How to Start a Smog Check Business?

Are you working out to start your auto body shop and looking for legal ways to open a smog check business?

If you plan to start a smog check business in your locality, here are some useful tips on getting involved in this beneficial business venture.


The Benefits of Starting a Smog Check Business

If you’re a car enthusiast, starting an auto body shop or smog check business would be a good idea to earn huge money. At the same time, you are helping the community by reducing the risk of smog that vehicles emit into the environment. Your business will also help in improving the health of the citizens.

Smog is one of the leading causes of air pollution, and according to environmentalists,  it is poisonous to the health of humans who breathe the air with smog. It is also harmful to plants because of its high level of toxicity. More studies show that pollution has excellent effects on some materials like rubbers, textiles, and dyed fibers that reduce their strength and quality.

In an industrialized state like California, where there is a large volume of vehicles roaming around the cities, smog has been a problem since then, and this is the reason why the state has implemented strict laws in the issuance of permits and licenses on car manufacturers and auto body shops. Current Smog Check Programs are being offered by California, such as the Repair Assistance and Vehicle Retirement Scheme to support motorists in compliance with the program. So if you’re planning to start a smog check business, in California, for example, you need to follow specific processes, and it takes some time to get a license to operate. We will guide you on how to start a legal smog check business.

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How to Start a Smog Check Business Legally in Your State

Starting a smog check business is not easy compared to other companies where there are specific requirements to complete and necessary equipment needed before you can get a license to operate, and every state has its standards and laws for the issuance of permits for auto body shops and smog check stations. To get the approvals in California alone, you must submit the Automotive Repair Dealer Registration or ARD from the Bureau of Automotive Repair. To complete the ARD form, you must obtain a Tax ID number issued by the California State Board of Equalization.

However, some states may require you to complete other forms, so for more details, you must check the state government websites where you plan to open the business. You should decide and declare on your application if your smog check station also deals with auto repairs and other services. Purchase all the vital equipment and be prepared for a series of tests and inspections in your shop. For more information, you may visit the Bureau of Automotive Repair website.

