Do-it-yourself repair shop

In Vancouver, British Columbia, there is a motorcycle repair shop that lets you use their tools and someone shows you how to fix your bike yourself.  Here is a video about the business, which is called Motomethod:

The Motomethod Story from Zenga Bros on Vimeo.

The video shows the two owners enthusiastic about their vocation, including their zeal to love and serve their customers.

Would you say the do-it-yourself impulse is an example of vocation (cultivating your talents)  or the repudiation of vocation (not letting yourself be served by someone else)?

Can you think of other businesses built on this model?

HT:  Rich Shipe

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    There’s also a car store, where you can manufacture your own car. They send you a DVD and help out with the assembly. Highly succesful, I hear.

    http://www.local-motors.com/

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    There’s also a car store, where you can manufacture your own car. They send you a DVD and help out with the assembly. Highly succesful, I hear.

    http://www.local-motors.com/

  • Pete

    My son tells me about a bicycle shop in Chapel Hill, NC, where you can work, learn the skills and get paid in credits towards eventually building your own bike. A great idea for a place with a young, energetic, transient population in a bike-orented place.

  • Pete

    My son tells me about a bicycle shop in Chapel Hill, NC, where you can work, learn the skills and get paid in credits towards eventually building your own bike. A great idea for a place with a young, energetic, transient population in a bike-orented place.

  • Tom Hering

    It all began twenty-two years ago, on June 14, 1990:

    KRAMER: We give you the dough. You smash it, you pound it, you fling it in the air. And then you get to put on your sauce. And you get to sprinkle your cheese. And then you sl-i-i-i-de it into the oven!

    GOERGE: You know, you have to know how to do that. You can’t have people shoving their arms into a six-hundred degree oven.

    KRAMER: It’s all supervised.

  • Tom Hering

    It all began twenty-two years ago, on June 14, 1990:

    KRAMER: We give you the dough. You smash it, you pound it, you fling it in the air. And then you get to put on your sauce. And you get to sprinkle your cheese. And then you sl-i-i-i-de it into the oven!

    GOERGE: You know, you have to know how to do that. You can’t have people shoving their arms into a six-hundred degree oven.

    KRAMER: It’s all supervised.

  • Random Lutheran

    People like to share what they’re enthusiastic about, and they make opportunities for learning, teaching, and collaboration that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Places like these are popping up, too, as well as these.

  • Random Lutheran

    People like to share what they’re enthusiastic about, and they make opportunities for learning, teaching, and collaboration that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Places like these are popping up, too, as well as these.

  • Danny

    These guys are classical anarchists.

  • Danny

    These guys are classical anarchists.

  • Tom Hering

    Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, on developing expertise, and a really important aspect of some vocations:

    CRAWFORD: … becoming competent at building things and fixing things can actually cultivate certain virtues that we normally think of as ethical virtues.

    INTERVIEWER: Such as?

    CRAWFORD: Well, individual responsibility. When you’re dealing with material stuff, it generally lets you know right away if you’ve gotten something wrong, and the stakes can be quite high. I mean, in fixing people’s motorcycles, if you get it wrong, someone could get hurt, or you could hurt yourself. So there’s a kind of keen awareness of catastrophe as this possibility that’s always sort of hovering over your shoulder …

    http://www.booktv.org/Program/11418/2010+Virginia+Festival+of+the+Book+Matthew+Crawford+Shop+Class+as+Soulcraft+An+Inquiry+Into+the+Value+of+Work.aspx

  • Tom Hering

    Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, on developing expertise, and a really important aspect of some vocations:

    CRAWFORD: … becoming competent at building things and fixing things can actually cultivate certain virtues that we normally think of as ethical virtues.

    INTERVIEWER: Such as?

    CRAWFORD: Well, individual responsibility. When you’re dealing with material stuff, it generally lets you know right away if you’ve gotten something wrong, and the stakes can be quite high. I mean, in fixing people’s motorcycles, if you get it wrong, someone could get hurt, or you could hurt yourself. So there’s a kind of keen awareness of catastrophe as this possibility that’s always sort of hovering over your shoulder …

    http://www.booktv.org/Program/11418/2010+Virginia+Festival+of+the+Book+Matthew+Crawford+Shop+Class+as+Soulcraft+An+Inquiry+Into+the+Value+of+Work.aspx

  • kerner

    Back when they had a lot of “U-Frame-It” operations, I put frames on all my wife’s needlepoint and counted cross-stitch projects. The Store cut the frame stock and the glass to the proper size and sent you to a work station with the proper tools and some basic instructions, and you assembled the frame and matting yourself. It was a fun hobby and her work is all over our house because of that.

    But now she has some finished projects sitting in a drawer because all the U-Frame-It places seem to have closed and she is too stubborn to pay $150.00 for a nice frame for a large picture (when the project kit cost half that).

