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Old 12-15-2011, 05:26 PM   #1
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Arrow Self Service Garage

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Those lucky enough to live in Kent, Wash., can sidestep the backyard MacGyver session altogether and simply pull into a bay at the Self-Service Garage. The facility not only rents service bays -- with or without posture-saving lifts -- but also maintains a full complement of tools and diagnostic hardware on site to assist do-it-yourselfers in their quest for savings and automotive self-sufficiency. You can bet that if I resided in Kent I'd be all over this place in the colder months -- not to mention anytime I need the aid of a lift.
Seems like an interesting concept.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:41 PM   #2
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I can't even count the number of ways this goes horribly wrong for the owner of that place. I give it 6 months.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Savington View Post
I can't even count the number of ways this goes horribly wrong for the owner of that place. I give it 6 months.
Interesting, why do you say this Sav?

From what I've been told, this is a common thing in Europe. It baffles me how it would work fine there, but not here.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:45 PM   #4
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We have a local place that will allow you to rent a bay. I think it is like $45 for the day or something.

From what I have heard there are liability issues with renting out space.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:53 PM   #5
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Auto hobby shop facilities like this exist on most decent sized military bases. You can check out (rent) tools from the tool room also.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:56 PM   #6
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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Do-It...794294?sk=info

This is a local place that does the same thing. I've never been there, and it may or may have not closed down.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:06 PM   #7
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Interesting, why do you say this Sav?

From what I've been told, this is a common thing in Europe. It baffles me how it would work fine there, but not here.
-lost tools
-cars disabled on racks
-untold liability for improperly applied expert advice
-paying someone to rack the car, or dealing with idiots dropping cars off the racks
-paying someone to clean up the inevitable massive oil/coolant spills
-paying someone to watch the sinks like a hawk, lest some idiot customer tries to pour 6 quarts of 10w30 down one

The article says the place still has experts on call, so from what I can gather you have all of the overhead of a normal repair shop with half the income. Brilliant.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:09 PM   #8
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Seems feasible with 2 caveats. The shop would need:

1. A stone cold waiver of liability policy for death, personal injury, and property damage.
2. A hard and fast non-payment tow policy. IE, all days are paid in advance, car and all personal items are removed and towed at owner's expense within 12 hours.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
-lost tools
-cars disabled on racks
-untold liability for improperly applied expert advice
-paying someone to rack the car, or dealing with idiots dropping cars off the racks
-paying someone to clean up the inevitable massive oil/coolant spills
-paying someone to watch the sinks like a hawk, lest some idiot customer tries to pour 6 quarts of 10w30 down one

The article says the place still has experts on call, so from what I can gather you have all of the overhead of a normal repair shop with half the income. Brilliant.
Sounds like when my friends come over and use my garage/lift at the house. One of them had a car on the lift for 3 months while coming to work on it only 4 hours a week and I still can't find that damn deep socket 14mm. Grrr
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:14 PM   #10
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Tom & Ray, of Car Talk fame, operated a self-service garage in the late 1970s, when "empowerment" was in vogue. It was called the Hacker's Haven.

In Ray's biography, he notes:
So there we were, Monique and I, in Bennington, Vermont, freezing all of our appendages off. At about the same time, Tom became self-unemployed. He was basically a bum, and he spent his days hanging out in Harvard Square drinking coffee. I knew the best way to keep him out of trouble was to get him working, and Mom called me every day, begging me to rescue him. We decided to open Hacker's Haven to save Tommy from a life of vagrancy. This was the time when everyone was working on his own car, so we thought, and our idea was to open a garage where people could do their own work and we'd rent space and tools to them.

We knew our idea was brilliant and thought we'd have wheelbarrows full of money to show for it. Of course, the do-it-yourselfers who came in were such klutzes that we felt sorry for them, and we'd end up working on their cars for $2.50 an hour, which is what they were paying to supposedly do their own work. So we ended up fixing all the cars that came in. I mean, if some poor chump is spending all day trying tochange his spark plugs, you can't help but give him a hand. Consequently, we ended up helping everyone all the time, and we made no money at all.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:19 PM   #11
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DON'T DRIVE LIKE MY BROTHA.










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Old 12-15-2011, 06:19 PM   #12
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There's a place in the Denton Barrio that rents shop space and a lift, I plan to do my next clutch job there.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:21 PM   #13
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One of my buddies wants to open up something like this, but I'm the wet blanket that's trying to talk him out of it, citing all the reasons above - liability being the chief one. It's a nice concept in theory, but if it's open to any dipshit off the street, I can see massive problems developing.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:47 PM   #14
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Proof: http://www.fiygarage.com/home/fiy_garage-home.php

Local fiy to me, I dont know exactly when it closed, but It was open maybe a year? if that. I know it opened around February last year, so somewhere between 4 months and 8 months? I dunno, Point is it failed.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soviet View Post
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Do-It...794294?sk=info

This is a local place that does the same thing. I've never been there, and it may or may have not closed down.
That one went out of business. And it's worth pointing out that the City of Falls Church, Loudoun County and Fairfax County are ranked #1, #2, and #3 in the nation in median income. There are a bunch of car clubs in the area, and people have the money to spend on shops like this if they want. They can be a great resource for the DIY'er, but the fact that one failed in this relatively affluent area suggests that there are flaws with the business model.

A new one opened up not far away from there, SportsCar Shop Inc.
http://sportscarshopinc.com/garageclub.html
I understand they have one or two employees from the one that closed down. Sounds like a nice place and I hope they can stay in business. It's nice to have access to a lift sometimes.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:53 PM   #16
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I also forgot to note, The fiy near me was very in touch with the local car groups. It was wife/husband run and run by one of 3 top time setters for our local autocrosses. They were also very good with the local news to spread information about the place.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:05 PM   #17
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I can imagine it being pretty hard to find insurance for an opperation like that. If you could it would cost big.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:24 PM   #18
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:42 PM   #19
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Explain...
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
That one went out of business. And it's worth pointing out that the City of Falls Church, Loudoun County and Fairfax County are ranked #1, #2, and #3 in the nation in median income. There are a bunch of car clubs in the area, and people have the money to spend on shops like this if they want. They can be a great resource for the DIY'er, but the fact that one failed in this relatively affluent area suggests that there are flaws with the business model.
I would draw the opposite conclusion. My first thought is, any business model is only as good as its operators. I see that with restaurants all the time. After your input on the affluence of the area, I would think a "DIY" place would see less demand than a "full service" type place.
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