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  • Tony Tweimeh said on October 8, 2011
    Hello, I live in Hercules, CA 94547 and and I'm very interested in starting my own business as Smog Check ONLY and I appreciate your guidance for a startup. Thank you, Tony
  • kul clar said on November 5, 2011
    live in roseville ca 95747. interested in starting my own biz. smog check only and need some info on start up.
  • Wes said on January 18, 2012
    I live in Oceanside, Ca and am very interested in opening my own smog check only business? Any information would be very helpful. Thank you
  • Antonio morales said on January 27, 2012
    Interested in starting a smog station. I live in Las vegas NV but intend to move to Reno NV.
  • JOHN CASKEY said on January 31, 2012
    Would like to start smog inspection to my Midas shop. Would it be profitable?
  • Dee Pitt said on March 21, 2012
    Los Angeles resident 90047 interested in Info to start my Smog Only business. Any Info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  • chi dinh pham said on May 27, 2012
    I would like information on opening smog check business only. What are the requirements and how much capital to invest in that business.
  • Julio Sanchez said on May 28, 2012
    I'm a 22 year old parent in the San Fernando Valley interested in starting my own Smog Check business. I'm very confuse and don't know how to start or what are the requirements for it. Any information would be very helpful thank you ...
  • clif said on June 14, 2012
    I live in sacramento. I need info on starting a smog only shop. thanx
  • Mario G said on July 2, 2012
    I'm looking forward to starting a smog only shop in Richmond CA. Any information will be appreciated thanks.
  • Jeff Lee said on July 15, 2012
    I'd like to open a smog check business in Ca. I would like to know exactly what it takes to start up. The info will be much appreciated. Thanks.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on July 23, 2012
    Opening a Smog Test Only Location is much more simple than what all of you may believe. You first need the equipment find your location, summit the license forms for DCA about $ $150-$200 then get your city license for the location another $100-$200 depending on your city, this are the steps you need to take. I open my smog business at the age of 22 years old. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks for the forms to be process and for your station to be open.
  • sherif said on July 25, 2012
    what is the cost of the equipment and is it better to buy a shop already existed or to start a new one.
  • Peter Das said on August 23, 2012
    I am interested to know about smog test only business & how to stat this business. providing any information about this will be appreciated. Thanks & regards. Peter Das.
  • B. Hosn said on August 24, 2012
    I am a retired Chemical Engineer and live in Yuma , Arizona and would like to open SMOG Test only and would like to know the steps and cost. Regards B. Hosn
  • Niki said on September 25, 2012
    Fresno Ca 93705 and Clovis ca 93612 wanting to open two locations in 2013 please provide as much info as possible thank you
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on September 27, 2012
    Here are more tips to assist those of you looking to open a smog test only location. After viewing the interest on my last comment, I will created a website with more information please send me questions or anything you need help with. In reply to the above questions, first I need to know the budget you are working with in order for more information to be given, as in my last comment the process is not hard. A smog test only center can make U a lot of money some where about $300 to $800 a day or even more depending on your location and will to succeed.
  • Roman garibay said on October 12, 2012
    Merced california i'm interested on getting smog. and repair station what are the requirements i have my smog chech tech license and certificate
  • davib said on October 20, 2012
    What kind of profit does a smog business generate?
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on October 23, 2012
    @Roman garibay, To the first question by Roman, a smog check test and repair is a little different from a test only as more equipment is required. A test only station is require to have a smog dyno, egr teater, timing gun, evap machine tester, books for emission equipment, and a few more simple small items. A test and repair station requires more equipment and tools, please view the BAR office official website for more requirements needed, I would not by a ble to list them all, but I will on my upcoming website. Please look into the start program coming soon on 2013 or later and get more information about this program being launch by the BAR.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on October 23, 2012
    @davib, A smog test only can be very profitable, it can bring you an income of $1,000 a day depending on your location and fee you will charge your costumers, but please understand that is not going to be everyday as in many other businesses it has good and slow days. You must have an understanding of marketing if U would like to save and spend money wisely. I ran my business for 5 years and I can tell you that I made a total income of $120,000 thousand a year around 12k to 15k a month.
  • thien said on October 23, 2012
    what are requirement to open up a test only station? do i need to have all 3 license? how long will school take?
  • rey pedregon said on October 29, 2012
    san diego ca. i was interested in finding out about the start program as a test only shop. What department do i contact?
  • jesus gonzalez said on November 8, 2012
    los angeles, ca i was interested in finding out how much money would i need starting the smog test only shop? how much rent would i pay for the local place.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on November 9, 2012
    @thien, Hello there, there are not that many requirements, you will need a location, equipment, and city license. I can guide you step by step for a small fee and I can guarantee you will get your business open and a few weeks, maybe day.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on November 9, 2012