    I kind of miss doing that with her.

  • kerner

    Back when they had a lot of “U-Frame-It” operations, I put frames on all my wife’s needlepoint and counted cross-stitch projects. The Store cut the frame stock and the glass to the proper size and sent you to a work station with the proper tools and some basic instructions, and you assembled the frame and matting yourself. It was a fun hobby and her work is all over our house because of that.

    But now she has some finished projects sitting in a drawer because all the U-Frame-It places seem to have closed and she is too stubborn to pay $150.00 for a nice frame for a large picture (when the project kit cost half that).

    I kind of miss doing that with her.

  • Jon

    The US military’s morale welfare and recreation program has automotive hobby shops, wood shops, picture framing shops, and arts and crafts shops where military members and their family can come and learn a skill and save money with DIY. That was started after the second world war.

    As far as DIY goes, if I can get enough information about how to do something, and I have time to invest in doing the work, then I am more than happy to give it a go myself. Otherwise, I am happy to let the pro’s do it.

  • Jon

    The US military’s morale welfare and recreation program has automotive hobby shops, wood shops, picture framing shops, and arts and crafts shops where military members and their family can come and learn a skill and save money with DIY. That was started after the second world war.

    As far as DIY goes, if I can get enough information about how to do something, and I have time to invest in doing the work, then I am more than happy to give it a go myself. Otherwise, I am happy to let the pro’s do it.

  • richard williams

    tucson has BICAS http://bicas.org/

  • richard williams

    tucson has BICAS http://bicas.org/

  • Kirk

    I’ve always thought that a business model like this would be amazing, particularly in cities. I live in DC which, by comparison to many major cities, is fairly uncrowded. I live in a row house which is fairly spacious and I’ve got a little patio and front stoop. But I don’t have a garage. I don’t have a workshop. Even if I had some sort of handy skill, I’d have no place to store my tools, no place to store my project and not place to actually do the work on it. So I’ve thought it’d be great to have some sort of community workshop that people could come into and work on hobbies that they just don’t have the space for wherever they live. Maybe you charge people annual dues and then rent workbenches (or car lifts or kitchen ranges) out at an hourly rate. I doubt you’d ever make millions off it, but I think you could make a living and it’d be pretty fun.

  • Kirk

    I’ve always thought that a business model like this would be amazing, particularly in cities. I live in DC which, by comparison to many major cities, is fairly uncrowded. I live in a row house which is fairly spacious and I’ve got a little patio and front stoop. But I don’t have a garage. I don’t have a workshop. Even if I had some sort of handy skill, I’d have no place to store my tools, no place to store my project and not place to actually do the work on it. So I’ve thought it’d be great to have some sort of community workshop that people could come into and work on hobbies that they just don’t have the space for wherever they live. Maybe you charge people annual dues and then rent workbenches (or car lifts or kitchen ranges) out at an hourly rate. I doubt you’d ever make millions off it, but I think you could make a living and it’d be pretty fun.

  • Tom Hering

    What’s insurance like for these businesses where customers can injure themselves – both on and (in the case of vehicle repair) off premises?

  • Tom Hering

    What’s insurance like for these businesses where customers can injure themselves – both on and (in the case of vehicle repair) off premises?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror erickson

    I think if God has given you the desire and the abilities to learn how to do something as a hobby in addition to your “Vocation”, then you should do it and it is not an attack on vocation. There are many people who just can’t work on their own vehicles, and won’t. Some people make a career out of another’s hobby. But especially when you have a desk job, and never get to see concrete fruit of your own labor, it is nice to have a hobby that allows you to get your hands dirty and make something. It also helps if that hobby saves you money, or makes you money. This is why rabbi’s were always trained in a trade as well as in scripture. It’s why Paul made tents, and earned a living from the Gospel. Which he did, just not in Corinth. learning how to do something yourself can be seen as furthering one’s vocation as father, as the money might be better spent elsewhere.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror erickson

    I think if God has given you the desire and the abilities to learn how to do something as a hobby in addition to your “Vocation”, then you should do it and it is not an attack on vocation. There are many people who just can’t work on their own vehicles, and won’t. Some people make a career out of another’s hobby. But especially when you have a desk job, and never get to see concrete fruit of your own labor, it is nice to have a hobby that allows you to get your hands dirty and make something. It also helps if that hobby saves you money, or makes you money. This is why rabbi’s were always trained in a trade as well as in scripture. It’s why Paul made tents, and earned a living from the Gospel. Which he did, just not in Corinth. learning how to do something yourself can be seen as furthering one’s vocation as father, as the money might be better spent elsewhere.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom – Probably not much more, if not equal to, the standard rate for any sort of commercial enterprise insurance which involves automotive or vehicle repair services to the public.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom – Probably not much more, if not equal to, the standard rate for any sort of commercial enterprise insurance which involves automotive or vehicle repair services to the public.

