Car lift bay for hourly rental


#1

As a frequent auto repair enthusiast, I miss having access to a car lift where I can take my car and work with my own tools. Are there lift bay rentals in the Boston suburbs?

Thank you


#2

Tom and Ray had such a venture many years ago as did many other places in other areas, but I imagine insurance companies of today would run screaming for the hills with their hands over their ears at the merest mention of such an idea.


#3

They’ve mostly been done away with by the lawyers and Insurance Companies.


#4

To make any money, the building owner would have to charge more that most DIYers would be willing to pay…


#5

Apparently Tom & Ray discovered they were spending too much of their time helping customers reassemble their cars - just so they could get the car off the lift and out the door and get the next paying customer in.

The idea was good on paper, but in practice it was far from profitable.


#6

One of those types of places opened up near here about 20 years ago and only lasted 4 or 5 months.

The big issue was that these DIYers would rent a stall thinking they could knock something out pretty quickly and as per the usual when it comes to automotive problems, discovered Murphy’s Law takes hold pretty regularly. True back then and would be even more true now due to the vastly increased complexity of all cars.

Throw in their lack of expertise on top of this and they would often spend more on stall rent than they would if they had just paid someone to do the repair in the first place.


#7

Had NOTHING to do with Lawyers or the Insurance companies.

Has EVERYTHING to do with no PROFIT. The cost of renting a bay would be almost as expensive as someone having a mechanic doing the work for them. If I had a place like that with lets say 10 bays (which would be HUGE). In order for me to cover my expenses and make a profit (lets say 50k/yr)…I’d have to have every single bay rented nearly 90% of the time at about $50/hr.


#8

And the reason you would have to charge $50 per hour is to cover the liability insurance.
It’s ALL about lawyers and insurance in business. You’re talking letting someone with unknown training and experience work on a 3000+ pound vehicle that is precariously perched above them with air tools and hand tools. It is a liability nightmare.
Liability insurance and tort exposure in a high risk venture have EVERYTHING to do with making a profit.


#9

And the reason you would have to charge $50 per hour is to cover the liability insurance.

WRONG…Never even considered it. Sorry…but spend some time and do the Math…

A simple 10 bay garage in the Boston (outside of the 495 belt) area can easily run you 10-20k PER month…If in Cambridge…try $40k/mo.

Those lifts aren’t cheap…Not to mention heating/water/damage…and there are LOTS of things I’m NOT including…Insurance is NOT of of them.

I do know a guy in NH that does it. He’s a mechanic with a 5 bay garage…He’ll rent out 1-2 of the bays from time to time. But 90% of his income come from his business.


#10

LOL… “Never even considered liability and insurance” huh. You’ve OBVIOUSLY never run a business then. But then again, I don’t operate in Boston or NH. Maybe they don’t have lawyers there…LOL!


#11

They had one of these in Austin Tx in the 70’s while I was in graduate school there. I used it several times, including getting lots of good advice from a mechanic who was also likely the owner. My guess is they didn’t make a lot of money from folks who only took problems in they could handle, such as my wheel bearing repacks, starter motor changes, and so forth. The big money was in charging for mechanics’ time when the owner got in over his/her head and needed to simply turn it over to a professional.


#12

I recall reading about Tom & Ray’s attempt to do this. They discovered that too many customers got the cars on teh lifts and then needed technical help getting them fixed. They ended up having to hire techs to help the novices, then to pay the techs they had to have them doing repairs at traditional costs. In short, the DIY idea became a regular shop.

The good news is that of you have a garage with enough clearance and a flat floor you can buy lifts that can do the job without having to install hydraulics in the ground.


#13

I purchased a 4 post, 8000lb. hydraulic lift last month for less than $2K. Besides instantly making my 2 car garage into a 3 car garage and storing my work truck on top of where I park, I also can now work on any of my vehicles with ease. At the cost of $2K, I think it’s reasonable and can’t believe I crawled under cars for the past 30 plus years.


#14

definitely the slip and fall lawyers who have put this idea out of the range of feasibility.


#15

Anyone who reads a few threads here should understand how quickly people get in over their heads trying to save a few bucks. Imagine someone breaking the bell housing bolt off in an aluminum block. 40 miles from home. On Saturday morning. Who needs the car to get to work Monday or he gets fired. But he spent his last dollar buying the clutch he just installed incorrectly. Now, the car can’t be towed away because the engine won’t be supported. The owner can’t afford a wrecker anyway. So the car sits on the lift till…


#16

Which one did you buy?
Where did you buy it from?
How easy was it to install?
Any pros and cons you have discovered at this early juncture that you’d care to share?

I’ve waffled on this subject for quite a few years but I’m at the breaking point now on space and this option is far more palatable than building another garage. So I’m very interested in your experience and advice…


#17

Since we’re a small company but large enough to have 2 lawyers on staff I decided to ask them if they knew anything about liability insurance for this type of business. One of our lawyers use to work for State Farm insurance until she went on maternity leave some 5 years ago. She made a simple inquiry to find out.

Liability insurance for a business like this is about 3 TIMES what insurance would cost for a software business like ours. That yearly amount is less then HALF of the rent you’ll be paying for just ONE MONTH…so as I said…liability insurance is an INSIGNIFICANT amount of the cost to own a business like this.


#18

As usual MikeInNH, you are much too contentious to have a conversation with…
Calm down, it’s just a car list.


#19

It’s been done around here as a non-profit charitable venture, but this is a more rural area where cars are absolutely essential for basic transportation. I don’t think you’d get much support for it in an area that has any kind of public transportation options.


#20

The insurance payment is but a small fragment of the cost. The real liability costs start when you are being sued. You have the time and cost involved in defending yourself. Business lawyers start around $300 per hour, and you’ll have several hundred billable hours by the time you settle or go to trial. Now it’s your turn to do the math.
If you owned a business you would know that there are a substantial amount of costs that your liability insurance does not cover. Compensatory damages are partially covered, but punitive damages are all out of pocket. Once your business makes a settlement liability insurance will be scarce to find from any source.
In a business like this there are way too many ways for someone to claim damage. Every time you defend or settle the costs are huge. So as I said…Business liability is huge in a business like this.