52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

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52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

bobavery
This post was updated on .
Hey at age 52, I am starting over in life.  (had to shutter my old business of selling computers for the last 10 years)

Please consider giving me advice ... I need to interact w people who've traveled this road before me

Will sign a lease to start a test-only shop (sign Jan 10, move in March 15).

I want to know what it takes to start a shop.  If I am correct, if I only do year 2000 and newer cars, the equipment is only like $2k-$3k plus a computer and no dyno is needed.
For example the one here: https://www.smogdaddy.com/store/complete-wireless-smog-daddy-system

I'd need to hire a licensed tech, or become a licensed tech myself.  

Is there anything I need beyond this?  
equipment?  
special license?
what is the fee the dmv (or state) charges per test we do?

Any help is radically appreciated!

Bob
I am someone held to a large spinning ball by something called gravity.  I keep trying to escape it, but no matter how I plan, no matter how I scheme, this big spinning ball pulls me back to its surface.
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

none
If you are in an "enhanced" area which is most of California anymore You will starve being a "NON-STAR" test only. In order to be STAR you need a BAR-97 machine also.

If you don't have a smog license you better check what it takes to get that first. It takes much longer than most people think.

If it is a repair shop currently I don't think it can be a "TEST ONLY" also but why would you be? You could do far more as a "TEST & REPAIR".
I've hit rock bottom but I brought a pick and a shovel and I'm ready to dig!
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

bobavery
This post was updated on .
Thanks for the reply... and best user name every.

I want to be test only to keep it to a small scope.  

By smog license, you mean (beyond getting my personal license as a tech  (which looks like a 3-month education) getting the smog license for the business... anyone know how long that takes?  And do I need to have already have my tech license to apply?

STAR vs Non.  I see DMV sends cars some to 'star' only.  So two questions:
1. What % of your business is dmv Star required.  (you indicated non-star would be poverty level ish - so what % of business is star certified)?

2. I've read lots of complaints about star certified... how hard is it to get and stay star?

3. looks like I'd need to rent something like the ESP Gen 3 at $425 a month.  what else would I need beside this and the DAD system

Thanks - Bob
I am someone held to a large spinning ball by something called gravity.  I keep trying to escape it, but no matter how I plan, no matter how I scheme, this big spinning ball pulls me back to its surface.
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

Peter
Bob
Smog Test only is a dying trade. Law are changing fast. Every dick tom and jerry getting smog inspector license and opening test only without hiring smog inspector. State has increased smog age to 8 years. In few years it will be all Electric vehicles. May be next 5 years. Sorry my friend, go and open a restaurant or online delivery business. In box me if you would like any further info. Good Luck
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

locopoco
I'm a test only shop and it gave me a comfortable life for the past 17 years but I'm also with Peter on this,Test Only and generally smog test is in it's last leg.
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

Lose weight
In reply to this post by Peter
Peter wrote
 Every dick tom and jerry getting smog inspector license and opening test only without hiring smog inspector.
Preach brother preach!
Make America Healthy Again, Stop overeating phatties!
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

SoCalSmogGuy
In reply to this post by bobavery
bobavery wrote
Hey at age 52, I am starting over in life.  (had to shutter my old business of selling computers for the last 10 years)

Please consider giving me advice ... I need to interact w people who've traveled this road before me

Will sign a lease to start a test-only shop (sign Jan 10, move in March 15).

I want to know what it takes to start a shop.  If I am correct, if I only do year 2000 and newer cars, the equipment is only like $2k-$3k plus a computer and no dyno is needed.
For example the one here: https://www.smogdaddy.com/store/complete-wireless-smog-daddy-system

I'd need to hire a licensed tech, or become a licensed tech myself.  

Is there anything I need beyond this?  
equipment?  
special license?
what is the fee the dmv (or state) charges per test we do?

Any help is radically appreciated!

Bob
Bob,

You are thinking of entering a highly regulated, government-controlled program. It is not as simple as getting a shop and hiring a licensed tech (or getting your smog tech license and performing inspections yourself). Even though you are considering a test-only shop, you should still have vast automotive and mechanical knowledge and experience. The classes technicians take to become certified do not prepare them for real-world smog scenarios.