  • Kirk

    @ Tom

    That’s what I always wonder. I bet there’d have to be some pretty strict contracts signed.

  • Kirk

    @ Tom

    That’s what I always wonder. I bet there’d have to be some pretty strict contracts signed.

  • Joe

    This is how I learned about cars. Back in high school I worked at the local farmers co-op. One of my co-workers was a mechanic by trade. He would help anyone fix their cars. He wouldn’t take money for his time, instead he demanded that you be there to help. He always said his goal was to help you with something once. You would be able to do it yourself the next time.

    He died a few months ago, in a garage helping his son fix his car. RIP Rich.

  • Joe

    This is how I learned about cars. Back in high school I worked at the local farmers co-op. One of my co-workers was a mechanic by trade. He would help anyone fix their cars. He wouldn’t take money for his time, instead he demanded that you be there to help. He always said his goal was to help you with something once. You would be able to do it yourself the next time.

    He died a few months ago, in a garage helping his son fix his car. RIP Rich.

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 13, okay, but it must be costly. To cover your customers injuring themselves in your shop, as well as injuring themselves – and others – on the road, due to a faulty repair, performed under your supervision. Sounds like a field day for lawyers, some of whom already specialize in vehicle accidents caused by incompetent shop and DIY work.

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 13, okay, but it must be costly. To cover your customers injuring themselves in your shop, as well as injuring themselves – and others – on the road, due to a faulty repair, performed under your supervision. Sounds like a field day for lawyers, some of whom already specialize in vehicle accidents caused by incompetent shop and DIY work.

  • Jon

    Bror says “This is why rabbi’s were always trained in a trade as well as in scripture. It’s why Paul made tents, and earned a living from the Gospel. Which he did, just not in Corinth.”

    And Joseph taught Jesus carpentry….

    So why is it that our seminaries don’t emphasize this practice? As if the man has to be in this calling full-time or he’s something less? Instead you hear pastors poo-poo the seminarians who are the “re-tread’s” or the part-time, fast track, work-a-day joes.

    Seems you could fill a lot more vacancies that way.

  • Jon

    Bror says “This is why rabbi’s were always trained in a trade as well as in scripture. It’s why Paul made tents, and earned a living from the Gospel. Which he did, just not in Corinth.”

    And Joseph taught Jesus carpentry….

    So why is it that our seminaries don’t emphasize this practice? As if the man has to be in this calling full-time or he’s something less? Instead you hear pastors poo-poo the seminarians who are the “re-tread’s” or the part-time, fast track, work-a-day joes.

    Seems you could fill a lot more vacancies that way.

  • Matthew

    This is what primary care physicians do every day. I can give you a bunch of pills and inhalers, or you can
    1. Stop smoking
    2. Eat healthy foods in moderation
    3. Get enough exercise
    4. Get enough rest
    5. Brush your teeth
    6. Practice sexual continence
    7. Understand that not everything can be fixed

    In my experience, most people prefer the pills.

  • Matthew

    This is what primary care physicians do every day. I can give you a bunch of pills and inhalers, or you can
    1. Stop smoking
    2. Eat healthy foods in moderation
    3. Get enough exercise
    4. Get enough rest
    5. Brush your teeth
    6. Practice sexual continence
    7. Understand that not everything can be fixed

    In my experience, most people prefer the pills.

  • Kirk

    @ Jon

    It was (and still is in some places) a component of the Monastic tradition. The monks at Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren, for example, make what many consider to be the best beer in the world to support their Abby. They only make enough to get by, but it’s still critical to their survival as an order and as ministers.

  • Kirk

    @ Jon

    It was (and still is in some places) a component of the Monastic tradition. The monks at Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren, for example, make what many consider to be the best beer in the world to support their Abby. They only make enough to get by, but it’s still critical to their survival as an order and as ministers.

  • Tom Hering

    Here’s something you might like, Kirk:

    http://www.gethsemanifarms.org/

    I love good fruitcake, and have always wanted to taste theirs.

  • Tom Hering

    Here’s something you might like, Kirk:

    http://www.gethsemanifarms.org/

    I love good fruitcake, and have always wanted to taste theirs.

  • kerner

    Tom @ 16:

    Sure we’ll have a field day, on the other hand, if you go to a DYI motorcycle repair shop and you feel the need to sue, you can always go to a Self Help Legal services outlet to address it:

    http://dir.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Shopping_and_Services/Law/Legal_Services/Self_Help/?skw=self+help+legal+services

    I guess what goes around comes around.

