Guidance on Business Structure or Ownership Changes

Businesses or individuals that receive compensation for servicing, repairing, altering, or diagnosing malfunctions of motor vehicles must be registered with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) as an automotive repair dealer (ARD), pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 9880.1. Any time there is a change to an ARD’s business structure, BAR must be notified and appropriate license/registration steps taken. Following is information to guide ARDs planning to make changes to their business.

Change of Business Name, Address, or Corporate Officers or Directors

ARDs must report any changes to its business name, address, or corporate officers to BAR within 14 days of the change. To report such a change, complete a Change of Name/Address/Corporate Officers or Directors form. Mobile ARDs must use this form to report a change of motor vehicle license plate number.

Please note, when submitting a Change of Name/Address/Corporate Officers or Directors form, the original ARD registration and associated licenses must be attached. Post photocopies of the original registration/license(s) in the shop until the new registration/license(s) are received.

Change of Business Type

For changes to the primary and secondary business type (e.g., general repair, auto body, air conditioning, transmission repair, etc.) listed on the ARD registration, ARDs must submit a Change of Name/Address/Corporate Officers or Directors form. Because the business type information is connected to the service categories displayed on BAR’s Auto Shop Locator, ARDs are encouraged to review and update their business types when renewing their ARD licenses and any time there is a change to the services they offer.

Changes in station services (Smog Check, lamp, and brake) require a new station application. For example, if a station owner wants to change their business from a Smog Check test-only station to a Smog Check test-and-repair station, the owner must submit a new station license application and coordinate with BAR to schedule a station inspection to verify the station has the appropriate equipment, tools, and approved work area. BAR’s Licensing Program will work with business owners to ensure a smooth transition from one station type to another with little or no downtime.

Change of Ownership

An ownership change consists of any change in legal ownership of a business, including the purchase of an existing business, addition or deletion of a partner, the transfer of any ownership interest between parties (including family members), change of the business entity by incorporation of the business, or any other change in the corporate status that requires a new corporate number as issued by the Secretary of State.

Registrations/licenses are not transferable to new owners. When a change of ownership takes place, the new owner must submit a new ARD application and, if relevant, new station application(s). To minimize operational downtime, owners are encouraged to apply for a new ARD registration and submit license applications as soon as ownership transfer transactions begin. BAR’s Licensing Program will work with the new ownership to ensure timely registration and licensure of the business.

As a reminder, when submitting applications or forms for BAR licensure, carefully review the instructions, fill the form out entirely, and provide all requested documentation. Applicants are also encouraged to respond promptly to follow-up letters from BAR regarding any application deficiencies.

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