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Thread: rental shop space in NoVA... fantasy or possible?

                  
   
  1. #1
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    rental shop space in NoVA... fantasy or possible?

    As with most folks that are into motorsport in the DC area that aren't lobbyists or independently wealthy, I have projects that are difficult or impossible to accomplish in the space I have at my residence. The condo board frowns upon doing things like welding next to other resident's cars in the next space. Also most of these projects I have in mind are not a good fit for something like a DIY event. So I'm at the point of considering committing funds to renting shop space. But where to find such a thing? Does it exist anywhere in NoVa closer than the outer reaches of Prince William or Loudoun County? The few places I have found that are close to what I'm looking for are impossibly expensive because they are commercial properties that expect you to be making money there.

    Has anyone heard of anyone successfully doing this around here, and if so how much did it cost?

    Basic requirements are that it have electrical, proper ventilation, and relatively high tolerance for the noise that comes with air tools. I would be willing for instance to rent a garage behind someone's house, as long as they didn't mind me being loud during the day.

  2. #2
    Senior Member John in VA's Avatar
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    There have been some operations like this - rent & liability insurance costs are their demise.
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    Senior Member pseto's Avatar
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    All the DIY shops that either opened or tried have all failed. The only optionis on a military base if you can get access.
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    I'm not talking about DIY shops. I know that the insurance for any type of operation like that is ruinous.

    I'm talking about ways to find space for rent. Whether it be commercial space or finding some guy with a garage that he doesn't use (like that exists).

    I was curious if anyone on here had done it or heard of anyone that did it, and how much it cost. The likelihood is slim, but I figured it was worth asking just to say I had.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by gmu525i View Post
    I'm not talking about DIY shops. I know that the insurance for any type of operation like that is ruinous.

    I'm talking about ways to find space for rent. Whether it be commercial space or finding some guy with a garage that he doesn't use (like that exists).

    I was curious if anyone on here had done it or heard of anyone that did it, and how much it cost. The likelihood is slim, but I figured it was worth asking just to say I had.
    Businesses that rent space to work on cars, with or without tools, with or without access to help/advice, were once an up-and-coming thing. Not many seem to have survived but there are still a few around. After some very cursory searching, I found American Do-It-Yourself Garage in Virginia Beach and the Auto Skills Center at Fort Belvoir (though I don't know if that is open to civilians). Alas, you're too late for Do It Yourself Mechanics in Sterling. But a better search might find more, and for all I know, a new one will open tomorrow...

    There's a growing international volunteer movement that calls itself Repair Cafe which organizes community gatherings where people with broken appliances/bicycles/toys/jewelry gather with volunteers who repair/teach how to repair them. There seems to be an active one in Charlottesville called the Cville TimeBank, and their next Repair Cafe is Saturday, September 16. This is not what you are looking for, but someone involved with this may be able to help you find what you're looking for... Couldn't hurt to ask...

  6. #6
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    Just for grins I put a thing on Craigslist of the "WANTED" variety. The only response I got was a guy saying "yeah I'm in the same boat, good luck..."

    I guess it just comes down the fact that this is an expensive area to have hobbies, especially ones like that require activity-specific space (car projects, boating, etc). Unless you are in the BMW of Sterling tax bracket... ;-)

    Maybe I will sell my tools and take up knitting or something. Maybe that's cheaper... lol

    (Just kidding, not going to sell my tools.)

  7. #7
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    My friend and also neighbor does Formula Ford Racing. Our HOA frowns on our activities even though we do pretty good on keeping it low key. He was able to rent a storage/garage space with three bays in Washington Co. Maryland for six hundred a month with three bays. The insurance that covers the contents (tools, electronics,etc) are covered by renters insurance. The cars are covered by your auto policy. If you don't mind the drive and need a dedicated work space, you may have a travel a bit away from NOVA for some decent rental prices.

  8. #8
    I am a veteran in this arena.

    Around 2008, I lived in north west Baltimore a few years back (Parkville Area) and rented an apartment. I had finished working for Ford dealerships and had transitioned on to wrenching as a contractor on Aberdeen Provings Ground. That left me with no where to work on my projects (everything I had was basically a project). So I combed over craiglist for a while, lucked out, found basically a garage and a half space to rent in Dundalk. I paid 200 a month for it. I kept it until around 2014.

    Currently, I live in Sykesville MD, my wife and I own a townhome. I have transitioned into work on heavy trucks, and truck shops do not under any circumstances, allow side projects to happen. Typically shops are open till at least midnight, so that hinders side jobs, as the shops busy from 530am until midnight. Gaining some road work experience under my belt, any job that takes 8 hours or less I do out on my 'little' side road outside of my HOA townhome community, but this left me desiring a bit more after the cylinder heads on my Diesel Ford needed to come off and be replaced. I wanted to be able to remove the tags and insurance for whatever ride went under the knife, while also having 110v access. I searched craigslist for months, looked at a few places, but could not lock in something good. The biggest issue I had was the truck is 24 feet long, not many inner city garages have the kind of space. I finally found space an hour away from Sykesville, but only 15 minutes from my Dads house. The garage was big enough to fit my truck, is located in Shrewsbury PA. I choose this location, for when my son is born, on some weekends, I can drop him off at my dads, knock some work out, then go and pick him up and bring him home. I currently rent this place, it costs 200 a month. the nice folks that rented it, rented it with the idea I was going to turn wrenches there, some little garage spaces frown upon this highly, but these kind people had another garage where the gentlemen is doing the same thing I am. It should be great in the winter, I need another kerosene heater though

    So morale of the story, search on craigslist high and low, you may get lucky. Your search should be easier, as you probably don't need over 20 feet, and most garages clock in right at 20 feet.
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  9. #9
    p.s. if you find rental garage workspace in Montgomery county, I believe that is in between Nova and where I live, I would split it with you, barring its big enough for two folks to work on the projects they have. Numbers allow extra space to be gained for sure.
    2011 BMX X5 Xdrive50i - Side skirts
    2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.7L V8 - Wife's Truck - BT Catch can
    1995 Ford Thunderbird 4.6 V8 LX - Large rear sway bar, 12" Alpine R Sub, Sport wheels
    1984 Ford F250 Diesel - Turbo kit, captains chairs, larger tires, in process of doing head studs and a host of other mods

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