That being said, there is still plenty of money to be made in the smog program. Others will deter you, stating the flaws of the STAR program or comparing it to past implementations of the smog program. I run a test-only and my business has increased every year for the past 3 years and we are still trending upward. The STAR program actually helps honest shops. How? The more crooked stations they close down, the less stations will be available for consumers , meaning your customer pool is increasing.

If I were in your position I would do A LOT MORE RESEARCH. Research the program, ask yourself if this is something you want to be entrenched with, check traffic counts for your possible shop location, see how many competitors you have, how many cars they are averaging, how much are they charging, etc.

I would never consider opening a test-only without a BAR-97 analyzer. STAR certification is crucial if you are not test and repair.

Good luck on your journey.
Work Smarter AND Harder
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

barrym95838
Administrator
SoCalSmogGuy wrote
... The STAR program actually helps honest shops. How? The more crooked stations they close down, the less stations will be available for consumers , meaning your customer pool is increasing ...
... except the STAR program is, in my opinion, closing down just as many honest shops as it is crooked shops, because it is based on the ridiculously illogical premise that inspector quality can be inferred from the follow-up performance of vehicles certified by that inspector.  The FuPR is complete and total B.S.

barrym95838
EO/EI/LA/BA144107
“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

bobavery
In reply to this post by SoCalSmogGuy
Peter, nocoloco, socalsmogguy and others

I wanted to send a response now to say thank you a ton for responses so far.  It is greatly appreciated and gives me  stuff to chew on.  I have been reading and chewing on each response.  It's pretty clear I'd need to rent a bar-97 and go for STAR status.  I also don't know that I am expecting the business to last past 7-8 years.  For me, the location I have an opportunity to lease is the key motive as it is so visible and heavily trafficed.  But I am looking to be involved in other stuff... so I am not looking at it taking up all my time after a year.

I just spent the day at the funeral of a close friend of 25 years - someone who walked with me threw good and bad of life - and it has wiped me out.  I need to pose questions to you all, and hear your feedback more, but I'll do so when my brain and heart are fully available.

Bob
I am someone held to a large spinning ball by something called gravity.  I keep trying to escape it, but no matter how I plan, no matter how I scheme, this big spinning ball pulls me back to its surface.
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

Troll
If you don't want it taking up your time year after year, then good luck with it as a hobby.  My views are quite "brutal honest".  You'll get what you pay for, or less, especially if you can not be full time 24/7 owner.
You'll never be qualified as a tech with just the 3 month pay to pass school license.  Forget even trying to be a repair tech.  My advice is apply at Costco. Great bennies, pay, work. PS- I like your type 2 pic
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

BlueSky
In reply to this post by bobavery
Here are other things to consider.  When you name your business make sure you incorporate the city name into your business name, this will get you free search rankings with google and others.  If I had followed this advice 15 years ago I could have saved a lot of money on advertising, now to do it I would lose STAR Certification for a month or 2 and piss off my regular customers.  Remember Location, Location, Location means a lot, which I did not do.  When I started at my current location there was only 1 other smog station within a 1 1/2 radius of mine, now there are 5 smog shops within that same radius with another ready to come online any day.  My business has dropped by 60% along with having to reduce the price for a smog to complete with all the other new shops.  Not all shops are as fortunate as "SoCalSmogGuy's" business.

Good Luck.
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

D Rochells 150861
I am pretty sure you can change your business name without losing STAR.

https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/r-8.pdf

Business Name Change
If you are changing the name of your business, you must submit, in writing, the new business name to BAR. However, if your business is a corporation and both the corporation name and the corporate number have changed, you must submit a new ARD application. If only the corporation name has changed, submit, in writing, the old and new corporation name to BAR.
זאר
Join the Smog Union!
http://www.smogunion.org/

Click to Donate Now!
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

SoCalSmogGuy
In reply to this post by barrym95838
barrym95838 wrote
... except the STAR program is, in my opinion, closing down just as many honest shops as it is crooked shops, because it is based on the ridiculously illogical premise that inspector quality can be inferred from the follow-up performance of vehicles certified by that inspector.  The FuPR is complete and total B.S.

