1. Turtlebone

    Turtlebone Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
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    Location:
    San Diego
    I've been living in apartments for the last three years in San Diego with all of my tools in storage about an hour and a half away with nowhere to work on my car, truck, or bike. I served five years in the U.S. Army as an Airborne Military Policeman. During that time I was single, living on post, and able to use the on-post Auto Hobby Shop to work on my stuff. It was awesome. Now that I'm back in the real world, there just isn't a place like this available to me within a reasonable distance. I'm sure I'm not the only one in my area that wants to do my own work on my vehicles to save a buck, but lives in a place that won't allow it or simply doesn't have the space for it plus tools.

    I want to open up a full-service shop that sells parts, and rents out tools and work bays. Please have a look... CLICK HERE!!

    Does anybody have any suggestions as to what type of products, specialty tools, or services should be offered at a DIY Garage like this? Obviously I want it to be attractive to bike, car, and truck enthusiasts alike. I would employ a full-time master mechanic who could offer classes on basics of welding, metal fab, service and maintenance stuff, etc. What kinds of things would you like to see at a DIY Garage like this?

    Any and all input/discussion would be appreciated!
    #1
  2. HoosierTrailmaster

    HoosierTrailmaster Just an Old Grizzly

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    Location:
    Under the Tucson Sun
    I know this idea isn't NEW NEW, but it is still a great idea. Here in Tucson a place that specializes in Jeeps and ADV bikes would do well, I think.
    #2
  3. Turtlebone

    Turtlebone Adventurer

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    Yeah, I'm actually surprised there isn't already an abundance of these shops around. You should start one up, too :D
    #3
  4. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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    What's it like pulling over airplanes and helicopters? Or we're you like the airborne highway patrol guy flying the planes looking for speeders in afghan or Iraq?
    Seems like a lot of liability to open a shop where anyone who doesn't normally work on their own stuff can chop their fingers off or drop a car on their head. I bet insurance would be crazy high, especially in California. It's a good idea, but the red tape....... Maybe a motorcycle club or car club has places like that for members to work on their things. Ever watch the devils ride? They had a shop with a bar!! But it wasn't run like a business.
    Also, you can look at business parks with a garage and loft style living. Some are artsy fartsy, but worth looking at.
    #4
  5. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

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    theres a place in SF that does this. its all moto, and i have heard great things. you might contact them and see what advice they have is.

    i think its a great idea. but i know from experience, that running a shop there are TONS of red tape and permits and bullshit, which is why i no longer run a shop.
    #5
  6. Jeff aka BOLT

    Jeff aka BOLT Prefer Saturdays

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    Sounds like a big fat lawsuit waiting to happen to me.

    It's hard enough to keep out of hot water when you lock clients OUT of the garage. Now they will be under their cars on your property... using your tools... under the guidence of your master tech. Seems they can screw you from EVERY angle when the jack slips and their leg gets cut off.

    Sounds like a fun idea... just make sure you spend some time with a good lawyer to review your business plan before investing. CYA !
    #6
  7. Turtlebone

    Turtlebone Adventurer

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    Hahaha. :p

    Yeah, the liability issue is huge, that's the main concern. Thanks for the tips! I'm trying to find as many shops that are already doing this to see what they do to get around the issues. There are handfuls of them out there, just few and far between.
    #7
  8. sam_wilson

    sam_wilson Adventurer

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    May 26, 2012
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    19
    Leave it to the resident know it all to offer up discouraging words. Go with it,sounds like a great idea,never mind what tubby said :D
    #8
  9. soldierguy

    soldierguy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
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    Location:
    California Central Coast
    Sounds like a good idea to me. I used the auto craft shops on lots of different posts, and it was great having all that stuff available.

    I think the key is doing what those places do: they make you take a test before you can ever use the place, and the user signs a waiver. The test covered use of certain pieces of equipment, safety, and rules of the facility, if I remember correctly. The waiver protected the shop from liability.

