Judging by the fact you signed up for this service, you are a motor enthusiast of a special breed, and you are probably no novice when it comes to DIY repairs. Remember however that as with any repairs, you should take time to familiarize yourself with Garagetime and its policies and procedures. Always wrench within your own unique capabilities as an enthusiast and your level of experience with your vehicle. Ensure that anyone else wrenching in your space does the same. To prevent or minimize injury, always follow posted instructions.
This Owner’s Manual contains a host of useful information. Please read this manual before you list your garage or use another. Acquaint yourself with your garage’s features and know how to safely operate your garage in order to guide other. The more you know how to operate your garage, the more beneficial you will be to others looking to experience it.
Garages owners are often interested in sharing their space with renters, but are unsure about what’s involved with listing their garage. To address the question about what is needed to open and operate a DIY garage, we’ve put together this guide as a framework. Be sure to consider everything that might apply to your unique space.
This guide is divided into 5 sections:
- Creating your listing
- Setting up your space
- Hosting renters
We hope this guide helps you operate and run a successful community garage, bringing not only extra income for tools, rent, and your dream projects, but also building a strong local community of motor enthusiasts and long-lasting relationships.
Creating your listing
Make your listing unique
When you are creating your listing, make sure and describe the nuances of your space.
Consider why it’s distinct and be sure to share the small details that describe how special it is. You may take some aspects of your space for granted, so try to describe it with fresh eyes. Do you have an abundance of natural light? An amazing air wrench? Vintage VW collections and tools? Renters are constantly seeking specialized garages and by highlighting your features you can help them find them.
Remember that you can create multiple listings. If you have an indoor and outdoor space, you may create separate listings and prices for each. If you have multiple bays that can be rented out, create a listing for each, as long as you designate them “Bay 1”, “Bay 2”, or by some other unique identifier. This allows multiple renters to book space with you at the same time, and gives you a booking management system.
Additionally if you’d like to list a single space for different time periods (hourly, daily, and monthly rate), you may create multiple listings as long as there is a noticeable difference. Listings are always free to create on Garagetime.
Give your garage an identity
You have the chance to create a very niche garage and identity, that will attract a certain group.
- If you’re a long hood Porsche enthusiast, and can hear a flat six from two blocks away, you might like to brand your garage as such – you’ll be surprised how many like-minded enthusiasts will seek you out for your individual space.
- Do you share a love for offroad trucks and SUVs, have a garage full of lift kits and truck specific equipment, and countless tips for what the best closest trails are? You should think of branding your garage as the local 4×4 hangout.
Chances are that putting some time into branding your garage will help attract enthusiasts you can relate to. These people are willing to pay a bit more for the space, will take better care of your space and tools, may be able to share tools or tips of their own, and will help build a strong local community.
If you’re looking to attract a wider group of enthusiasts from your neighborhood, consider hanging posters up in grocery stores, community centers, coffee shops, and other neighborhood spots to let local enthusiasts know that you’re open for business.
Think like a guest
Wrenchers want to know how your space will suit their needs. Many of them come from an apartment without any workspace, or don’t have tools needed to complete a job, so they are less likely to book garages with incomplete listing descriptions.
Be thorough and explain how your garage can be set up for different use types to help renters envision how they can use the space. Describe tools and amenities provided, possible storage, facility capabilities, and any additional help if offered. These are just some of the key features a renter will be looking for.
Your listing’s photos are the primary driver of guest interest. More than your listing description, guests use photos to determine if the garage meets their needs. Be sure to take high-quality photos that honestly reflect your space and show its best features. Don’t forget to clean a bit and make use of natural light
Show your garage in action
While accurately describing your garage is important, actually showing it in action with quality photography is the best way to attract potential renters. When renters are on the Garagetime platform, your feature image is the first thing they see, so make sure it is impressive and tells the story about your space.
Note: We recommend having more than five photos per listing, with a mix of shots of the “raw” space and the space being used. This allows renters to visualize how their repairs will fit in the garage and better understand if it can suit their needs.
Good descriptions and exclusions
Be sure to warn guest about flaws/quirks of your space ahead of time. Admitting some faults with the space is not likely going to harm your bookings, but it also won’t be a shock to renters when they arrive and they’re not allowed to use the amazing car lift in the photos, or the out of order bathroom.
Exclusions that should be mentioned include, but are not limited to:
- Bathroom access
- Heated space
- Towing/overnight fees
- Additional fees for tool rental
- Excluded repairs/uses
- Towels/degreaser access
Garages can get messy, but be sure to clean up your space before your guest arrives and before you take any photos, to make sure renters see your space in top form.
