Our Creative Friends

Hey all. Long time no update on the site. Sorry, we’ve been super busy and I guess that’s a good thing. The shop is still running along nicely as we continue to do upgrades and make some changes around the place.

We wanted to share with you a special website that our friend just got going – his name is DJ and he asked if we would share with all our customers, friends and family his new project he just started. It’s called Digit List and he is going to be reviewing some of the top products in the online space. He’s really into things like photography, technology and a bunch of other types of tech, so I’d bet he has some good stuff coming out that deals with that.

Be sure to check out his personal pages on social media as well since he will be releasing some very special guides to anybody who follows him on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and a few others that he has signed up for. The guy is super talented and has a knack for reviewing great products, putting together guides and shooting them out to the interwebs so that others can benefit and make informative buying decisions.

The funny thing is that he actually used to work here at SZAB. For a time, he handled some of our websites and even had a small roll in the photography around the shop. Great guy, easy to get along with and is super talented. When he reached out to us we knew that we had to give him a quick shout out and let you all know. If you’ve got any questions or want to know how to get in contact with him directly, feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact us via our contact page.

We’ve got some really cool updates coming your way, so if you hang tight while we get them ready you’re going to be quite surprised. We may even feature some more of our “go-getter” friends and let them attract some more visitors to their new web sites. I have a lot of friends who blow me away with their creativity and how they approach things.

Anyways, if you want to check out DJ and what he has to offer, head over to DigitList.com and start searching around, or you can check out a video he just released right here:

Thanks and we’ll update you guys again very soon!

The SZAB Team

Quick Shout Out!

Hey everyone,

I know it has been a while as we’ve been busy over here smoggin’ cars like crazy, yo. But we wanted to just hop on and give a quick shout out to Warren from Modesto Roof Repair. They did a killer job on some shingles that were on our roof and kinda’ falling apart. Not only were they quick to answer the phone, but they were able to come out the next day, hop on the roof and get the shop fixed up for us. Definitely a great service, professionalism and the team that came out was very personable and easy to work with! If you’re lookin’ for any roof repair in the Modesto CA area, then don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call them here:


(209) 596-5562

Thanks again guys!

– SZAB Smog Team

Towing Company Start-Up

Hey everyone! So, my buddy has had a towing company for quite a long time now and wanted to contribute an article to those who may be reading and thinking of getting into business for themselves – maybe even a starting a tow company specifically! Hope you guys enjoy:

My name’s Jason Pryer and I’ve run a local towing service for over 15 years now and I just wanted to give back by sharing a little bit of information with all of you…

Owning your own business can be very rewarding both financially and personally. Just to see something that you thought of grow from the beginning stages and develop into something successful and helpful to the community and be profitable is great. But on the other side of the coin you could put your life savings into something that sounds almost fool proof, and then loose it all. In this article I will help you explore the costs on how to start a towing company.

You will be challenged to think of things you have probably never thought of. Some things that we will explore are:

  • How do I choose a good name?
  • What location for the business
  • What type of expenses are involved?
  • What about my competition?
  • What business losses should I expect?
  • Who will my customer be?

As you go through this article start a list of things you will need and the estimated cost associated with each item. I like to think of this like getting into the car and heading out to see some great, scenic spot you heard about. The likelihood of getting where want in a pleasant way will be much better, much cheaper, and faster if you do some research and planning.

Before we get into all the details about how to start a towing company I want to ask you to think about why you want to do this. If your motivation is that you know someone who made the big bucks in towing, you might want to think again. You should be desiring to help people, or you just really love big trucks, or something more like that, because you will need a love for what you’re doing to motivate you when the tough financial times come.

To start with you are going to need to decide two important things. What area will I start my business in and service, and what type of towing will I specialize in. When you have determined these two things then you can start developing a list of expenses. You may want to start in the area you currently work in due to people you already know, or you may want to be in an area by where you live. That’s OK but you still need to think like a business man and do some research to see if this is a good idea. The same thing applies toward the type of towing you will specialize in. You will need to look at your competition and see if they are meeting the customer’s needs well in the area you want to service, and for the type of towing service you want to do. Is there slow response, rude employees, long on hold time, late arrivals, dirty appearance of equipment and personnel? This is what you want to find. If price is your only angle, what will you do if the competition simply lowers his price until you run out of money? If you don’t find these problems with your competitors think seriously about changing your location or type of towing until you can bring some relief to ailing customers.

