Thursday, 07 September 2017 08:01

Simply put, just because you’ve got a dealer’s licence doesn’t mean you can run your business from home. Simply put, just because you’ve got a dealer’s licence doesn’t mean you can run your business from home.

If you’re running a business from home make sure that you’ve received written permission from your local council. In Western Australia it is a business owner’s responsibility to ensure that they comply with all of the requirements of local and state government authorities.

Over the past 12 months the MTA WA has received numerous enquiries about setting up a business which requires a dealer’s licence from home. There is significant confusion with many people believing that if they are issued a dealer’s licence by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (formerly Department of Commerce) then they are legally allowed to trade.

Unfortunately this is not correct. If you are running a business from home there are two things that you must do:

  1. Apply for a dealer’s licence under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS); and
  2. Apply to your local council to ensure that you can carry out your intended trade from the nominated business address.

The confusion has occurred because the current practice of DMIRS is to approve an application even, if the address for the principal place of business is the applicant’s home address. This was done with an unwritten understanding the applicant would undertake investigations with the council to obtain any necessary planning approvals.

Confusion caused by this has meant many licence holders are under the belief they could operate the business from their home address and either didn’t understand the complex structure of planning approvals or failed to apply for such approval.

To get clarity on the issue MTA WA has gathered information from a large sample of local governments to determine the legal requirements for individuals running a business from home which has been granted a dealer’s licence.

The use of a property for any activity is a highly regulated environment which is controlled by local government under the states planning system, at local level this is under the councils various local planning schemes. The planning schemes describe various business activities, and for residential zoning, proclaim permitted activities within the zoning.

Under these planning schemes there is a base criteria that any business activity that involves “the retail sale, outdoor display/advertising signs, or hire of goods” are designated as Not Permitted Activities within a residential zone and therefore would not gain approval from your council.

However council planning schemes do in general allow for discretionary uses such as home business, home office, home occupation etc., but these have strict criteria which must be met. Any of these uses would require a formal application to council to gain approval before commencement of business. Some of the categories of activity within the dealer licence structure might fall into these uses, for example those like a broker or wholesaler but they need to be discussed with your council.

Simply put, just because you’ve got a dealer’s licence doesn’t mean you can run your business from home.

Any business activity undertaken at any address should be discussed with the appropriate local government authority prior to commencement.

Motor Repair Businesses

Although the focus of this article is on those businesses which require a dealer’s licence to trade the same principle applies to businesses requiring a motor repair business licence.

You MUST ensure that you have received permission from your local government authority to trade from your chosen address whether that be a residential or commercial location.

This applies to all business types.

Questions your council may ask

  • Where will you store your stock?
  • Will there be customers coming to the premises?
  • What percentage of your home will be used for business operation?
  • What category of dealer’s licence will you be operating under?
  • Are you planning to have external signage?
  • Do you know the zoning of your property?

More information

If you have further questions on dealer licensing contact Tony Bradshaw at MTA WA on 9233 9800 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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