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  #1  
Old 05-13-2009, 11:45 AM
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Thinking of new a line of business...

Being employed by one of the world's largest computer industry giants doesn't give a 'warm and fuzzy' about my future or about the stability of my job these days. Basically, I don't think I will be retiring from my job... and in fact chances are good that I may be laid off in the next 6 months.

These things are making me think about 'what I wanna do when I grow up'... here is an idea I've been kicking around - it's half-baked I admit, but wanted to see what you all think about it and get some feedback from a community at large.

The concept is a shop/workshop/garage for those who like to 'tinker' with stuff - "do it yourselfers" like you and me that need a place to explore their lust to build, create, fix, and explore possibilities with materials, tools and equipment. A place in their neighborhood, a garage, or a workshop where you can come in, drive in, or bring your 'toys' or your project to assemble, fix, explore ideas or otherwise express their creativity with tools and materials. An 'art studio for guys' who need to work with tools an sfuff, but have no room to work on it in their home or apartment complex, or for those whose with strict covenants or Betty-committees where they live.

It just seems like my career in the IT industry is reaching a dead end. I'll either need to get myself out of this rut and onto another mediocre IT assignment or I can explore something I really like doing and give others a chance to do the same.

Some honest feedback would be appreciated (good or bad)...

THanks for reading -
James
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2009, 11:56 AM
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I have heard of those things. I think I read about one in Make magazine.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2009, 12:02 PM
helpplease
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To be honest I think it sounds like a great idea, I would love to have a place like that right now! Would you just have a huge air compressor they could hook up to or would you rent tools as well? Also would depend on if you live in a rural or urban setting. Would you rent bays at different rates? 1 day X$, 1 week X$$ and such (I would assume so)? Also you might need to have some sort of waste container for oil and other such things depending on where you live.
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2009, 12:06 PM
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There is one of these places in Wichita, and its a great concept. The place here has storage units you purchase or rent, where you're able to create your own workspace. There is also a community center with lots of amenities.

My Indy closed up his traditional shop and semi retired to one of the units. He has 2 lifts, all his tools, and built a loft for his office. Really cool place.

Your idea of one large community is great also. Perhaps an old dealership that went belly up would make a great location or a large retail space. You just have to make sure that you have members sign every kind of waiver possible so you have no injury liability, and a way to assign, limit space use. Also make sure that no one walks off with tools and supplies.

The easiest way to get off the ground is to find a business similar to what your looking for, and try to copy as much as you can. Keep in mind businesses are rarely profitable in the first few years, but copying an existing successful model can give you a head start.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:19 PM
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THx

Thanks for all the comments and additional ideas...

James
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  #6  
Old 05-13-2009, 01:26 PM
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I would steer you to look into the insurance issues created by it. You own the tools, you own the property, but someone is dumb enough to get hurt by not paying attention...who's insurance pays?


Just a thought...
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  #7  
Old 05-13-2009, 01:29 PM
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I've got nothing to add other than it sure sounds like a great idea!
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  #8  
Old 05-13-2009, 01:51 PM
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I agree. It does sound like a good idea. Worth pursuing.

- Peter.
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2009, 01:52 PM
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I would be very wary of the liability issues. Especially if you provide the tools. There is nothing stopping a moron from using a tool incorrectly, injuring himself, and then blaming you for allowing him access he wouldn't otherwise have. When it comes to injuries, waivers are useless, or any contract you make people sign.
If you have lifts, some guy doesn't put his car on it right and it falls off, you are going to get sued no matter what.

Then you are going to have issues with people abusing the privilege. How long are you going to let some guy's half finished home made power hammer sit, or his project car that goes from fixing the hood latch to a frame off resto?
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  #10  
Old 05-13-2009, 02:10 PM
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Great idea, but most likely impractical unless you either own or can rent the space for next to nothing. Insurance would be extremely expensive, and possibly not available at any cost. Environmental impact might be an issue as well. I have only seen one place like what you describe, and it was on a Submarine base. Excellent thing, they had lifts, welders, tire machines, extensive tool rental, even an OK paint booth. But they also had the deep pockets of Uncle Sam.
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  #11  
Old 05-13-2009, 02:11 PM
helpplease
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I think you should pursue it but as others have wisely said look into the insurance and definatly look into liability issues. And if someone is abusing the privelage then you charge them more.
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  #12  
Old 05-13-2009, 03:35 PM
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That idea's been kicked around here before.

The liability & insurance would run you out of business.
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  #13  
Old 05-13-2009, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jplinville View Post
I would steer you to look into the insurance issues created by it. You own the tools, you own the property, but someone is dumb enough to get hurt by not paying attention...who's insurance pays?


Just a thought...

I reviewed a business plan for one a few years back (think I discussed it on here) and with lifts its a go go, primarily because of liability.
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  #14  
Old 05-13-2009, 03:52 PM
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The one that I know of which is very successful sells individual work spaces and helps them customize it to their needs. In the middle of it all is a clubhouse with showers, locker room, and a huge lounge with WIFI and big TVs. I imagine it has more Ferraris, Lambos, and other rare cars than anywhere in the state.

Here is an article on it. The developer is a good friend of my fathers.

http://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/stories/2007/12/10/story2.html

Here is the actual website with a gallery.

http://exec-u-stor.com/photogallery.html
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  #15  
Old 05-13-2009, 03:56 PM
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Damn lawyers!


Oops! (j/k JD!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Doe View Post
I reviewed a business plan for one a few years back (think I discussed it on here) and with lifts its a go go, primarily because of liability.
I'm assuming that's a no go? I'd imagine the liability would be frightening.
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