Next you will need to choose a name. Try something different so people will remember you. Then check into what business entity would be best for you. You could be a corporation, LLC, partnership, or a sole proprietorship. Each has its benefits and drawbacks as well as costs associated with each. Most start ups will be a sole proprietor, especially one man shops, just know that in this form you and your personal property can be at greater risk in a lawsuit.

Now that you know where you will start and what your specialty will be you need to think about who you want for a customer and who you don’t. Will you work for Police, motor clubs, insurance companies, private parties, or repair shops? It is wise to think about what type of customer you may not want as well. The reasons you may not want a certain type of customer is the work is low profit, risky, slow paying, or inconvenient. Once you have determined who you would like for a customer choose how to the best reach them. The normal methods are yellow pages, internet ads, truck signage, cards, soliciting, and promo’s. Some common promos are t-shirts, ball caps, pens, coffee mugs, and similar items.

Local laws are an important thing to check into as well. It is bad for business to have overlooked some agency requirement and be labeled a bootleg or illegal operation. So find out what licenses, permits, and agency fees will be needed. In all towing companies are required to have a number, and a motor carrier permit, and if you have any employees you will need workers comp insurance. Some cities are very picky about parking a commercial vehicle in a residential area or running a business out of your home, so check before you start.

Business losses are something to definitely factor in. All businesses suffer losses from non payment, bad checks, employee theft, outsider theft, vehicle damage claims, personal injury claims, and other. There will also be times you can’t work due to the flu, or a truck break down, or you’re in a training seminar or at a wedding. These things need to be figured in either by subtracting from revenue or adding an expense for them.


Reminder: Smog Check Week!


Our annual SMOG CHECK WEEK is coming up in May! Bring your family, friends and everyone you know down to the shop and enjoy some good BBQ as we talk about some of the biggest problems we see in the smog industry around our area. We are determined at continuing to be the best smog shop around the Central Valley, so we’d love to see you come down and spend some time with us!

*Remember, SMOG CHECK WEEK is happening on Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the week of May 11th, 2016. 

The Smog Check Process: A Complete Video Walk-Through

We’ve had a lot of customers asking us about how the smog process works, so instead of recording and editing a YouTube video ourselves on the process, we found one already out there that we thought was pretty killer.

Watch the video below and then let us know if you have anymore questions or want to come in and have your own vehicle looked at and smogged!

Remember, for a limited time you can use the phrase “Smog Checks Rock” when checking out at our facility and we’ll give you $25 off! 

Have any other questions? Leave a comment and let us know!

Tree Cleanup Around The Shop

I can’t even begin to tell you guys how messy it was around the shop from all these palm trees. We just had our whole area landscaped, but the trees were looking a little shaggy. We found a company who offers tree service in Modesto Ca and they were able to help us out by cleaning everything up! All I had to do was show them the photo below (what I wanted) and they made it happen:

palm tree trimming before and after

It looks amazing now that we’ve got those palm trees all pruned. We had a few small trees around the smog shop that were blocking part of the garage, so we had them take out those as well.

The smog shop is finally coming along and looking the way I intended it to look. We had a palm tree that looked as if it was dying and we were worried about it falling over and hitting the shop, so we used them to remove it. From pruning to palm tree removal to then grinding the stump down and hauling it away – they handled it all!

Thanks to Modesto Tree Services for helping us out on this project and we look forward to doing business with them again the next time our trees need a little pruning.

Sorry for the short post today, but the shop has been busy and I haven’t had much time to hop on and share the progress with you all. More exciting news is coming soon as we keep overhauling the SZAB Smog Shop!

Stay tuned for more info soon!

New Facility And Old Pest Problems

So over at SZAB Smog we had some problems going on that we’ve finally fixed. While we just moved into our new facility (new to us, anyway), it looks like the pest problems that existed with the business before never were taken care of! I’m talking ants, spiders and roaches all over the dang place! Yikes!

So what did we do? Well, we needed to find some type of pest control in Modesto CA and have them work with us on how best to get rid of all these little guys! And oh boy was that a job!

Luckily we found a company called DR Pest Control (also known as Modesto Pest Control) who we were able to come in and totally eliminate the problem. Truly, a god-send from above! These guys came in and rocked it because I have not seen an ant, spider or any other kind of bug in the garage or office for a few weeks now. And if you saw how many were running around before, you’d know that is HUGE for us!

