Guidance for Second-Hand Dealer License

Many, if not all, jurisdictions in the United States require second-hand dealers to have a locally-issued license. These licensing laws are in place to protect consumers. They may be imposed at a state level, as is the case in Florida, or at the city level, as in New York City. It is important to check with your local consumer protection agency or state attorney general's office for information about licensing requirements. Failure to obtain this license can lead to arrest! Here is specific information concerning four localities:

  • Chicago. Application may be made in person to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection located in City Hall, 121 North La Salle, Room 800, 312-744-6249. Application may also be made online at
  • Florida. Obtaining a license requires an application and a completed registration package. The application is included in our Forms Bank and is also available at The registration package is not available on-line, but can be ordered from: Distribution Center, Florida Department of Revenue, 168A Blountstown Hwy, Tallahassee FL 32304-3761.
  • Los Angeles. Application is made to the Los Angeles Police Commission's Police Permit Review Panel. The application is obtained at an orientation session conducted by the Panel. For further information call the Commission at 213-485-3531 or 213-473-4910.

Besides requiring a license, state and local laws also mandate that second-hand dealers take several precautions to prevent transactions in stolen goods. These "anti-fencing" laws usually require that careful records be kept concerning all purchases of second-hand goods, and that the items remain on the buyer's premises or a designated period of time. When obtaining a second-hand license, be sure to find out about all specific legal requirements in your jurisdiction. These laws usually carry criminal penalties.


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