• May 11, 2009
If you're a London gearhead and want to work on your car but have no place to do it, you'll want to check out Pit Start, a new self-service garage. It is exactly what it sounds like – a communal pay-by-the-hour workspace. Would-be tinkerers can pre-book a space or drop in, and upon arrival, a Pit Start employee will assign you one of the twenty repair bays depending on the kind of work you'll be doing.

Bays can be rented for a minimum of hour, and it's £10 for bays without lifts (a little over $15 USD) or £20 (roughly $30 USD) for one of the six bays that come with a four-ton hoist. Pit Start provides an array of common tools for free, sells oil and basic fluids, has a directory of nearby mechanics, and can arrange to have parts delivered for you within the hour. The only things you can't do are tasks that involve welding or paint spraying. This month, bay rental is 50% off, and the garage is open 24/7 in case you get the urge to install a turbo at 3 a.m. They even provide shop manuals.

Would you be interested in having something like this in America? Drop us a line in 'Comments.'

[Source: Pit Start]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 73 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I looked into starting something like this a few years ago and the liability issue killed it. People will sue for any reason in the states.
      Securing tools, parts, making sure everyone follows safety procedures... just not feasible in the USA unless some kind of lawsuit reform is created.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm pretty sure this is exactly how Click and Clack got their start.
      With their example to show the light, I think I speak for the voice of reason and say "Move along now, nothing to see here!"
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do they include live webcam feeds of the bays so we can watch when someone's car falls off a lift?
      • 5 Years Ago
      It'll take a huge market like London for this to fly. Most people with the comptence and willingness to do their own wrenching already have the basic tools needed to get the job done at home. Now given, I have a pretty extensive shop in my garage but there are occasional jobs like exhaust work where the hydraulic lift could really come in handy. Perhaps it makes more sense in London where land is at a real premium and few gearheads can afford a garage. I wish them the best and love the idea. This is an idea that could certainly work, but only in major metro areas with outrageous real estate costs that force gearheads to rent the garage the can't afford to own.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think something like this would be an absolute hit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please, please, please build one in the US.

      Preferably a few hundred feet from my apartment.

      Kthxbye.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Till this becomes more popular (and I hope it does), every car enthusiast needs find an autoshop owner buddy. There is nothing like being able to call a guy and say you need to borrow a lift for a bit and just roll up saturday morning, do what you need to do, and "pay" the shop with a box of donuts and some coffee. I wish I had found my autoshop buddy BEFORE I did a full suspension swap in my garage on jackstands... I chalk that one up to a "learning experience".
      • 5 Years Ago
      We actually have one of these here, in Windsor Ontario. There doing pretty well, I believe it's around the same cost, $15/h no hoist, $25/h with one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Military bases have had this for years. $5 an hour, tools available and a technician available for questions. They are called Auto Hobby Shops.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a pretty awesome idea.
      Especially if you live in a cold state or even a very hot state.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As others have mentioned, I have thought of this myself. I think the problem in the US (as was also mentioned) would be liability insurance. Given that anyone could come in and use a hoist and work on their car, the insurance would have to be insanely expensive. And I'm not sure how you would keep tools and from walking off unless you recorded who takes what from a central depot. You couldn't simply leave stocked tool chests at every bay.

      I like that they combined the operation with a parts and fluid service/shop.



      • 5 Years Ago
      I had a similar plan but on way to get capital or the startup. I even have part of a business plan created.

      Since it looks like I won't be able to start my idea soon, I'll share some ideas.
      One thing I had hoped to do was keep trained mechanics on duty (aside from normal employees) that you could rent along with the bay. Also, I would keep higher end tools available for a premium. Toe ensure tools weren't stolen or broken, each customer would go over all the tools with an employee at the beginning and end of their rental and sign off that all tools were there and working. If some were missing at the end of the rental, the customer would be responsible.

      There would also be a store front where fluids and common parts could be purchased (to help generate revenue).
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