    But that was on a military base, where everyone has free health care and liability is less of a concern.
    #9
  10. Ol Man

    Ol Man Been here awhile

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    Sep 17, 2010
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    Location:
    Apple Valley, Calif
    I have noticed this place driving through St George, Utah recently. Know nothing else, except looked it up:

    http://www.rentandrepairllc.com/

    You might want to contact them and see what info they can give you. Looks like it is an old car lot.
    #10
  11. GoNOW

    GoNOW Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
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    1,604
    Something like a DIY shop do exist. They are called Hacker Spaces. Most don't deal directly with automotive work or have the specially tools, but some have garages and will let you wrench on anything.
    #11
  12. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Lexington, IL
    I think it's a great idea and would go over well here. Ill sign up to be a franchise when you work out the bugs. :)

    Just helping friends out one of the issues you'll have is etiquette whey bubba has just stripped the threads on his oil pan . . . What do you do with his 1979 power wagon to get it off the lift and freed up? ;). (Guess you'll want to carry oversized self tapping drain plus. :) )

    Good luck!!
    #12
  13. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    These DIY shops used to be really popular in the 70s and 80s. Especially on military bases. But most/all of them closed down. Before I would undertake a business venture like this, I would do my research and really understand why they went away. I've been told insurance became outrageous and cost prohibitive. But I don't know that for a fact. Unfortunately, nowadays I could see how an insurance company could be leery of insuring a company that loans lifts, power tools and welders to the untrained general public.

    You also might want to look into non-profit club versus a for profit corporation because there might be better options. See if you can get ahold of the guys at Spannerland near NYC, they have been having success for years. I think they are more club based though. Anyway, one of the founders of Spannerland, Mr. Cosentino is an inmate on this site. Good luck!
    -JW

    PS. I'd prefer a machine shop more than a garage. If I had metal lathe, mill or a table plasma cutter I could upload my Pro/E drawings to that and have brackets made up for my bike projects! That would be huge!

    PPS. Check out The Crucible in Oakland, CA. A fellow inmate turned me on to that place. Really cool machine shop and metal art fabrication facility. They have metal fabrication tools available for use by student members.
    #13
  14. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT wannabe

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
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    Location:
    knockin round the rim, AZ
    this place is local to me, my buddy rented a spot once for the two post lift. it was a flat $20 per hr and they had all the basic tools, and some specialty tools.

    i dont know the particulars, but they used to have three locations, now only one.

    check out the site, might glean some info.
    http://www.ufixitautomotive.com/
    #14
  15. Turtlebone

    Turtlebone Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Diego
    Ooooh, I like this idea a lot, too. Would HAVE to incorporate some machining in there, too. Thanks for that.

    Thanks everyone for all of the suggestions and insight. A lot of things to consider.
    #15
  16. CafeRacer

    CafeRacer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
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    266
    Location:
    City of Angels
    Agreed that this idea is a good one but not an original one.

    Spannerland in New York started as several friends who needed space for their collections. It's not public. Hell, the location is a semi-secret.

    Ryders Alley is maybe closer but that's a monthly garage that offers a kind of assistance to guys in Manhattan who like to ride. It makes bike life easier in the city thus creating its own customers.

    What you're describing is different. There was a place called, "Privateer's Garage" in San Diego that didn't last long. You might find out what happened there. You might also talk to the Bring A Trailer guys in SF.

    I suspect the issues that have closed the previous attempts at this are the obvious ones: How do you stop people from hurting themselves? How do you police the polices of the place without making people feel unwelcome? How to you make sure the tools are taken care of? Who cleans up? Do you interview someone before they work or do you let a squid on his new Gixer try to use a pneumatic tire changer? What's the plan when someone really fucks up their bike?

    Its nice to think that people will behave in a garage the way we'd like them too but that's not always the case.

    Then you need to think about the actual business model: Do you charge hourly? Monthly? How much? Will it be enough to cover your insurance (which will be a ton)? Can you float the months when no one is working on their bikes or do you need steady, monthly income?

    Since you're now asking people for money, you might want to tell them what they're getting in exchange. If I send you $100, will I get 4 hours free in the shop when it opens? If I give you $1,000, am I a part owner? That's missing from your pitch. Also, what happens if you can't find a space? Where did the $200,000 number come from? It is enough to run the place for 1 year? 2?

    As I said, these are all the issues that have meant that the people who came before you decided there were better and easier ways to make a living. If this is your dream, go for it.

    Good Luck.
    #16
  17. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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    its easier to buy a house in a shitty neighborhood and use the garage there....
    #17
  18. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    Any news from the OP on this?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk 4
    #18