Most Recent Interview
163: Stewart Waliser of Stews Self Service Garage
Stewart grew up in a Seattle suburb and was an active kid. When he turned 16, he got a beater $500 car and was tasked with keeping it running. He used this car to learn maintenance and slowly acquired mechanical skills. He went to college and continued to modify cars. He was living gin the dorm and didn’t have a place to do the work so he called several shops, but nobody would allow him to do the work at their shop. It was at this point that he shifted from wanting to be a surgeon to owning a DIY garage. He spent all winter break creating a business plan and researched other self-service garages to see if the idea was even feasible.
After dealing with a shady real estate broker, difficulties with city zoning, fire marshal fixes, and having to relocate with a 3-day notice, he was finally able to open his self-service garage. He has now been in business for 5 years and has signed another 5-year lease. The goal for this year is to expand and grow the business. He currently has 7 bays with lifts, provides tools and some specialty machines, and employees 4 employees to help around the shop. They keep things simple by charging a flat rate for time and not doing a la cart charges to use tools or ask questions.