New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

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New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

undersquare
Hey all,

Brand new to the forum here I found you guys while doing some research about how to start a smog business.  I'm in an automotive program at a community college in CA and have 1 more semester before I finish and graduate.  At the end of the program I will be level 1 and 2 smog certified and am considering starting my own smog business.  My question to you all is what should I expect out of that process.  How much money will I need to start it, What kind of legal things do I need to know about, etc.  My plan is to only accept 2000 and newer therefore just doing OBD smog checks.  From my understanding the OBD equipment can be bought for ~1500 and I already have a computer to hook it up to.  Other then renting a garage and getting word out about my business what else do I need to consider?  Any help is appreciated. Thanks for reading.
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

D Rochells 150861
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

Best Answer I Can Give
 Lot's of luck.
 Never make fun of the choices your wife makes. You were one of them.
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

BasicTech678
In reply to this post by undersquare
undersquare wrote
Hey all,

Brand new to the forum here I found you guys while doing some research about how to start a smog business.  I'm in an automotive program at a community college in CA and have 1 more semester before I finish and graduate.  At the end of the program I will be level 1 and 2 smog certified and am considering starting my own smog business.  My question to you all is what should I expect out of that process.  How much money will I need to start it, What kind of legal things do I need to know about, etc.  My plan is to only accept 2000 and newer therefore just doing OBD smog checks.  From my understanding the OBD equipment can be bought for ~1500 and I already have a computer to hook it up to.  Other then renting a garage and getting word out about my business what else do I need to consider?  Any help is appreciated. Thanks for reading.

https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/Smog_Check_Test_Only_Station_Checklist.pdf
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

user7112
Get some experience first. lots of situations out there that you wont learn about in class.
and don't open a shop near me lol
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

Moderator
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by undersquare
Don't be in a hurry to break even right away.  Actually, try not to rush anything, especially inspections.  And seriously consider hiring a tech with real field experience to help you for a short time until you get your bearings.
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

BasicTech678
In reply to this post by undersquare
its gonna take some time to get the shop licenses and inceptions while your waiting get your feet wet even part time it will help alot. how to handle customers some will test you and try to get over on you trying you out see if your a COOL smog guy lol
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

Able
In reply to this post by undersquare
Go work at a shop for 6 months to a year first for reals.

I jumped in this field blind and had to learn things the hard way....very dumb! don't repeat my mistake.


YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT IF YOU DO ONLY 2000+ OIS INSPECTION ONLY!

Most shops are struggling to stay alive and make profits when they have other services like Oil change, dmv, tires....etc

So OIS inspection alone will die in 2 months max.
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

none
In reply to this post by undersquare
None of us want more competition and people will always tell you why your plan is bad and that it will never work. Don't listen to the critics. That said, 2000 and newer only without being a repair shop WILL NEVER WORK!

If you are in an "enhanced area" a high percentage of your customers will be STAR directed and you can't be STAR without a BAR97. If you are in a "basic area" a high percentage of your customers will be driving 1999 and older which you also can't do without a BAR97.

The $450/month for a BAR97 is not a big expense when you look at your monthly expenses as a whole. Have you looked at shop rent prices for a decent location? I'll bet it's $3,500/month +/- depending on your area. Advertising and web site, credit card processing, insurance, utilities, invoicing programs, Alldata or Mitchell, and that is as long as you don't have any employees. With employees you have the highest expenses of payroll and workman's comp plus I pay $240/month for uniform service right now.    
People are usually shocked when they find out I'm not a very good electrician.
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

D Rochells 150861
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

undersquare
In reply to this post by undersquare
Thanks for all the input.  I do plan on doing repairs in the long run but thought i would need to gain some experience and work towards that.  I'll probably work at a shop or two for a bit and go from there.  Thanks again.
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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

Kevin
In reply to this post by undersquare
What Barry said is spot on, hire an employee that can help you learn, dont expect to make any money for the first year or two, plan for licensing fees state and city, equipment and back up funds for repairs and equipment repairs and replacement. 
Also try to have half to a years operating expenses on hand

Also you will needs an invoice system either computer based or hand written 

Advertising & social media products in place. Banners 

Flashlights & mirrors 

Latest smog inspectors manual 

Lates smog information resources 

On Tue, Nov 12, 2019, 12:42 PM undersquare [via Stop The Star Program] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

Brand new to the forum here I found you guys while doing some research about how to start a smog business.  I'm in an automotive program at a community college in CA and have 1 more semester before I finish and graduate.  At the end of the program I will be level 1 and 2 smog certified and am considering starting my own smog business.  My question to you all is what should I expect out of that process.  How much money will I need to start it, What kind of legal things do I need to know about, etc.  My plan is to only accept 2000 and newer therefore just doing OBD smog checks.  From my understanding the OBD equipment can be bought for ~1500 and I already have a computer to hook it up to.  Other then renting a garage and getting word out about my business what else do I need to consider?  Any help is appreciated. Thanks for reading.


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Re: New to forum-Question about starting smog business in CA

BayAreaSmogTech
In reply to this post by undersquare
undersquare wrote
Thanks for all the input.  I do plan on doing repairs in the long run but thought i would need to gain some experience and work towards that.  I'll probably work at a shop or two for a bit and go from there.  Thanks again.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd start by working at a dealership. Get the necessary skills and knowledge about a specific make and how to deal with customers/sell jobs. Dealerships will also pay health insurance and educate you which is key. The successful independent guys always come from dealerships after putting in 5+ years.

You can always start out at an independent shop but most are managed poorly and all you'll learn is how to discount your work.