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Average Dealer Documentation Fees by State

Dealer documentation fees (also known as doc fees), cover a dealer's administrative costs related to title, registration, and other paperwork involved with the car purchase.

Doc fees range from $0 to nearly $1,000 depending on which dealer and state you purchase from. Some states such as California limit the maximum amount a dealer can charge for this fee, but most have no limits.

You cannot negotiate a dealer's doc fee because they are required by law to charge the same amount to every customer. You can, however, ask them to reduce the price of the vehicle to compensate for a high doc fee.

TrueCar.com has compiled a list of average doc fees charged in each state. The data is mostly from July 2011, but I've updated some of the States as readers informed me of changes.

They found the highest doc fees to be in the Southeast region of the United States with Florida having an average doc fee of $607. The lowest doc fee is found in California, with an average fee of only $55.

Dealer Documentation Fees
(as of July 2011, subject to change)
State Average
Dealer Doc Fee*
Range of Fees Statewide Cap or Rules?
AL $458 $0 to $899 No cap or rules
AR $97 $0 to $129 Restrictions on Display/Terminology
AZ $401 $199 to $539 No cap or rules
CA $55 $0 to $55 $55
CO $508 $249 to $689 No cap or rules
CT $357 $245 to $499 No cap or rules
DC $299 $299 to $299 No cap or rules
DE $241 $50 to $349 No cap or rules
FL $607 $0 to $999 No cap or rules
GA $502 $0 to $899 No cap or rules
HI $245 $245 to $245 No cap or rules
IA $134 $89 to $199 No cap or rules
ID $286 $250 to $314 No cap or rules
IL $155 $150 to $155 $155
IN $178 $149 to $475 No cap or rules
KS $235 $119 to $299 Restrictions on Display/Terminology
KY $354 $0 to $698 No cap or rules
LA $103 $100 to $100 $100
MA $321 $195 to $495 No cap or rules
MD $131 $0 to $200 $200
ME $336 $198 to $399 No cap or rules
MI $181 $75 to $214 $194 Max Doc Fee + flat $21 Electronic Filing Fee
MN $125 $125 to $125 $125
MO $174 $0 to $199 Restrictions on Display/Terminology
MS $274 $139 to $399 No cap or rules
MT $224 $99 to $338 No cap or rules
NC $466 $0 to $699 No cap or rules
ND $124 $98 to $149 No cap or rules
NE $222 $29.5 to $399 No cap or rules
NH $304 $240 to $399 Restrictions on Display/Terminology
NJ $270 $98 to $399 No cap or rules
NM $263 $69 to $349 Restrictions on Display/Terminology
NV $431 $345 to $599 No cap or rules
NY $74 $45 to $75 $75
OH $247 $99 to $250 $250
OK $235 $149 to $399 No cap or rules
OR $61 $50 to $100 No cap or rules
PA $122 $72 to $250 No cap or rules
RI $231 $196 to $379 No cap or rules
SC $293 $0 to $599 No cap or rules
SD $93 $49 to $149 No cap or rules
TN $402 $289 to $699 No cap or rules
TX $125 $50 to $150 $150 Max; Restrictions on Display
UT $293 $0 to $398 No cap or rules
VA $403 $0 to $599 No cap or rules
VT $148 $0 to $296 No cap or rules
WA $145 $50 to $150 $150
WI $152 $89 to $199 No cap or rules
WV $129 $85 to $175 No cap or rules
WY $388 $205 to $499 No cap or rules
*Top 10 Lowest by Average are labeled in green; top 10 highest by average are labeled in red.

3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum Money

The key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:

Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted Network

Select the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Select Vehicle to Get Local Pricing

Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirect

TrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.

Step 3 Complete my Checklist

Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

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About The Author

Gregg Fidan Gregg Fidan is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.
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