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Garage space

I was thinking about opening a place that someone could rent garage space. would there be any interest in this? 3 of the spaces with lifts and 3 without and maybe tools to rent with space? any input would be appreciated. Oh and reasonable prices ?

Forget it. That was a big deal years ago and almost everyone who tried it lost money. Even the Click and Clack brothers tried it and decided it was not that good of an idea.


The first obstacle is liability insurance.

What happens if someone gets hurt or property damage occurs because the equipment you provide fails?

Or an amateur sets their vehicle on fire burning the place down?

Or, the vehicle is abandoned in place because the owner ran out of money?

I’ve never seen this business venture be a success.



ok good feed back

Yeah agree, forget it. You’ll make more money renting it out for storage.


I agree that insurance would be a major issue.

Also, I’d worry about how you’d schedule the lifts, as it would probably be pretty common for amateurs to take far longer than planned to finish a repair.


There are companies making money renting or selling garage space. But not the way you are thinking.

They rent or sell individual space that folks can configure any way they want. Say a 1000 SF open space with electric. Water, and sewer can be added at extra cost. The owner adds a lift, big screen TV and couches to create a car enthusiasts “man cave.”

That was done in OK City many years ago (several times) and it was a failure.

Other than the obvious liability issues one of the big snags is that quite often many repairs do not go as easily as planned. Instead of a 2 hour job it turns out to be 2 days and then you’re left haggling (a.k.a. arguing with someone who objects to paying 16 hours of shop time versus 2 hours.


A friend of mine tried this in a small town at a closed up factory. It was around 1974 after we all graduated from high school and all the muscle cars from the 1960s were within our price range.
We already had a unorganized car club, where we would meet about every other Sunday and go for road trips together. Today it was your turn to lead the pack to some wayside/park an hour away, for a picnic and someone surely had a quarter barrel stuffed away in their trunk. Sometimes we would organize a soft ball game at these parks, other times we just partied and mingled.
Next time it was another person that led us to some A&W that was 90 miles away, where we would have lunch and maybe went to something of interest in the area. We actually went to some small Auto museums, around Wisconsin, The Cave of the Mounds, House on the Rock, and other interesting sites. I think the farthest we went was a camping trip 5 hours away. We had a lot of fun and usually had 5-8 nice muscle cars, with another 5-8 other cars mixed into the pack. We only had a few rules. No speeding, no big burnouts as we went through small towns, and no racing the locals.
Back to having a shared spot to work on vehicles.
This guy knew the owners of a closed up factory. He rented it with the idea to have some place where we could use to work on our own cars and to help others work on their cars. We painted lines on the floor and each member had about a 16ft X 25ft area to work in. Only two or three guys had a key…to manage the place, and to keep everybody honest about borrowing tools. It worked out pretty good for about 18 months, but as more and more of the group got into their twenties it all fell apart. Some got married, others had careers that kept them too busy, and others just lost interest.

I only know of a few guys that have rented Auto shops and rented a stall to a friend in exchange for them paying part of the overhead, But it never works out because the original owner is the one who gets the good jobs and has to deal with the irate client that you buggered up a repair or wants warranty work.


That is one of those places you just have to see because it is so hard to describe .

Tom and Ray actually started in the business doing just that. As they tell it - they spent more time helping the people do their own work…It just wasn’t worth it.

Check with an insurance company to see how much insurance would cost for a place like that.

We had them on my Army base back in the 70’s. Not sure if they still do.

Just to go a little off topic but the older I get, the more I have come to appreciate hiring work done instead of trying to do it myself. Tire rotation $20-40, tune up $150, coolant change $100 etc. I’ve always been a DIYer but gee when you get to the point where you have to pay for garage space to be on a par with a paid mechanic, I think it’s time to reconsider. Of course I have more money now so maybe that colors my thinking.

I do remember finally after replacing shingles about five times after high wind and 30 feet up, I finally hired a roofer to do it. I had figured a budget of $500 but when I got the bill it was something like $60. Yeah I sent a $20 tip an told him to raise his rates.

We remodeled our kitchen and the new sink just didn’t fit the existing drain pipes. I worried about it for several weeks and spent $30 in parts in anticipation. Then another $30 in parts trying to make it fit. Finally in desperation went and hired a plumber for the first time in my life. Next morning the guy re-did the whole drain pipes to the wall and even he scratched his head. I got the bill for $134 including parts, tax, transportation, and labor.

Sometimes just let the pros do it.


I agree, my theory is how expensive will it be if I have to hire someone to correct my mistakes.

Plus in addition to the liability, if you provide tools for them to use, those tools are going to walk off. Some will steal them intentionally, and some will just toss them in their pockets or leave them under the hood and accidentally drive away with them.

And hardly anyone’s gonna take care of them - the torque wrenches will be left tensioned, they’ll put normal sockets on the air wrench, they’ll use your good screwdriver as a chisel, etc. It’s amazing how much people abuse stuff that isn’t theirs.

I remember the Car Talk guys talking about their experiences with this idea – they also ran into the problem that people would get stuck and not know how to do something, so they’d go up to Tom or Ray and ask, and half the time, the brothers would end up doing the work for them because it’s just easier than trying to walk an amateur through an advanced procedure.

So now they were acting as traditional mechanics, but just getting paid for space rental. Great way to underpay yourself. :wink:

I’m still in the mood of -“If I can do it myself - I do.”

There are some projects that I just won’t do. Re-roofing my Shed - No problem. Re-roofing my house that with the walk-out basement is 3 stories high - Nope.

I haven’t paid for tire rotation in 30 years. Every place I’ve bought tires from in the past 30 years offer free tire rotation. Spark-plugs - This is one task I’m going to farm out on my wife’s Lexus and my Highlander because of those back plugs. Royal pain in the ass. I did the first spark-plug change on wife’s Lexus, but not again. Easier to if you have a lift (which I don’t).

Yeah in 50 years I never paid for a tune up, but when I changed plugs in the Pontiac, I just couldn’t get the boot back on on that last restricted access plug. So next time I just had Dave do the whole thing and for about $100.

Yeah i’ve got three stories too and when you’re up on the back side with a steep slope, hanging on to the rope with one hand, while trying to nail with the other, and all the time your tennis shoes keep losing grip, naw, call a guy.

It was a very 70s kind of thing that did not last. Kinda like Frostline kits: sew and stuff your own down jacket or sleeping bag.

Tie dye has returned…