What is the Best Automotive Franchise

Opening a car dealership: information and requirements


Who can run their own car dealership?

To start your own business with a car dealership, you definitely need very good specialist knowledge in the automotive sector. If you do not bring this with you, every new acquisition of a vehicle within your vehicle fleet is always associated with a risk. You should also have knowledge that will prepare you for the responsibility and activities as a self-employed person. Attending a start-up seminar is recommended here. If you want to run a workshop in addition to your car dealership, you need a master craftsman's certificate as a car mechanic. Alternatively, you can also hire an appropriate employee to run the workshop.

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Andreas Munck

For over 7 years I have been advising start-ups on their way to starting their own company. I would be happy to call you and help you with any questions you may have about your start-up in a personal conversation.

  • Startup expert
  • 7 years of experience


Open a dealership: permits and requirements

The auto trade industry is a trade that requires monitoring, i.e. the reliability of the trader must be checked. In general, this is done by means of an extract from the central trade register and viewing the certificate of good conduct. If you also want to offer repairs, you have to observe further regulations; In general, appropriate specialist knowledge must be proven.

Business license for your car dealership

In Germany, you usually only need a business registration to operate a trade. For some professions you also need a business license in addition to this advertisement. This permit is required to determine special qualifications and personal and spatial aptitudes. If you need a business license for your job, this must be attached to the business registration. To get a business license, you should meet the following requirements:

  • Technical requirement: A degree or training or further education serves as evidence, depending on the required qualification.
  • Factual requirements: These concern z. B. the required condition of the commercial premises or proof of economic efficiency (SCHUFA information).
  • Personal reliability: A police clearance certificate is required, an extract from the central trade register and a clearance certificate from the tax office.


Open a car dealership as a GmbH or UG: choose the legal form

Would you like to become self-employed by opening a car dealership or starting a car dealership? Here you should carefully weigh up the choice of legal form, especially since as a car dealer you have to reckon with very high pre-financing costs. Your savings may not be sufficient to provide the required minimum capital. The UG (limited liability), for example, can be set up with a share capital of EUR 1, while the GmbH requires EUR 25,000 share capital.

Here you can find out more about the possible legal forms:

In principle, there are of course other legal forms available to you.

Which company suits me and my business idea?


Our packages for your easy start-up

Open a dealership as a franchise

If you want to open a car dealership, you can also use the franchising method. Here you open your own branch on the basis of an existing parent company with a license from the automotive sector, with support from the franchisor during and after the establishment. You benefit from the knowledge of an already established group and enjoy many other advantages, e. B. It will be easier for you to acquire outside capital because you are starting up with a concept that has already been tested.


Open a car dealership: where do I have to register?

Register your dealership in the commercial register

As a public directory, the commercial register documents entries on the registered merchants in the area of ​​a competent registry court. The company forms GmbH and UG require an entry in the commercial register. If you choose the legal form GbR or sole proprietorship, no entry in the commercial register is required. If, on the other hand, you are a registered businessman (e. K.), you must register.

Register your dealership as a business

Regardless of the legal form you have chosen, you must register with the trade office responsible for your company headquarters. If you open your car dealership as a sole proprietorship, a simple business registration is sufficient.

After registering with the trade office, the tax office will automatically contact you for tax registration. As soon as your documents have been viewed and checked by the tax office, you will receive your tax number and can issue invoices.

Which Chamber of Commerce and Industry / Crafts Chamber is responsible for my dealership?

Like the tax office, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry / Crafts Chamber is informed about your establishment by the trade office. Contact is made by the IHK or HWK. When registering a business, membership in the IHK / HWK responsible for you is mandatory, whereby a car dealership with an integrated car workshop is often classified as a mixed company that belongs to both chambers. The best thing to do is to clarify with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Chamber of Crafts exactly your focus of activity in order to determine exactly which chambers you belong to and to what extent contributions are to be paid. However, payment of the IHK contribution is only mandatory if the turnover in the non-manual part of the business is over 130,000 euros per year.

Professional association for car dealerships

Employers' liability insurance associations are the providers of statutory accident insurance for companies and their employees. Please register yourself with the employers' liability insurance association. Even small business owners without staff are obliged to register with their relevant BG. If this is not clear to you, the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) will help you on 0800 60 50 40 4.

