Mechanic Opportunity Research - Requesting mechanic feedback

Hoping this is not a violation in the forum, but not many other options to get viable/credible conversations with mechanics. I am not offering anything, selling anything or soliciting anything except feedback/short answers.

I want to know how many employed mechanics have serious ambitions to open their own shop?

I want to know what stops a mechanic from opening their own shop?

If a facility was to be created that housed several bays with lifts, tools, etc - would a mechanic consider leasing/renting a bay to start their business?

If yes, what would a mechanic starting out on their own expect to pay to lease/rent such a bay?

I know there are DIY garages out there for shade tree mechanics and such, but would a mechanic consider something like this to get their own shop/business started?

Truly appreciate any insight you may have to share on this. Thank you

Well that has been proven to be a lousy business choice .
As for you other questions there will be so many answers and opinions that all it will do is confuse you.

You did not say why you are asking but if you are a mechanic wanting your own business then look at what it costs to open a franchise type and that will show you that it takes lots of money to do this .

Thank you for replying.

What is the lousy business choice? Trying to get started out of a DIY garage?

Tom and Ray of Cartalk fame actually started a Do it yourself shop and found it to be a not so good decision.
Those are for owners to work on there own vehicles .

There is no way I would let anyone work on my vehicle using a rental bay . As for the mechanic , he will pay for the bay even if he does not need it all day , then more rental fees if he has to follow up warranty work , also have the bay tied up waiting on parts or going to rent some tool he does not own .

If you are a mechanic ( you don’t say if you are ) go to work for a good shop and just see what expenses there are . Things like building lease , work mans insurance , property insurance , utilities , advertising not to mention the large amount of money a mechanic has to spend on tools.

To me it appears as if you are doing a marketing survey. Your questions appear to be looking so see if a mechanics bay rental business model, much like some hair salons, has merit.

Did I read that correctly?

Thank you both.

I am not a mechanic. The line of questions are not marketing, but practicality. I work with several folks with entrepreneurial spirits and previous history with being angel investors. We found it extremely rewarding and want to do more.

Vehicles, engines, mechanics and the hands-on trades are where I come from and where I grew up.

Car repairs, mechanics and the automotive supply chain are extremely critical to our society and infrastructure and we believe this entire sector can thrive in any economy. Vehicles are necessary and are also critical points of failure in the work to live/live to work cycle.

I have posted this in several forums for mechanics as we try to see and learn from those with the real experience.

This certainly isn’t a get-rich-quick type of business plan, in fact, we can hardly get it in the black under 5 years, but the premise was a building with 6 or so bays and invest 6k-10k per bay and let it be a building block, or first step for a self-employed mechanic. Have a reasonably set monthly rent and let the mechanic generate his/her own business and get started. This model is highly successful for hair salons, nail salons and other appointment/service businesses. A car repair shop just has a much higher investment into the bay, lift, environment, tools and such.

As we read through the forums and replies, it seems that many want to be independent but money and start up is the obstacle.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to reply and comment.

Thank you

Would you be providing tools?

In hair salons, the workers rent their chairs and often have to provide at least some of their tools, but then there aren’t a whole lot of ruinously expensive tools in the hair styling world. Would each rental bay have to provide its own scan tools/alignment machines / tire balancers / other stuff that’s priced in the stratosphere?

If so, you might have trouble getting people to sign on. If not, you might have trouble paying the startup costs, and since those people aren’t your employees, you might also have higher than average problems of expensive assets walking out of the shop.

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You really need to talk to someone who has a shop like you thinking of , preferably out of your area so they will not worry about you taking their business away.

Every rental shop space like you are talking about has gone out of business in my area because they just had too many months that they did not show a profit .

Thanks Shadowfax…we have modeled this so many different ways that we don’t even know what the right answer would be on what the “shop” would provide as included in the lease, additional rental time or just not available. We are certain that we would not nickel/dime. Nobody wins in that arena.

Let me float the outline here and you guys can pick it apart…

This is only a facility for a mechanic. The mechanic runs his/her own business as they see fit and follow the rules of the shop regarding safety, and all that entails.

15’x25’ bay. Yours, nobody else but yours. Lock it up as you see fit. Maybe we “cage” each bay? Seems over the top?

