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Is there a significant enough need for a service like this?

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Total votes : 26

Postby Greg M » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:27 pm

There's a similar shop opening soon in Portland, Oregon. Apparently there's also another down in the Bay Area.


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Postby caseydog » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:49 pm

Greg M wrote:There's a similar shop opening soon in Portland, Oregon. Apparently there's also another down in the Bay Area.



That one is membership based. That's a different twist. :thinking:

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Postby starleen2 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:06 pm

Sign inside said new business - Not responsible for lost thumbs :lol:
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Postby Wimperdink » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:39 am

You have many good points CD... I've a lil taste of it myself. I was self employed for some years. I could have kept it up but, I was at a turning point in how things were going. I chose to go back to a normal job even though the pay cut was huge. Now the responsibilities and stress levels at work have more than tripled, I'm thinking I'd like to go back to work for myself again. I just don't want to operate anything retail. I would much prefer to offer a service so that I have less tax paperwork to deal with. Sub contracting is even better.
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Postby Dixie Flyer » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:03 am

:applause: I definitely think you're onto something.

Having run and owned a tool rental company for years. I think the insurance for your idea would be approximately the same. I would contact some local tool rental companies and quiz them on their insurance, liabilities etc.

I had to educate just about every person who walked through the door on the uses and safety of the equipment they were renting. People don't sometimes understand things unless you give them a short class on stuff. I rented chainsaws, wood chippers, skid steer loaders etc. you have to be able to help people that are going to be using your tools.

It would almost be as if you'd have to have some sort of "Shop Foreman" available on the premises the entire time. You want to do everything in your power to CYA.

I would start with just one type of trade initially. Maybe the one you're most comfortable with and start there. I believe you'll have to charge by "Space & Time".

2 Hours = x amount
Half a day = x amount
All day (8 hours) = x amount

and so forth. If say you start with automotive, you'll get a lot of DIY oil changers and such. Then you may want to just have an "Hour only" bay or something.

Anyway, just some more stuff for you to think about.

You have my :thumbsup: .
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Postby cokebottle10 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:04 pm

Ever since I left the army (20 years ago) I have wanted to do this. I learned alot at the craft shops on post. I live in Asheville NC so I'm close to you. When I asked myself what I would pay to use this type of facility and then worked out how many customers it would take to pay for the up keep. I would not make any money.

A few things that may help.

Sell auto parts on site. You can not compete with Auto Zone or Advance on price but if they can install it in your facility for a small fee then they will buy from you. This will anable you to compete with them.

Hire retired auto mechanics. This place would be a nice place for a retiree to work part time. He would not have to do the work just give advice and keep watch on the place.

Sell food, tools, parts, stoarge or anything else that you can at this place. Don't think of making money off the shop think of the shop as the draw to sell things. That is were you can make your money.

I would still love to do this.
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Postby Cactus » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:20 am


When I was in the Air Force, we had garages that you could work on your cars. I used one rebuilding a 67 Mustang. It was great! They had retired mechanics on duty yo rent the stalls and had a fully stocked "tool bin" You would rent the stall and then they would give you metal tags to check out tools with. There was a pait booth also. I think it's great idea!!
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Postby S. Heisley » Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:12 pm

Some leisure communities have this sort of thing for the home/unit owners.
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Postby Mini Renegade » Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:12 pm

I do like the idea and it does work. A classic car club over here started doing it in the 80`s with a rented lock up where a single garage sized plot could be rented for short periods of time. It must have worked because they have a huge warehouse now with spray booths and various ramps, that is bought and paid for.

I can`t help but think of the scenes from the film Christine!

My local Mini club started doing something similar last year with each of 20 bays costing £20 a week but you need your own tools etc. I would have subscribed but the unit is 30 miles away.
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Postby hugh » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:38 pm

I work in the tool rental of a nearby home depot. We show customers how to start and operate the tools they rent. They have to sign the rental agreement in 3 places, one initial telling them if the tool is not returned clean they are charged a cleaning fee ranging from $25 to $100. Another if they accept the damage protection which is 10% of the rental and then sign the contract which has all the usual disclaimers on saying the company is not liable, etc. Then they must also sign the tag that was on the tool which to prove we instructed them on the safe usage, and I have to sign that one too. That gets stapled to the contract. With all that you still need insurance and of course Home Depot has deep pockets. A little aside to this also, I think its a good idea, you can make it work but you will have to live it to make it happen, every one I know with their own successful business devoted a lot of time and effort into it.
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Postby Galen » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:11 pm

I use to own a massage therapy business with therapists employees, a store of supplies, and classes. And it really helps a business to have multiple streams of business. Give your customers a chance to spend more money with you, and make their lives easier while doing it.

Along that vein, it seems like you could easily expand into paid for classes on a variety of basics, from changing oil to basic welding.

Another possible way to expand a business like that is to have basic supplies available. A range of fasteners, basic steel and aluminum supplies, maybe plywood, glue, epoxy, etc. You could charge more for these things than the box stores just because it is a convenience.

And you could definitely sell the expendables for the tools. Welding rod, sanding disks and paper, blades...

And of course you would sell the required safety equipment, gloves, eye protection, etc.

How about education materials. Do it yourself guides. Books on a variety of projects, from welding to changing brake pads, to building your own bicycle.

You could have a couple of experts on hand to give advice on how to do things. And you could charge hourly rates to do the parts of projects that your customers don't feel like they can tackle.

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Thoughts on workshop

Postby Alfred » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:27 pm

I think this is an awesome idea, and would have been a great answer to my dilemma, when I started my build.

I've never built anything. Therefore, when I started, I had no tools.

I asked some acquaintances at work and other places about coming over to their places and using their tools, but there were scheduling issues, and folks are possessive and guarded of their tools (don't fault them for that, it is understandable). Some folks offered, but I couldn't get it to work on a regular basis.

I posted on Craigslist, if anyone had a woodshop they would let me access for consideration of a small fee, but no takers.

Then I discovered the City of Asheville, NC has a fully equipped woodshop at their Kenilworth Community Center, that I could use for $2 a visit. Has all the big tools you could want, and a nice retired fellow for guidance. This was great because they had all the tools and got me started. Plus I got more done when I went to a dedicated "building" place. Everybody busy, no distractions or interruptions, like at home. Plus the other woodworkers gave me ideas and guidance.

In the meantime, I started buying tools as I built, from Harbor Freight, Home Depot, etc. So I could work at home. Now, I rarely go to the city woodshop anymore.

The woodshop was a tremendous resource, but there were problems I encountered:

1) Most of the folks there were building small things, birdhouses, doll houses, book shelves, clocks, stuff like that. I was building something big and cumbersome.

2) There really wasn't enough room for me to build with 5x5 Baltic Birch, or 5x10 walls, although I managed somehow, for awhile. It was difficult navigating around the work benches and other persons' work areas.

3) The shop was in the basement of the community center, so I had to carry everything up and down a flight of stairs or a long double-back ramp outside. As the build got bigger/heavier, this was a problem. I like to killed myself carrying the four 5x5 panels up and down the ramp (They wouldn't fit on the ramp with the handtruck and had to be carried).

4) The woodshop was only open on Wed/Thur, so it was not available sometimes when I wanted to work on the TD.

5) If I brought the trailer, parking, getting in/out was a problem.

I think a workshop dedicated to teardrop building, would address most of those barriers. I would have used it, if it were available.

I am thinking about going back to the Asheville woodshop, when I start working on the TD doors, or the inside TD decorative stuff. I really liked working with the other folks there, talking about the project, looking at what they were building, etc. Good folks.

Al in Asheville :thumbsup:
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