Auto repair shop owners must meet strict requirements and obtain a number of licenses and permits before they can open their doors to the public. Auto shop owners must implement policies for dealing with hazardous materials, spillage procedures and safety measures; post approved signage; and maintain log books for all work completed. Requirements vary by state; the following is a general guideline.

Things You Will Need
  • Sales tax permit

  • Federal tax ID

  • Safety equipment

  • Estimate system

  • Certificate of occupancy

  • Signage

Establish a business entity, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company. If operating as a partnership or individual, you may be required to file a “Doing Business As” certificate with your county clerk. Then obtain a sales tax permit and federal tax ID.

Find a location for your car repair shop that is in compliance with local zoning regulations. Then purchase fire insurance, workers’ compensation insurance and liability insurance.

Contact the necessary authorities to obtain additional permits, such as your local department of environmental protection to learn your responsibilities for managing waste and hazardous materials and your licensing department. Depending on the type of work you will do and the materials you will house or sell or whether you will have vending machines on your property, you may need to obtain additional licenses. Your licensing department can guide you.

Get your auto body shop ready for inspection, and contact your building department to have it inspected. Have the required equipment, safety tools, literature on how you will estimate the cost of repairs, log books and safety policies in place prior to inspection.

Make copies of the required paperwork that must be included with your application, and take photographs of your shop, if necessary. You may need to include copies of your zoning certificate, proof of inspection and compliance to regulations, driver’s licenses for all owners or managing members, sales tax permit, proof of insurance, certificate of occupancy and proof of your business location. Submit to fingerprinting, if necessary.

Submit your application, copies of business information and the application fee.

Wait up to eight weeks for approval for your automotive repair shop permit.