Lift or no lift…your decision and monthly rate driven by this choice. Three ideas here are just a bay, a bay with a lift, a bay with jack/stands and ramps. Lift is 4 post, 120v, 18’ runways and moveable.

Shop/lease provides air compressors, power, exhaust evacuation system, oil recycling and AF recycling, trash, customer consult office and bathrooms.

Tool program…for the mechanic with no tools yet or not enough. Thinking typical tool boxes with 300-400 piece quality set. Not Pittsburgh, but not not Snap On. Standard air tools set with 4 or 5 of the common ones. Middle of the road code scanner and electrical tools This is not a complete list and open to your thoughts here. This is going to be about the only additional charge and goes into monthly rent/lease.

Community/shop tools. These are available to all tenants without additional charge.
Welder, torches, pullers, spanners, 3/4” impact, parts washer, 20ton press, bench grinders, and other limited use items.

Specialty stuff like alignment rigs, tire shop equipment and huge specialized gear are likely out of scope for this…at least in the beginning.

That’s the short of it.

Appreciate all the conversation here. Thank you.

Curious if these failed ones were strictly DIY and relied on hourly rentals of bays, or if it was this model of a lease like I am describing.

We do agree that if this was a successful concept it would already be out there and thriving…and it isn’t.
Really just learning what went wrong or why.

Your initial post is the very definition of marketing, not practicality. I don’t have a problem with marketing but I do have a problem when posters are not honest with their motives.

How well is the WeWork model succeeding?

It’s unlikely that someone afraid to dip more than their big toe into the cold water has much of a chance of succeeding in any effort at being an entrepreneur. Bluffing your way to the top makes for a good movie plot but in reality it’s likely a losing proposition for all involved.

You want real research on this , then you talk to people out of your area who have a business like this . You go out of your area so they will not suspect you of trying to take their business away from them.

Frankly I don’t see this as a way to really help someone become an independent shop owner.

Ok. Fair enough. I explained it more later. Thank you

Apologies, but I am not following your reply.

Thank you Volvo

Agree on your point to talk to existing or closed businesses. If this idea was getting a more positive reaction, that would be in the next steps.

Across the several forums, we are reading many more negatives than positives to the idea.

The infancy of the idea was to help proliferation of the trade and provide a first step for individuals. The real world seems to view this much differently and although the concept feels practical and even advantageous to help people, it doesn’t read like this is a beneficial option.

Mustang man…I guess this could read like a marketing study, but that was not the intent. The intent was to learn from real world mechanics what keeps them from growing into heir own small businesses. I can see where the line is blurred.

Thanks for the continued conversations.

I doubt if the lift you are describing or the tools you describe would stand up to Commercial work or be desirable to a mechanic. If I were starting out as a mechanic, I would rather work out of my home garage than rent your bay. At least my customers would know where to fond me. I do not believe Stanly tools are better quality than arbor Freight, just more expensive. Craftsman tools used to be made of good quality steel when they were made here even though they were not as pleasing to the hand as Snapon or other high quality tools but tat all changed when they went to China.

I don’t think your business model will draw customers for the mechanics or help yjrm prompte their “brand” and a bad experience at one bay willtarnish the whole building in the consumers minds.

If you’re serious about pursuing this possibility your first stop should be a casual chat with a local CPA who has several Auto Repair clients.

Don’t expect any names, details or anything that might be considered confidential but with years of financial experience they should be able to give you a general idea of what works, what doesn’t and why.

And as others have already commented, this is one of those “great ideas” (a variation of the barbershop, beauty shop, Hair Cuttery model) that has already been tried but never seems to work in practice.

Some of the problems are the greater investment, longer period of return and insurance risk and cost.

i.e. A barber can start working with little more than some clippers etc. ($500), cover their investment in a couple of weeks and do their work with minimal liability risk and the salon owner’s equipment and ongoing overhead costs are a small fraction of what a mechanic requires.

One more major issue-insurance. With multiple new mechanics coming and going I wonder if you could get it. Call an agent and see.

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Great point that one bad/rude/ripoff mechanic can ruin the entire garage. Consumer point of view is a valid concern.

Thank you

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