space excluding any hallways, closets or restrooms and a minimum 7’ ceiling. The display space of each licensed motor vehicle dealer will be of a sufficient size to store and display all vehicles offered for sale. The display space may be located within a building.
- Obtain electronic fingerprints for all owners, officers, directors, partners, etc.
- Obtain a sales tax registration number
- Obtain an FEIN, if applicable
- Obtain a fictitious name, if applicable
- Submit documentation of company entity such as corporation, LLC, if applicable
- Submit true copy of lease or property ownership documents
- Obtain a surety bond or an irrevocable letter of credit in the amount of $25,000
- Obtain garage liability insurance in the amount of $25,000
- Submit an application to the DMV with $300.00
So if you are interested in registering for an online class to become a Florida motor vehicle or mobile home dealer, click here.
We will bring live training to your dealership! For more information contact Allen at Allen@TheAICE.com or (727) 623-9075
WHEN CUSTOMERS ARE IDENTITY THIEVES
S. ALLEN MONELLO, D.P.A.
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE, LLC
We all know how much paperwork there is to complete a deal. We also know how many steps a dealership must follow to ensure it is complying with all state and federal laws. Sometimes dealerships don’t check enough; other times, no matter how many checks are conducted, the results aren’t good.
Such is the case when you end up selling a unit to an identity thief. A franchise dealer in the Tampa Bay area was recently reminded of this when it sold an Escalade to an identity thief for just over $102,000. I am not saying the dealership didn’t do all that it should have done to prevent the identity theft. Perhaps it did; I have no personal knowledge of the circumstances. Rather, this article is to remind you that it can happen to you, no matter what you do.
The victim of the identity theft was interviewed for an article that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times on May 23rd, 2016. He was alerted about the theft when a bank called him to ask him why he kept missing payments. After filing a report with law enforcement, he was told about the circumstances of the theft. The victim was quite surprised to learn how much information the thief had about him. The thief had the victim’s father’s address which he used as a reference on the credit application. The thief also had information going back to the victim’s first address of his business. Apparently, the thief had done his homework and had much more information than the victim’s name and social security number.
So what does this mean to you? Each dealership should review its Red Flags Rule policies and procedures to ensure you are doing all that is possible to “prevent, detect and mitigate” identity theft. Ask yourselves these questions:
- Are we running all the checks we can through one or more databases (credit reporting agencies, social security master death file, etc.)?
- When we come across a discrepancy (Red Flag) are we doing everything we can to find out why the discrepancy occurred and whether it could be explained?
- Is our written policy up-to-date?
- Have all sales and F&I staff been adequately trained to detect and prevent identity theft and do they know what steps to follow when they are dealing with a suspected identity thief?
- Are they asking appropriate challenge questions to determine whether the customers are who they say they are?
- When our software program identifies the customer as a “High Identity Theft Risk” are we doing anything about it or are we going through with the deal anyway?
There are many more questions that dealerships should be asking. If you don’t have good answers to all of the above questions, it’s time to reassess your level of compliance with the Red Flags Rule.
(Allen can be reached at (727) 623-9075 or by email at Allen@TheAICE.com. You may visit his website at www.TheAICE.com)
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