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Would You Use A Self-Serve Garage?
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Posted On: 10/18/2011 10:20AM
SuzyBruisy

The concept is brilliant: rent time in a fully-equipped garage to work on your own ride. I've loved the idea ever since Darnell's Do-It-Yourself Garage from Christine, but that was back in the day and it seems like today's high overheads and a litigation-hungry culture would conspire to keep anything like that from existing in real life. But some guy right down the road in Kent, WA is actually doing it! George Patterson runs a self-serve garage where customers can pull in their cars, use his air and his lift and his tools, and fix whatever's ailing the old beast. Business is booming, and it's apparently not a bad deal for those who want to wrench but lack the space or equipment. Even complete noobs report favorable results, with one lady with no automotive experience completing her first brake job at Patterson's. I really have to wonder how such a business can make any money. What do you think, is a self-serve garage a good idea? Can you imagine ever using one of these facilities yourself if you found yourself without the proper setup to do a major job? Via NWAutos.

Comments (15)
Avatar By: boatdude13
10/18/2011 10:35 AM

This is an amazing idea. I have lived in apartments for the last few years and really miss having a driveway and a garage to do work.

 
Avatar By: clenzer72
10/18/2011 11:00 AM

I love it. There are many times I have a project on my truck that would be so much easier and faster if I had a lift or air tools and would gladly pay for the space, even better is he provides the tools too! It's hard to own a custom car/build a custom if you don't have a garage that allows you to work on your ride. I wonder how his profit is set up....

 
Avatar By: DaveyBoyo
10/18/2011 11:41 AM

There are a few of these near where I live. The franchise is called 'Rent-a-Bay'. I've always been fascinated with the concept but have never tried it. I wonder if it would be profitable, too ..

 
Avatar By: uberaudi
10/18/2011 12:29 PM

This is why I love being in the military, on every base theres a "hobby shop" where they have everything you'll ever need and then some, and its practically free to use!

 
Avatar By: MrAMC1
10/18/2011 1:27 PM

Sometimes I wish there was something like this near me. I have filled my 4 car garage with too many projects so I am again out wrenching in the rain and cold like a few years ago! You'd think I'd learn to finish one thing at a time.

 
Avatar By: MrAMC1
10/18/2011 1:28 PM

Wait, why does that guy have the motor out of his new F-150 already? Shouldn't that be Ford's problem?

 
Avatar By: NWSilverado
10/18/2011 3:38 PM

I wonder what kind of things have to be signed before you start using stuff there. I can see things like wrenches and sockets being stolen quiet quickly! Just saying is all. Great idea though!

 
Avatar By: fortyfordsedan
10/18/2011 4:57 PM

They had something like that at college until the student government stopped funding it. Saved my bacon once. They had out credit info and student ID so if you stole something they could get their money back from you.

 
Avatar By: tazgts
10/18/2011 5:44 PM

Wish I had one around me...I gotta do everything in my backyard with jacks and car ramps. Just replaced the clutch yesterday, had to drop the tranny on a jack and get it back in the same way :(

 
Avatar By: kbalter
10/18/2011 6:27 PM

I've been wishing for something like this for years!! I'm really surprised there isn't already a chain of them where I live since SoCal is the birthplace of the Hot Rod and the car culture capital of the world...

 
Avatar By: hakim26
10/18/2011 6:32 PM

They're great! Being in the military they're on almost every base, and some have paint booths. I used to work at one in Okinawa and it was $3.00 an hour I believe, and you sign out your tools and return when your done.

 
Avatar By: Spyke383
10/19/2011 6:07 AM

i think it is good if the customer is capable of doing the work, I get vehicles into my grage all the time that the customer attempted a fix and in the process caused more damage, but if I didnt work in a grage i would want to use one of these

 
Avatar By: retroman
10/19/2011 7:39 AM

The military does it for all our service members and their families. For $12 a day, you can have a lift and all the tools you want. I've often thought about opening a self-service in my town after I get out of the Navy.

 
Avatar By: RockShox
10/19/2011 4:23 PM

I love DIYs, I got a few learning on this site as well www.automd.com and www.autopartswarehouse.com. But there's nothing better than having a mechanic friend who's willing and have time to share his knowledge and experience on car maintenance and repairs... if only I have that kind of garage.

 
Avatar By: FuryPaul
10/20/2011 12:19 PM

There's one near me. "Self-Service Auto Repair," it's called. Unfortunately, it's only open Monday through Friday from 9-5, which makes it a little difficult to take advantage of when you work Monday through Friday from 9-5:45. I know it'd be worth the price of admission to have access to a lift and an impact gun!

 

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