UPDATE: Goodwill Car Donations is currently accepting vehicle donations. Call 866-233-8586 to schedule an unattended FREE pickup. To learn what actions we are taking to ensure you are protected when you donate a vehicle to Goodwill Car Donations, please click here.

Car Dealership Admin Fees Explained

How Dealerships Justify the Admin Fee | Goodwill Car Donations Photo by Antoni Shkraba under Pexels License

What Do These Additional Fees Cover?

When you purchase a car from a dealership, one thing that might raise your eyebrows is the admin fee included in the listed price of the vehicle. It may have a different name like a service fee or documentation fee.

Dealerships charge this fee to their customers to account for the expenses they incurred in acquiring the vehicles they’re selling.

How Dealerships Justify the Admin Fee

Admin fees are charges added by dealerships to the prices of the vehicles they’re selling to cover the costs of paperwork and administrative tasks related to the acquisition of those vehicles. The fee varies from one dealership to another and may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

The admin fee is typically charged in addition to the actual price of the car, and it’s often non-negotiable. Some dealerships justify the fee as covering the expenses they paid in preparing documents for vehicle titles and registration, processing loan paperwork, and filing state-required forms. The fee also covers the cost of hiring and training their employees to handle the paperwork, as well as the cost of software and equipment needed to process it all.

The admin fee also includes the costs incurred by the dealerships in complying with federal and state laws. The laws include those related to safety concerns, anti-theft mechanisms, vehicle history checks, certifications, notifications, and consumer protection.

What You Can Do As a Car Buyer

Some car buyers argue that this fee is just another way for dealerships to jack up their profits.

However, while it may seem like an unnecessary expense on the part of car buyers, the admin fee is a legitimate cost incurred by the dealership, and it is legal in most states. Nevertheless, some states have placed limits on the amount that dealerships can charge for this fee, while others do not regulate it at all.

It’s important to note, however, that not all dealerships charge an admin fee, and those that do may be willing to negotiate or waive it, especially if the customer is a repeat buyer or is purchasing a high-end vehicle.

If you’re planning to purchase a car from a dealership, it’s important to carefully review the documentation and pricing to understand any additional fees that may be charged, including the admin fee. You may want to ask the dealership to explain the specific costs associated with the admin fee and determine if it’s negotiable or not.


What’s the Best Way to Dispose of Your Unwanted Car?

If you are shopping around for a new car because your old one has already given up on you and having it fixed may not guarantee your safety anymore, your only option is to dispose of that clunker. Don’t worry, you can still put it to good use by donating it to us at Goodwill Car Donations. We will use your vehicle to uplift the lives of the struggling disadvantaged residents of your community while giving you all the rewards you deserve for your participation in our donation program.

Our team will put your car up for auction and turn over the proceeds to the Goodwill organizations serving your area. These IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofits cater to disadvantaged U.S. citizens — those who are burdened with disabilities, lack of education, job experience, or essential skills, and other limiting personal issues, such as having prison records or a welfare mindset.

Your local Goodwill organizations use the funding we give them to provide their beneficiaries with job training, employment opportunities, scholarships, livelihood assistance, disability benefits, and many other essential support services.

Expect to be sufficiently rewarded for your charitable contribution. We’ll pick up and tow your vehicle for free anywhere in the United States. Your donation will also entitle you to claim the maximum tax deduction in the next tax season.

Moreover, your act of charity will bring you an immense sense of satisfaction, knowing that you’ll be contributing to the growth and development of your community by empowering your needy fellow residents through work and learning.

We accept almost all types of vehicles, including those that are no longer in good condition

To find out the details of our vehicle donation process, and other relevant information, visit our FAQs page. Questions? Call us at 866-233-8586 or leave us a message here.

A Brown Vintage Car beside a Building | Goodwill Car Donations Photo by Anna Ilina under Pexels License

Make a Difference Today!

Reach out to the disadvantaged men and women in your community. Your car donation will make a difference in their lives. Call Goodwill Car Donations at 866-233-8586 or fill out our secure online donation form now!


Last Updated: July 17th, 2023