    @rey pedregon, If you would like to know more about the star program, I will advise you to do a search on the BAR website, so I will not give you wrong information since is not in to effect yet and rules and Regulations can change at any time.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on November 9, 2012
    @jesus gonzalez, the fees to open a business all depends on the location and place you would like to start, also the type of equipment you would like to start with. You will need to know what city, and the location you would like to open in. You can open a test only with a lease of $800 a month, but once again is all up to you.
  • Angelo said on November 16, 2012
    I will also need your help.. I'm still in school but as soon as i graduate and get my smog license i will definitely contact you. I have a question can i open smog test only with oil change i'll be doing both.. Is that possible?
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on November 17, 2012
    @Angelo, Yes a test only location can perform oil change, but not repairs allowed to emissions of vehicles.
  • Kevin burns said on November 30, 2012
    Hi, my partner and I are opening a smog shop soon. Doing the courses now. What equipment do you have to have to first start off and what licenses do you need for sacramento county? Any help will be great. And are you local?
  • Louie said on January 2, 2013
    Chula vista ,CA what are the startup costs with equipment. guesstimate please and I know u need permits and licenses but what about the classes or certifications where to get that at. Thank you
  • tim said on January 7, 2013
    hi i would like to start from how long does it take to get the license if i am going to attend a community college
  • Jay said on January 8, 2013
    @Mark Andrew. This is a question for Mark Andrew. What is the name of your website? There maybe interest to communicate more with you. How much does the equipment (SMOG Test Only) cost? Does the person who will perform the SMOG Test Only need to have specific licenses?
  • carlos said on January 9, 2013
    I am interested to open a smog check station but i really want to know what kind of certification i need to open it
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on January 10, 2013
    @Jay, I will work on my website soon thank for the interest. Please feel free to ask any question you may have and I will do my best to reply thank you. The equipment can be found by contacting smog business, ask if they know of anyone selling there equipment.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on January 10, 2013
    @carlos, If you are in the smog business or car industry you need to have pass different classes. U get ur technician license city license and BAR license and your good to go.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on January 10, 2013
    @tim, Community collage and a cheap ad a good way not to over pay for the school to get the license. You need to have spend few hour in the car industry collage a few months maybe 1 year.
  • Miguel said on January 10, 2013
    I am trying to acquire a smog check in compton ca that is function now but, he is selling do the smog need to be close until we get all the papers and everything for the change of owner or can the smog stay open ( I already have a License for smog.)
  • marco said on January 29, 2013
    Mark please send me your web address when you have your smog station start-up guide up. I would like to open a Smog Test Only shop in San Diego California. Does the shop owner require a BAR license or just the technician performing the smog test?
  • Anil P said on January 31, 2013
    Santa Clara CA 95050 I am interested in doing a smog only business with minor things like oil change. What should one have in order to consider this a realistic opportunity? I have location. How can i determine cost of equipment? To own? or to Lease/rent?
  • David R said on February 2, 2013
    Interested in opening test only station in Las Vegas Nevada. I already have a location asking me to come in, but I am trying to find out how many inspections the stations around me are doing per year. The numbers, at $13.00 per car (avg fee), show I need to do at least 12-13 inspections per day to break even. Is that doable?
  • Mike said on February 19, 2013
    @mark Andrew, why are so many smog check only businesses for sale? It appears as if the regulations are changing and people are concerned about how it will effect their business. Most believe they will have a difficult time making money with the newer, cheaper OBD II testing. Thus it seems like a bad time to start this type of business. What do you think?'
  • cindy said on February 22, 2013
    I'm in so called and most Smog business are doing registrations also, any ideas how to start a business for smog and registration services? I looked it up online and had no luck.
  • Carlos said on February 27, 2013
    Interested in opening my own smog check only in Las Vegas
  • Channie Richardson said on March 3, 2013
    @Mark Andrew, I'm interested in opening a Smog shop in Riverside ca, I don't have my license yet and was wondering about hiring a licensed smog tech to help run the shop. Is this a good idea?
  • marin said on March 4, 2013
    Hello @Mark Andrew, Would you be able to contact me at I do have a question about opening my smog check station. You said you will be opening web site: is it opened yet? I would appreciate if you do get it touch with me. Thanks in advance Mr. Alexiev. I would appreciate and help anyone that need more info about this topic. You guys can contact me and exchange any information and help each other. Thanks
  • johnny said on March 11, 2013
    I am looking to open a smog test only in Roseville within the next 3 month and I am willing to pay you the small fee to take me through it step by step. Please email me at and let me know how we should begin this process. Thank you ahead of time!
  • lovella lao said on March 16, 2013
    @mark andrew Can you guide me step by step to open a smog test business? I will pay you.
  • Alceu ( Al ) said on April 22, 2013
    Mark Andrew , i'm looking to open a smog test business in Las Vegas, plz let me know ,how u can help me and how much it costs. Thanks, Al.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on April 24, 2013
    @marco,  shop owners are not required to have a smog technician license you can just hire a technician and have ur business running..