Help get the word out about your space. We encourage you to get creative with how you promote your local community garage. A few suggestions about how to generate additional interest are:
- Sharing on Facebook
- Posting on Instagram
- Sharing on Reddit
- Posting action and space pictures on Instagram
- Posting on Twitter
- Listing your space on Craigslist
- Handing out flyers/Putting a sign in your car’s window at Cars and Coffee
- Telling your friends and family
- Posting flyers at around town: car parts stores, car washes, hardware stores
Be sure to tag your space and projects on social media with #bookgaragetime to be eligible for giveaways and Garagetime discounts
Turn on notifications
To be notified when a renter makes a booking request for your garage, make sure to turn on your notifications.
You can change your notifications at any time. We suggest garages leave all notifications selected to ensure they do not miss a question from a renter or a booking request.
Log into your Garagetime account.
- Select the icon with your name or photo in the upper right hand corner.
- Select the settings icon
- Choose the notification icon on the left hand menu. Enable the notifications from the main page that you would like to receive.
- Select the “save information” button to ensure changes take effect.
Note: Some garages get booking requests, but completely miss out on revenue because their email service sends Garagetime emails to the spam folder. Make sure to add Garagetime to your safe list and that you check your setting page on the website so you get notified when you are sent important messages.
Pricing is not just setting your rates and then never revisiting them. Unless you are okay leaving profits on the table, pricing takes time to get right initially, and to keep it right as you continue hosting. If you’re not seeing any bookings, try lowering your listing price or offering a different listing duration.
We put pricing in the hands of garages. You can price your garage at your discretion and please take local rates, taxes, Garagetime fees, and other fees into consideration when listing your hourly or daily rate. If you have questions about how to price your garage, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adding payment information
All accounts that have a garage listing must add payout information in order to receive booking requests. Garagetime uses Stripe and PayPal to process payments. Adding your payout information is easy and can be done in these steps:
- When logged into your Garagetime account, click on the top right account avatar and then “Account” on the dropdown.
- On the left navigation, click on “Payments” which will take you to the “Payment settings”.
- Enter your contact information (required by Stripe for verification) and bank account information. If at any time you need help with this, please email us at email@example.com
Garagetime is built with the idea of lowering the barrier to entry for DIY enthusiasts. We have built a platform for the community and without the assistance of outside funding. We charge fees to help keep the lights on at Garagetime, and so we can reinvest revenue in the site.
We currently charge a 10% transaction fee for all bookings completed on Garagetime. This fee is automatically deducted from your booking total once you accept the request.
Setting up your space
Investing in tools
Tools are an important part of any motor project and having the right tools can make a difficult job routine. Remember that it’s entirely up to you if you’d like to provide tools with your listing. We find that renters are willing to pay a premium for the use of tools, especially specialty tools they’re unlikely to buy themselves for a single job.
Note: Just because you have tools in your garage, does not mean you need to make them available for use. Please be clear of what is included in your listing.
If you’re going to offer basic tools, the following is a good start:
- Full set of hand tools – hex, socket, screwdrivers
- Workbench and stool
- Work lighting
- Fire extinguisher
- Hand towels
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit
- Wi-fi connection
For those that want to provide some specialty tools, consider adding:
- Floor creeper
- Jacks and jackstands
- Compressed air
- Oil filter pliers
- Hammer set
- Breaker bar
- Pry bar set
- Snap ring pliers
- Grease gun
- Feeler gauge
- Wire striper / crimper
- Tap & die set
- Ball joint press kit
- Harmonic balancer puller
- Plastic fastener removal tool
- Power steering puller
- Rethreading kit
- Damaged bolt / nut remover
- Damaged screw remover
- Plier set
- Flare nut wrench set
- Spark plug socket
- Oil and fluid disposal
For advanced shops, renters love seeing these:
- Vehicle lift – 2 post or 4 post
- Transmission jack
- Engine stand
- Engine hoist
- Bearing press
- Drill press
- Bench vice
- Bench grinder
- Tire balancer
Every mechanic gets stuck from time to time and needs to consult a repair manual. Unless you’re a professional shop, it’s unlikely you’ll have every repair book, but many home mechanics will typically have a couple related to vehicles they own. Consider advertising and sharing those manuals on your listing page, so a renter can specifically search for your garage. You may be surprised that by listing certain manuals in your listing, you may begin to attract like-minded renters to your garage.