Their process was simple and straight to the point. We didn’t have to figure out all the pest control jargon to know what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. They laid it all out in simple terms, showed us what they were going to use and then went about doing the job right away!

Again, we can’t say enough about the local businesses operating in the area. It’s so refreshing to see companies like this who know how to handle the job. We did call a pest control company before (at our old facility) and they were a nightmare to work with, so you can imagine the relief I had when DR Pest Control came and pretty much eliminated the problem with ease!

Thanks again guys! And to everyone reading – get READY! We have some updates coming around the property that are going to give it a whole new look.

My next post I’ll be telling you guys about the tree service company who came out to get some of the trees around our smog shop under control. If any of you have been around the smog shop lately then you know how ridiculous and out of control those palm trees were getting!

Until next time! Kent from SZAB..out!

Thanks To An Awesome Moving Company, We Have Moved!

location map

Okay guys – we’ve finished moving thanks to some awesome Modesto movers in the area! In case you are wondering, you saw in our last post that we mentioned one of our older locations got a complete landscaping re-vamp.

Well, we’ve officially moved another (yes, another) location to another area in Modesto. While it’s not far from where it was, it’s going to let us service more and more vehicles around the area. Instead of being confined to a small shop, we’re actually renting out two adjacent shops and going full speed ahead!

Thanks again to the guys over at Pro Movers Modesto for making our move seamless and quick. It’s so awesome to have relationships with other local businesses in the area who make our jobs super easy. If any of you are out there looking for moving companies in Modesto (or anywhere – these guys will do it all) then be sure to contact them and let them know the guys over at SZAB Smog sent ya’!

The cool thing is that they don’t just offer residential moving services, but are quite experienced in moving businesses and all their materials anywhere they need to go! That was one of the main issues we were finding when contacting a lot of these moving companies – they wanted to do the job, but lacked the experience, motivation and know-how to get it done properly, despite even being BBB accredited (linked you guys in case you’re not sure what the BBB is!) . Thankfully we found some amazing movers and got the job done quickly!

Be sure to check us out in our new location on the east side! We look forward to doing business with all of you very soon!

Here’s a quick video by Pro Movers Modesto…remember to give them a call today and tell them Kent from SZAB sent ya! 


Revamped Landscaping Around the New Shop

We just want to give a shout out to Aguiar’s Landscaping for one of the best landscaping jobs around our facility we have ever seen! These guys are really the best landscaping Modesto CA has around the area! Give them a call and tell them SZAB Smog sent you because they did an absolutely killer job! Thanks again to Dennis and his crew. We’ve already had many customers comment on how amazing the landscaping looks around the shop!

A little about the Aguiar’s Landscaping company:

“Are you looking for the top Modesto landscaping company? Aguiar’s Landscaping has been in the business for over 21 years and prides itself on providing an exceptional and high class services to their customers. Whether you’re away for the holidays or have a busy work schedule, you can rest assured knowing your home or business is looking its’ best.”

How Does The Smog Process Work?

The Modesto Smog Program & Process


The Program

California requires that any vehicle produced after 1976 have a mandatory smog check done every 2 years. The main goal of the program is to ensure that any vehicle that is not passing with satisfactory standards gets repaired in order to reduce the impact of excessive emissions on the environment. The exception to this law is any vehicle which is considered hybrid, electric, or diesel and manufactured before 1998. Gas powered vehicles, trailers and motorcycles 1975 or older are also exempt. Though these vehicles may be exempt, individuals who own these vehicles are still required to make sure their emissions systems are always functioning properly.

The Process

DMV will send a renewal notice and inside it will explain whether a smog check is necessary. If a smog check is required, the vehicle’s owner must satisfy the request within a 90 day time frame. Failure to do so will result in the vehicle’s registration not being able to be renewed. If the requested vehicle fails the smog check and the required repairs are more than the value of the vehicle, the state may buy back the vehicle and have it scrapped.

What Is A Star Certified Smog Station?

We hold ourselves to a higher standard, and with increasing California and Modesto smog check requirements – we choose to be certified by a program that the Bureau of Automotive Repair put into place in 2013. As a Star Station, we are held to a high standard of performance that the BAR has set for our facility.