barrym95838
EO/EI/LA/BA144107
I agree the implementation of the program. the data used, and the derived measurements are not an accurate measure of what is actually happening in the industry. I highly doubt it is closing down just as many honest shops as crooked shops. Are honest shops getting caught up in the process? Absolutely, but that happens in every industry. Cheaters use cheating tactics and methods on a daily basis. An honest shop makes a mistake that resembles a cheating tactic. To the BAR, at face-value, both shops have committed the same violation. Only when you dig deep into each scenario can they determine who made a mistake and who is benefiting monetarily on illegal inspections. There are a lot more politics involved but I doubt our conversation on this forum is going to affect the policy and procedure used.

This is coming from a tech and shop owner who is currently fighting a couple BAR citations.
Work Smarter AND Harder
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

Best Answer I Can Give
 Mr Bob, Where the Hell are you?
Buy me dinner. Buy None dinner. Buy who ever will talk to you dinner.
WAY to much is involved in this just to get over the Net.

 Tell us your general area. Hell you want from me FEED ME. Hell I will talk to you over a phone call, but you want the REAL. Take one to dinner.
 Life will give you rope. It will give you enough to make a ladder to pull yourself up, or an noose to hang yourself with.
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Re: 52 y old - starting over in life (hopefully) w test only - need advice

mikesmobile
In reply to this post by bobavery
There isnt a career in smog test only...
There is no way to make money on a $29 BAR OIS smog...
The money is in STAR and BAR 97 smog's $80.00 a car, no coupons accepted.
Advertise, but don't accept coupons for STAR directed, that is where the profit is.
You can't pay all the expenses, payroll, rent, utilities, your salary etc etc..
Not to mention advertising..
Don't even bother.
Drive UBER would be a better bet....
Sorry to pour to cold water on this, been at it too long on both sides, owner/tech.....
Depending on the demographics you could be losing 30-40 percent to STAR you'll be pinched every time you turn one away.
Test only only worth it for owner operators no way its going to work as owner nontech without even STAR....
Mike
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

xcinlb
In reply to this post by none
Bob, don't let the negative post scare you away. I'm a test only shop and do pretty well, the only thing that is getting worse for me, is the lease, it keeps going up. Make sure you go over your lease with a lawyer. As others have said, you need to be STAR and have a BAR 97 which you can lease, but you still need to instal a dyno. The dyno gets expensive. You can hire a tech but at first it will cost you money, until you develop a clientele. It depends where your shop is located and how much competition you have. If you can open up in an area where there aren't many spots for a shop to open, then it will be better in the long run, less competition. Research how many shops are currently around your desired spot and find out what the going rate is. Provide great service one you open and be mindful of Yelp reviews. You'll need money for a computer, furniture, sings, supplies, city lic, incorporating, insurances (liability & workers comp), forms or computer program, etc.
Oh and no, the restaurant field is not easier, I have friends in that industry and they work like dogs 6 or 7 days a week,  12+ hours per day. Best of luck.
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

Troll
Excellent advice on having a lawyer look at lease. We had a lease expert work with us.
Our new landlord could not believe that I did that, and could not trust him.Like they say-
if its not in writing, then it doesn't exist.
Money well spent
I've had totally great landlords, and then 1 "isis" used car troll, who tried so often to wire, and black tape the dashes to "fix the mil.
There is a older nissan out there, when you put the handbrake, the mil comes on.
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

tampered
Troll wrote
There is a older nissan out there, when you put the handbrake, the mil comes on.
HAW!  There is another Chevy that the MIL comes on when it gets low on oil!
Loaded for bear, licensed for quail.
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

D Rochells 150861
There are fucking Previas out there, that flash the oil pressure light with E1 and TE1 grounded, that are made that way on purpose. Fuck you Toyota, I thought I caught a cheater for a good 20 minutes.
זאר
Join the Smog Union!
http://www.smogunion.org/

Click to Donate Now!
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Re: what does it take to start new test only in CA - yr 2000+

Troll
I love the previas.  We charge $125. Timing, evap, all gets done.
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