    @Miguel, shop do not need to close down to change ownership do some research. The business does not have to close to change title of owner it can still be running while the transaction is done..
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on April 24, 2013
    @Anil P, it is a good idea to have an oil change with smog test here in California there are noire test only now all cars are being directed to a Star station a new program by the state. From my understanding most test and repair stations are now a star station if they qualified.
  • Amit said on May 15, 2013
    Hello, I am looking to open smog test only, what kind of equipment do I need If you could help me. I don't mind paying the fee to you. Thank you, Amit
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on May 21, 2013
    @Amit. Good to know you are opening a business, on your question about the equipment you will need, I will first need to know what is your budget for the business. You can buy cheap equipment and make a lot of money, but you can also avoid many test with better equipment, it would be up to you, on how and what you want to start with.
  • Jamil said on May 27, 2013
    I have a Star Test Only business here in Santee, San Diego, California. We do approx 400 plus smog a month @ $50 per smog. Shop was established in 2011 and customer base is growing. Asking is $300K. Monthly income is $14000
  • Amit said on May 28, 2013
    Hello @Mark, If you get chance can you please email me at Jamil you can also email me P&L statement thank you. Amit
  • Gagan said on June 18, 2013
    Hello @Mark Andrew, I am also interested in opening up a test only and need some guidance. Please email me thanks.
  • Srini said on June 22, 2013
    I am interested in opening Smog Test Only business. I am willing to pay fee if any one interested in guiding me to open it. I can be reached at . Thnx in advance
    Hey @Mark Andrew, I am ready to pay fee to guide me to setup my smog Test business .. Please provide ur contact detail to my email I'd to discuss about fee and details .. Thnx.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on June 24, 2013
    Hi I currently have in my possession a complete smog set up with evap included I am looking to get, $7,500 or best offer..! If interested reply and I will contact U with more info. Thank U I am located in LA CA
  • jeffrey r. said on June 25, 2013
    Hi mark, i would like to start a smog hut in n. las vegas. money is not an issue and i have a 1g license already. but i dont know how to begin the business. i found a location but they wont give me any info about landlord or rental of the place. The only thing they said is to write a proposal letter. I need help ASAP thanks Mark
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on June 26, 2013
    @jeffrey r.,  in some assistance to our current problem, I will suggest for you to get in touch with the landlord, " how, do some research" it maybe a leasing company or simply google the address with the frace " landlord of location" then simply make a proposal, and always start with a low offer, if is rejected, simply try again and increase your offer. I would not be familiar with the traffic in Las Vegas, how ever my suggestion to you and to others would be to get a month to month lease and try the location ad view if is profitable for your business. Here is one of my favorite quotes and I hope it help you " If you believe, you can achieve" be sure of yourself, and you will be on your way to running a profitable business. Hope this helps.
  • Sandy Lee said on July 3, 2013
    I'm interested in smog test only business, there's one existing business that I'm looking at would like to have your advice. The yearly gross income is $300k did not disclose profit and asking about $200k, how would you think about this? Thanks.
  • Jairo B said on July 6, 2013
    @Mark Andrew. I'm interested in opening a smog test only business, I would like to be owner operator at first as I do not have that much money for starting cost I have a few questions:
    1. What courses do I need to take to become a smog technician and be licensed.
    2. I have around 13 - 15 k to begin, where can I look for the machines or any other equipment that I will need.
    3. Is there anything else that I need to look into to begin this family endevor?
    Thanks for your very much needed guidance, God Bless.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on July 12, 2013
    @Sandy Lee, I can not and will not miss guide you on this offer, any advise I give you will be beneficial too you or to others, simply be SURE of yourself to make the decision and go with it. Price is a little high but it could be a well run business and very profitable. This notes i write down are simply to help other open there smog check business. For more information please keep up to date on my website release date coming soon.
  • mike halisi said on July 13, 2013
    i am interested in paying someone to help me start a smog test business in southern ca. my phone # is 714 323 5672
  • mike halisi said on July 13, 2013
  • mike halisi said on July 13, 2013
  • mike halisi said on July 15, 2013
    orange county ca or near by
  • chris said on July 17, 2013
    Add me to the list of people that are interested in opening up a Test Only station. My budget is $20k+ to start. I would love to discuss things with you Mark Andrew. Email me if you have the time. appreciate you are helping everyone here.
  • Juan C Rojas said on July 19, 2013
    I'm interested to open an smog check station in Sacramento CA. I would like to know if it is any type of finance for the equipment and also if are any classes that I need to attend to be an smog check person authorized thanks
  • h carlton said on July 20, 2013
    @Mark, please email me directly so i can explore using your services . thanks
  • Rene said on July 21, 2013
    Hello @mark I'm planning on opening a smog shop in Ontario/Pomona. my question is do you know of a place where I could purchase the equipment to get started?
  • Armen said on July 25, 2013
    Hi Mark, I am interested to open up smog test only, can you email me for more info? Thank you
  • JESUS PEREZ said on July 28, 2013
  • Chris Lyell said on July 29, 2013
    Hey guys- I currently own 5 smog shops and have a track record of opening or taking over businesses and exponentially increasing sales. I can give some advice as mentioned above for a fee to get you going. Shoot me an email at and we can see if I was a good fit for to help. Thanks
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on July 30, 2013