  • kerner

    Tom @ 16:

    Sure we’ll have a field day, on the other hand, if you go to a DYI motorcycle repair shop and you feel the need to sue, you can always go to a Self Help Legal services outlet to address it:

    http://dir.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Shopping_and_Services/Law/Legal_Services/Self_Help/?skw=self+help+legal+services

    I guess what goes around comes around.

  • Kirk

    “I love good fruitcake”

    Might be the first time that phrase was ever uttered in regards to actual cake.

  • Kirk

    “I love good fruitcake”

    Might be the first time that phrase was ever uttered in regards to actual cake.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Sounds like a good old-fashioned shade tree mechanic to me.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Sounds like a good old-fashioned shade tree mechanic to me.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Hey Kirk – it is only since I’ve come into regular contact with Americans that I discovered that fruitcake is something people can actually dislike? What do you guys put into it? I love the stuff. Without the marzipan though….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Hey Kirk – it is only since I’ve come into regular contact with Americans that I discovered that fruitcake is something people can actually dislike? What do you guys put into it? I love the stuff. Without the marzipan though….

  • Jon

    Kirk @19

    How many Lutheran seminaries do you know of that do that sort of thing? Any Lutheran Monkeries?

    That’s my point is that there are those who look down their noses at anyone who goes through a different route than the full-time sem and then they still lament that there are no calls available for these guys who do it.

    Seems it’s better to have a backup plan, or do sem on the side, or be a part-time minister of the Gospel. Need to have more than one capability in a vocation.

  • Jon

    Kirk @19

    How many Lutheran seminaries do you know of that do that sort of thing? Any Lutheran Monkeries?

    That’s my point is that there are those who look down their noses at anyone who goes through a different route than the full-time sem and then they still lament that there are no calls available for these guys who do it.

    Seems it’s better to have a backup plan, or do sem on the side, or be a part-time minister of the Gospel. Need to have more than one capability in a vocation.

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie @ 24, I’ve spit some some pretty awful fruitcake out of my mouth – usually very bitter, and usually dry as year-old bread. Sometimes it’s been soaked in alcohol to the point where fumes are the only thing you experience. I think people make them, and give them away as holiday gifts, without ever tasting them first. (I can’t explain the action of these terrorists any other way.)

    Some people just don’t like the candied zest (citron, lemon, and orange peels). Not even even if it’s well-balanced with dates, cherries, raisins, sugar, and pineapple.

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie @ 24, I’ve spit some some pretty awful fruitcake out of my mouth – usually very bitter, and usually dry as year-old bread. Sometimes it’s been soaked in alcohol to the point where fumes are the only thing you experience. I think people make them, and give them away as holiday gifts, without ever tasting them first. (I can’t explain the action of these terrorists any other way.)

    Some people just don’t like the candied zest (citron, lemon, and orange peels). Not even even if it’s well-balanced with dates, cherries, raisins, sugar, and pineapple.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, well then there is just an abundance of bad (home) bakers… I made some myself this past Christmas – no candied anything, but lots of dried fruits and dates, with spices etc. Wrt the alcohol – you have to sprinkle it bit by bit, say once a week, over a long period, to build up the rich flavour, without getting that soaked taste you write about. I used French cognac, bit by bit, over a 10 week period…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, well then there is just an abundance of bad (home) bakers… I made some myself this past Christmas – no candied anything, but lots of dried fruits and dates, with spices etc. Wrt the alcohol – you have to sprinkle it bit by bit, say once a week, over a long period, to build up the rich flavour, without getting that soaked taste you write about. I used French cognac, bit by bit, over a 10 week period…

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @20
    “I love good fruitcake, and have always wanted to taste theirs.”

    Good fruitcake is awesome!! My grandmother made wonderful fruitcake.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @20
    “I love good fruitcake, and have always wanted to taste theirs.”

    Good fruitcake is awesome!! My grandmother made wonderful fruitcake.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg@ 28 – Ah – something we can defintely agree on, it seems! Do you remember what she put in it / do you still have a recipe (hint hint nudge nudge)?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg@ 28 – Ah – something we can defintely agree on, it seems! Do you remember what she put in it / do you still have a recipe (hint hint nudge nudge)?

  • http://www.flawlessgloss.com.au/ Smash Repairs

    Hello,
    I love good fruitcake, and have always wanted to taste theirs,
    thanks

  • http://www.flawlessgloss.com.au/ Smash Repairs

    Hello,
    I love good fruitcake, and have always wanted to taste theirs,
    thanks

  • http://www.pjspanels.com.au pjspanels

    Many thanks for sharing such a wonderful information with us…many thanks

  • http://www.pjspanels.com.au pjspanels

    Many thanks for sharing such a wonderful information with us…many thanks


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