Small improvements to your space can have a huge impact on your ability to attract users. For example, if you want to attract Italian motorcycle enthusiasts, consider listing or investing in specialty tools to make the job easier. This will make your listing more attractive to guests and help you build a loyal local following. Some additional things that renters may love to see or request from garages are:
- Fire extinguishers and always tell the guests where they are during check in
- Bathrooms (optional, but highly appreciated)
- Workbenches for making sure there’s a safe, organized space to wrench away
- Vehicle lifts (again optional, but very helpful for speeding up jobs). Garage owners should specify the rules of operating the lift in their listing, and may specify that renters must ask for help when operating
Be responsive to inquiries and messages
Gain the trust of potential guests by responding quickly to questions about your workspace or a booking request. Typically a short note goes a long way and same day replies help build confidence and trust.
Many guests are looking for a quick solution to their DIY needs and are speaking with multiple garages, so being the first to reply helps you generate more bookings. Make sure to check your notifications to ensure you receive important email notifications.
Before proceeding, make sure to log into your Garagetime account.
To reply to messages and booking requests about your space:
- Select the icon with your name or photo in the upper right hand corner.
- Select the inbox icon
- On your inbox, you will see highlighted messages when they have not been opened. Click the message to read and reply to it.
Note: Remember, you are not obliged to accept anyone unless you want to. See how it goes, get a feeling of it, and when you feel ready, accept your first guest.
To accept or reject a booking:
- Select the icon with your name or photo in the upper right hand corner.
- Select the Inbox icon
- On your inbox, you will see highlighted messages from the renter asking about your space. Click the message to read and reply to it.
- Select Accept or Reject to confirm the booking.
Note: Before accepting or rejecting the request, make sure you have all the information you need. You can reply to the request and ask for more information about how they intend to use your space, time needed, dates, or other inquiries without taking an action.
You can continue to communicate with the renter through this dialog box, as well as cancel the transaction, mark the transaction as complete, and leave feedback following the rental. Remember, you are not obliged to accept anyone unless you want to.
Create a welcome kit
Let your guests know about your space before they show up. Be sure to include your garage rules and any waivers or insurance requirements. Other common things to include are wi-fi password, use of specialty tools and lifts, info about restrooms, and procedures for vehicles left overnight. Make sure that guests can reference this while they are in your space.
Be timely during reservations
Please don’t make your renters wait past their booking time to have access to the garage. Make sure to show up early to bookings and that the space is ready. If anything changes, please clearly convey any changes with your guest. Being punctual for the booking is an important element of how renters evaluate their garage time and can impact receiving a positive review.
Check-in and check-out procedures
Having a plan written up ahead of time can save a lot of time and frustration the day of a project. Make sure renters know where to go, how to contact you, and any procedures for using tools or accessing the space.
When the booking and project are completed, make sure renters know how to put everything back, clean up the space, check tools back in they have borrowed, and can contact you to check them out.
Liability and insurance
Garagetime does not offer marketplace insurance for bookings and instead suggest that all garages adequately insure their garage, equipment, and premises prior to listing it. Check your homeowners, renters, and automotive liability policies to understand if any provisions apply to your garage workspace.
You can require that renters have their own insurance policy in place for them to book your garage. In the event that you require this, please mention this in your description, notify all booking requests of this requirement, and also receive proof of insurance to verify this prior to accepting a booking. Many of our garages require a valid homeowners or renters policy to cover liability.
- Download and require renters to sign a liability waiver and garage rules, or bring their own renters or homeowners general liability policy and agree to use it to cover any damages.
- Your Booking Agreement through Garagetime is an agreement for a user to use the garage as defined in the listing for the exact date, time period, and for that price. If you have further garage requirements, please notify a booking request directly and ensure they are aware of these prior to accepting the booking request, prior to the booking time, and their arrival.
Check with your insurance
You may find out that your business or homeowners insurance has a clause in it giving you additional protection for somebody using your space. Please be sure you are clear on your policy and exclusions.
Having good user reviews will impact the number of future inquiries and bookings you receive. We also encourage our hosts leave a thoughtful review for guests following a successful booking.
Always be polite and try to resolve any issue with renters first. Keep in mind that it is your garage and your rules. Should an issue arise, be sure to keep your communication with renters within the Garagetime messaging platform.
If you can’t handle it you can always contact Garagetime. We’re here as a garage advocate and want to make sure your concerns are addressed.