    @mike halisi,  excuse the delay reply on your question to open a smog tation on Orange county. I am familiar with the city and location, there are many regulation the county itself has that can not be beneficial to you, with my information. However I can still assure you success with a marketing plan to increase your business, when you are open for business.

  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on July 30, 2013

    @Juan C Rojas,  currently there are changes in the smog check program for the reason that the Star Station recently kick in, early this year. Becoming a star station is not a difficult process. You can finance the equipment, but you would need to know what equipment brand to buy, more information can be found on my upcoming website. I will release helpful information in this site.

  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on July 30, 2013

    @h carlton, Mark Andrew here contacting you in order for you to be aware of my upcoming website that will assist you and will give you access to myself in order for me to assist you fast and to the best of my knowledge. thank you

  • rita said on August 1, 2013
    mark, I own a star certified smog business for 7 years, I want you to be sure to let them know the issues with changes in ownership or structure from sole to partner. You cannot stay STAR with any change, The BAR requires six months of new data(can only smog non star vehicles) for six months, if you know of a way around this let me know, cus I was told any change means a new ARD and no Star Certification for six months...I wanted to take a partner but because of this, and if I want to stay STAR Cert, I cannot make any changes in name, location, or sole to partnership, corp, will lose a lot of business. tell me what you think ?
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on August 4, 2013
    @rita, there are ways around the problem you are currently facing. You can transfer ownership by following a strategy I have use, too have this request done, without losing the star certification.
  • Mike said on August 10, 2013
    Mark, I live in Las Vegas, Nevada and am interested in how to go about getting the licenses, necessary certificates, and equipment necessary, also very interested in when you launch your web site as I look forward to reading all the advice I can to help me start this business.
  • Cong said on August 12, 2013
    Mark - I live in Tustin, CA and would like to open a SMOG only shop in Northern Orange County. Can you provide me with your contact information so we can discuss details. Many thanks!!
  • Johnny said on August 15, 2013
    I have a budget of $10,000 - $15,000 and I am interested in opening a SMOG Test Only business in San Jose, CA. What is the process to become a licensed Smog Tech? What equipment will I need? Would you please provide the requested information and any additional information that would be helpful? Thank you, Johnny
  • Alan R said on August 18, 2013
    Hi mark.. I am located in orange county CA and i'm thinking of opening up a smog check test only station. i would really appreciate your help and i dont mind paying a small fee for your advice and or help. thanks in advance! -Alan Rivera
  • Emilio said on August 19, 2013
    @Mark Andrew, do you have the website up yet? I wanted to get some information from you if you can contact me through email I would appreciate it. Thank you.
  • Jennifer said on August 22, 2013
    We are interested in opening a smog check business in the LA area. Budget will be $10-15K for the equip. Smog test only. What do we need to start this business? License, do i need to go to school? etc. Thank you for your help in advance. JD
  • hassan said on August 25, 2013
    I am interested in opening a smog check test only but i dont have any experience .how can i start?
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on August 26, 2013

    @Mike, Thank you for looking forward on the launch of my upcoming website, I am putting together all the strategies too resolve problem regarding "How to open and run a smog check business" in my upcoming website. I am getting it ready as it will walk people from new business owner to experience business owner in less than a few weeks with real results. thank you and is coming soon.

