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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was talking to my boss the other day about one of his old shops. I`m a motorcycle mechanic and I`ve been thinking of going out on my own. Anyway, he said he ran one of his shops from his home garage for 3 years. I was under the impression that that was illegle but he said it was legal as long as you don`t have any paid employees working for you. I`m not even sure what state or county agency to contact to get the info I need. I would like to get a license and become a dealer for several parts companies and do work from my garage till I get big enough to move to a real shop. I honestly don`t know if I need a business license or just a retail license or both. I want to be able to stock some service parts and to be able to order parts for customers.

Anyone know where I should start? Thanks.
 

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Most states require you to register your business name and get a tax id number. If you are a sole prop. you take care of business taxes on a schedule C. Does CA require you to pays sales tax on stuff you sale (using a tax exempt business number)? Go talk to a business accountant he will give you all the options of forming the business to reduce liability and taxes. Your local city may also require business licenses. If you are going to do it, do it right, if you get caught doing the under the table thing it can really hurt.
 

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You need a resale number (for sales tax) and a business license from the city. The city will be the biggest problem some of them don't like you to run anything but an online company from your house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I`ll have to talk to someone I guess. I definatly want to do it legit, just don`t know what steps to take suince I`ve never had my own business before.
 

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Wether or not you can even operate a business out of your home or garage will depend on the zoning ordinances in your area. I ran a part time auto repair shop out of my garage for 5 or 6 years. Then a new neighbor moved in and complained because I was working on cars and making too much noise on Sundays. The city shut me down because the person looked up the zoning laws and it said I was a block inside residential only!:mad: I was licensed and everything too! I tried for a varience but the guy showed up every meeting and contested it saying he would sue the city! I just said screw it and went back to the VW shop!:)
 

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most major vendors won't sell to you unless you have a valid store front in CA .... & that includes a whole lot of stuff you really do'nt want to think about .....permits for air compressors , permits for A/C machine's , handi-capped access to bathrooms & special parking for same .... off street parking,permits for all electric work, code fire extinguishers,permits for waste of toxic substances & all the record keeping the goes with it .......special fire proof storage cabinets for paint & solvents special storage cans for soiled rags & a service to clean them ..... special clear painted areas as walk ways on floors .... on & on & on & on& .....only way to get around it is to be a one man PRIVATE TOY SHOP for YOUR use only !! & put up a chain across the entrance with a NO trespassing sign !!

GOOD luck ... p.s. all this info is VOID if your within 300 feet of a school zone :clonk:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
well for motorcycle work I only need a air compressor,which I already have in use, and a oil drian tank which I also already have in use. Don`t need a a/c machine, won`t have people using the bathroom in my house and nothing against handicapped people but not too many of them ride or are able to ride so I don`t see that as a problem. drivetrain fluids would be the only waste that I can dispose of myself at the local Advanced Auto parts. I do have a parts washer but it doesn`t contain solvent and what is in there is pretty much useless so I don`t even use it anyway. Oily rags aren`t a huge problem since I place pans under the bikes and use a spray cleaner to degrease any area I need to work. Basicaly I was envisioning people just bringing me their bikes and then picking them up when they are done. Should`nt be any parking involved. There is a school around the corner but it`s more than 300 feet away. I won`t have time till next monday to do it but I guess I`ll have to call the city or county to see who to talk to about it and find out what my options are. If I have to do it in a private shop then I won`t be a business owner. I can barely cover my truck payment let alone paying rent for a shop,just not going to happen.
 

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It is illegal (atleast in California) for a commercial client to dispose of waste at a free recycling center. They may do it for you, but if you are ever investigated you are going to get into trouble (when I worked at Kragens one of our accounts got fined for it and so did we!).

And I have the same thing going on! In fact, I was asked by a neighbor the other day because, since I lost my job, I've serviced about 20 "friend's" cars. I envisioned getting another job until I saved enough money but I've been making so much (and for once, enjoying what I do!) that I am trying to find a way to skip the getting the other job part! Last week I finished about 7 cars in one day (2 sets of front brakes, four oil changes, and one AC charge/spark plugs/wires) and had them parked on the street about 15 minutes before school let out (theres a stupid school RIGHT across the street from me and the parents are complete idiots when it comes to parking!). A cop came up and said he received complaints and I just told him the truth. He asked if any of the cars were non-op and I told him no and he said that's all he needed to know, and told me to have a nice day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is illegal (atleast in California) for a commercial client to dispose of waste at a free recycling center. They may do it for you, but if you are ever investigated you are going to get into trouble (when I worked at Kragens one of our accounts got fined for it and so did we!).

And I have the same thing going on! In fact, I was asked by a neighbor the other day because, since I lost my job, I've serviced about 20 "friend's" cars. I envisioned getting another job until I saved enough money but I've been making so much (and for once, enjoying what I do!) that I am trying to find a way to skip the getting the other job part! Last week I finished about 7 cars in one day (2 sets of front brakes, four oil changes, and one AC charge/spark plugs/wires) and had them parked on the street about 15 minutes before school let out (theres a stupid school RIGHT across the street from me and the parents are complete idiots when it comes to parking!). A cop came up and said he received complaints and I just told him the truth. He asked if any of the cars were non-op and I told him no and he said that's all he needed to know, and told me to have a nice day!
I know exactly whqat you mean. I lost my job back in december and was doin ok with side work. I went back to work full time at a diferent shop and now it seems the side work has dropped off a bit but when i was off i got alot done. nice thing about bikes though, they fit in the garage and i can work on them with the door closed. Thanks for the info. i guess I`ll ust keep doing what I`m doing till i hit the lottery.
 
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