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BrandonMski 11-02-2012 08:58 AM

Do it yourself auto shop. Opinions?
Okay, so my long term goal is to open my own mechanic shop. I don't want to be like the standard auto shop where you drop your vehicle off and pick it up when it's done. I want to open a large shop (20+ stall) and provide the space, tools, equipment, and knowledge to help the customer complete his/her task. I'd charge for the stall space at an hourly rate and for tool rentals (probably a 5 tool option and an unlimited tool option) I've seen a working version of what I want to do and it runs smoothly. (If you are in the military, I am referring to the Auto Hobby Shop)

What would you be willing to pay hourly and for tool rentals (you can bring your own tools)?

Thoughts, opinions, and even criticism is welcome.

RamTech 11-02-2012 09:15 AM

While I think this is a great idea, you have to consider some liability issues with untrained people working in a shop environment (i.e. with lifts, presses, and other special tools). This obviously isn't as much of an issue with the military since they don't have to pay for insurance on their shops and require training before being allowed to use shop equipment. I just wonder if there is an insurance company that would cover such a shop and what would the rates be?

Gantman 11-02-2012 09:21 AM

I think it's a great idea to bring to the civilian side of life BrandonMski! I know I enjoyed using the DIY Auto Shop at any base I was stationed at and understood the rules and regs which is the most important factor in this business adventure. Too many sue happy people out there are the ones I'd be worried about if cuts, bruises, and or injuries were to most likely occur. Full release of liability forms are required like the ones we signed before handing our drivers license over for a lift and required tools for usage. Lifts were 10 an hour and rental stalls with no lifts were 10 bucks a day when I was in which helped when rebuilding a small block 350 in a Stingray. Man those were the days brother! I can still see the whole area in my head man! A very well kept up piece of property. There was a wash rack area, a 20 hydraulic lift garage area, 30 covered stalls that surrounded the outside of the garage area for inoperative vehicle storage or floor jack type services, and even a full on paint booth! It would work most definitely but it just takes a lot of understanding in the liability aspect and making sure all equipment is safe to work on and around to cover your butt if you know what I mean. :smileup:

bighemi04 11-02-2012 09:54 AM

I had this identical idea about 5 years ago. Never really looked into. I also imagined insurance would be pretty high. I also agree with getting sued, but I guess it is an inherent risk of doing business these days. I think putting an age limit on customers might help insurance costs. I love the idea, I guess great minds think alike.

Arth 11-02-2012 09:57 AM

I love the idea and it does seem to flow very well here on base. I guess it mainly flows here because everyone is accountable and they have a tech for every stall.

Would love to see something like this in the civilian world just because I do make use of the hobby shop very often.

CajunDodge 11-02-2012 10:15 AM

I honestly like the idea but also see the liability side, too, but it's great for those who either don't have much in the way of tools or space to do their own work and I know I would take advantage should such a shop open! Definitely agree with the age limit, though.

- Cajun

BrandonMski 11-02-2012 10:28 AM

Thank you everyone for your thoughts! I'm glad this is (so far at least) deemed a good idea. The liability issues I have given some thought on. I would hate to put an age limit on this because, just as most of you, I enjoyed working on cars at a young age (hell I'm still young lol). But that may be an decision I have to make. Even though this is thinking a little far ahead, I've also given some thought on staff. Any ideas? The current plan is to start with a strictly mechanic shop and then expand with a body shop. I would also like to set it up so I can order parts for customers and pass on the savings. I'm not in it to be rich. So long as I can support my family I will be a happy man.

RamTech 11-02-2012 11:50 AM

I don't think there is a veteran on this forum that hasn't spent some time in the DIY shop on base/post. You have my best wishes should you undertake this effort.

CdnoilRAM 11-02-2012 12:14 PM

I can tell you that we have one of these shops in my city and they stay busy. They keep 3 techs on the payroll to act as coaches, run some of the equipment, but other than that they just walk around to make sure people aren't abusing equipment or getting into trouble. It's a great place because I live in a condo and while I can do somethings in my parking stall, they seem to really frown upon me pulling the top end apart our dropping the tranny.

99gp 11-02-2012 12:17 PM


Originally Posted by CdnoilRAM (Post 927780)
It's a great place because I live in a condo and while I can do somethings in my parking stall, they seem to really frown upon me pulling the top end apart our dropping the tranny.

That is what I was thinking. Right now I live where we have a garage and barn so i voted for depended on price, but if i lived in an apartment or something it would be a yes for sure.

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