This is pretty much spot on. My local shop is charging me $55 plus what ever work is needed to cert.
As an aside, if you have done any mods to the rear fender, lights windscreen etc. (basically anything that needs a DOT stamp), you could be in for a bit of a payout even if your bike is tip-top everywhere else. I am going through the selling process right now myself, and I am lucky that I kept most of the stock crap that I replaced. I am still going to have to buy a new rear fender and rear stock lights.
If you KNOW about bikes and just want the paper, bring it to the shittiest little garage you can find and ask them to certify. I'd be surprised if they even look at it, but if they do they'll look for bald tires and if the chain is on the ground. Other than that they don't know shit about bikes. You get your certification in 10 minuntes, and everyone is happy.
if you don't know about bikes bring it to a good mechanic so they can really check it out. They know what to look for. Down side is they might nail you for petty things that arn't really a safety issue (like a cut fender).
I hear ya man. I am sure there are more 'efficient' ways to get a bike certified. Although, I know my bike will cert with very little other work (if any), so it won't be too bad.
In a nut shell, I am too lazy to find a shop that can *optimize* the situation for me. I am bogged down with midterms at school and it is just easier to drop the bike off at the place that I won't have to worry about it. I'll just be glad when the process is over. The whole thing is a giant pain in the ass. Which is strange, because when I am in the position of buying a bike, I am giddish like a school girl with anticipation, knowing full well I am going to be out of pocket a big chunk of change. Maybe it's becuase I know I am being banished to the land of the bikeless for at least a year. :shrug
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