  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on August 26, 2013

    @Alan R, Is great to know you will be opening a smog check in orange county. Advice as i walk you, and you get too view over my shoulder how to open and run a business is what we will discus in my upcoming website, and how to not have a concern about competition will be provided too.

  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on August 26, 2013

    @Emilio, my site will have many great advise for people wanting to learn how to open and run a smog check business. I will also give people an option to contact me personally, and receive help to assure your success.

  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on August 26, 2013

    @Jennifer,  great job on taking the decision to open a smog check business. In my upcoming website I will walk people and guide them on ways to open a smog check business, I will include an upsale for my course to tech people and how to make real big money running a successful smog check business.

  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on August 26, 2013

    @hassan,  my upcoming website will assist individuals like yourself without knowledge to being a profitable business owner. You will learn many tactics, and aspect great results.

  • Alex said on September 5, 2013
    @Mark Andrew, two things - 1) why is it that many of the Smog businesses are commanding such high goodwills here in No. Cal. Is this truly a profitable business? What is the proper way to assess the value of a established smog business. 2) what are the things to watch out for when purchasing an established smog business. Are there any loop holes or areas that sellers can hide or adjust to garner a higher sale price. Some of the income numbers seem too good to be true. Thanks!
  • ED Franck said on September 11, 2013
    NOTE; the easiest way is to buy an existing business then transplant your STAR TEST & repair site thats in a poor location to this Great location.It won't work with a Test OnlyStation because then you can only test cars and no repair at the same location.
  • Benjamin cuevas said on September 16, 2013
    Interested in starting a smog check test only business in the South Bay Area california
  • ED Franck said on September 16, 2013
    To @Benjamin cuevas, This is not a good idea at this time due to too much involvement by state agency. They want you to set up these Test Only sites for a 6 month trial period so that they can get a FPR rating on your techs .What a test only site does is only test change of ownerships & Only registrations That don't say Star on them which is 9 out 10 are directed to go to Star Stations which basically puts you out business! They will soon be testing later model cars at Jiffy Lubes Pep Boys Parts Stores and any other big chain stores there is some big money behind this I guarantee it!
  • Mark Garcia said on September 16, 2013
    Hi I will like to get some information to set up a Smog Check Station in San Diego CA.. I will like to know what type of permits do I need? Where to go to get them? I will like to know everything beneficial that would help me set up this business. Any information will help a lot. Thanks.
  • Mark Andrew novice adviser said on October 13, 2013

    @Mark Garcia,  I would be more that happy to assist you in the information you are seeking to open ans run a smog check business. I am currently working on a product to assist many new beginners on the smog check business.

  • douglas said on October 13, 2013
    please provide me info how to start a smog test only in california i'm here in northern california. from incensing california requirements monthly expenses expectations and so on
  • Tom said on October 28, 2013
    Is there a guaranteed process to becoming star certified? In other words, if I were to open a new smog shop, I would need to smog non STAR required cars for at least 6 months. But is there a possibility that the CA bar refuses to make my shop a STAR shop even if I followed all the rules and regulations? It would be an extreme waste of time and money if I dedicate 6 months of time with low revenues and possibly operating at a loss to get rejected by the CA bar and not get STAR certified. At this point it would mean I would have to wait another 6 months before applying for star certification or selling the business and cutting my losses short. My budget is $40k and I'm looking to open a STAR certified smog shop.
  • Mr. Mike said on November 3, 2013
    @Mark Andrew, I'd like to learn more about your "How to operate a smog test business" program when its ready. Thanks, Mike


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