Federal associations for car dealerships

Voluntary membership in a relevant federal association is fundamentally recommended. Associations represent the interests of members and the industry towards the public, politics, etc.


Cost of opening a car dealership

In order to open a car dealership, you need sufficient equity: on the one hand for start-up processes, possibly franchise fees and for purchasing the products to be sold, in your case cars. Costs for used or new cars should be calculated as precisely as possible. Depending on the legal form, a minimum share capital is also required, which should be available when the company is founded.

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Be sure to put together a specific financial plan before you start spending. Please consider the following costs, among others.

  • Capital requirements for the start-up phase (e.g. for renovation work, targeted advertising) and to secure your livelihood
  • Possible consulting and bureaucracy costs in the start-up phase
  • Capital for the purchase and procurement of goods, appraisals and certificates
  • Ongoing operating costs such as shop rent, storage costs, electricity and heating costs, IT
  • Taxes and Insurance
  • Financial reserves for unforeseen events


Which products do I offer in my dealership?

In general, you can choose between the sale of used and new cars or perhaps a new car offer with cheap, used cars in addition to the regular offer. In order to become successfully self-employed with a car dealership, you should think carefully beforehand about the niche in the market that you want to occupy. There should be no shortage of business ideas here: In view of the highly competitive automotive market, a future-oriented car dealership is possibly a good business idea, because electric cars and cars with very low emissions will likely continue to be in high demand in the future. Since customers are increasingly focusing on environmental awareness when choosing their car, this is a good place to start and find your niche. You also have the option of offering accessories and repair services to expand your range. In contrast to online car sales, as a car dealership you have the customer bonus that you also offer offline service: Take test drives, have an individual operating setting made, etc. Use this to your advantage and convince your customers best at your place on site.

Business ideas for your car dealership: workshop and customizing

One of the popular business ideas is having their own workshop at the dealership. Here you can offer repairs, checks and corrections and possibly even offer discounts or offers for dealership customers: For example, you could offer a certain number of free or reduced workshop visits for each purchase of a car. Or maybe it is also interesting for you to get into the customizing industry and offer embellishments or color changes on the cars.


Find a location: where should I open my dealership?

The location for your car dealership is the be-all and end-all: This decides on success or failure. Therefore, you should definitely conduct a location analysis beforehand to determine where the perfect location for your car dealership is. In this way you will find out what the competitive situation is like and you can avoid mistakes in good time. You should also make sure that your location is easily accessible to your target group. It is therefore advisable to know the infrastructure in the area.


Do I need staff?

If you want to open your own car dealership as a self-employed person, it is advisable not to handle everything yourself. For example, trained salespeople can assist you in sales, and mechanics can carry out repairs on vehicles for you in the workshop. If your resources permit, you should also think about sales people who organize test drives and make appointments.


Customers for your dealership: what is my target group?

Do you want to set up your own car dealership and are still looking for the ideal target group? Depending on the niche and industry, you should consider what type of product is not yet available near your location. With the help of a competition analysis, you can determine which target groups are not yet addressed or not sufficiently addressed. Concentrate on your unique selling proposition and find suitable marketing strategies for exactly the target group you want to address.


Marketing and Sales: Promote Your Dealership Properly

Advertising is particularly important in the automotive industry: after all, expensive products want to be sold. If you do not have enough budget for an expensive advertising campaign after opening your car dealership, you have the option of attracting customers cheaply via social media channels. Otherwise, there are the usual summer festivals in the automotive industry, but you should come up with a special idea here so that you attract attention. Other options are advertisements in the local newspapers or posters, for example. B. on advertising pillars.

As a franchisee, you also have the option of using the franchisor's marketing pool; You benefit from its advertising and do not have to invest your own money in advertising or marketing. Location-specific advertising referring to your branch should also be considered.

Founder check for retail

The most important questions that entrepreneurs should ask themselves, information on qualifications, the legal framework for retail and future prospects for the industry can be found in the guide to opening a business.


The information published on our site is all written and checked by experts with the greatest care. However, we cannot guarantee that it is correct, as laws and regulations are subject to constant change. Therefore, always consult a technical expert in a specific case - we will be happy to put you in touch.

firma.de assumes no liability for damage caused by errors in the texts.