Motorcycle repair and maintenance can be expensive. Labor typically costs more than $100 per hour and that’s before you ring up the price of parts. For riders in urban areas, apartment living rarely provides the luxury of a personal garage, eliminating the prospect of wrenching on your bike. That’s where Dunn Lewis, a do-it-yourself motorcycle garage in Washington D.C., steps in.
At $30 for 3 months, Dunn Lewis members gain access to the shop’s floor and assorted tools. Other membership options include $50 and $100 tiers that increase the number of hours a customer can use the facilities per month. The DIY shop also offers workshops, classes, and clinics along with a six-month course covering the inner-workings of a motorcycle.
“Education is a very important part of what we’re doing here,” Dunn Lewis owner Mason Anderson-Sweet told DCist. “We very much want people to understand their motorcycles.”
Dunn Lewis started as a Craigslist listing that developed into a pop-up repair shop before finding its permanent digs in the up and coming Ivy City neighborhood. If that isn’t the blueprint for a Millennial business, I don’t know what is.
Along with the unconventional business model, Dunn Lewis also takes a different approach to attracting customers. Anderson-Sweet designed the space with a trendy, industrial-chic aesthetic that feels more like a boutique than a garage. A wall of tools and defunct motorcycles clutter one side of the shop while curated jackets, designer t-shirts, and mugs decorate the other.
“I kind of describe it as a lifestyle shop,” said Laurel Bray, who handles the retail space at Dunn Lewis.
Though the shop currently includes over 100 members, boutique sales are responsible for the majority of the Dunn Lewis’ revenue. The DIY garage even supplements income with sales of artisanal ice cream sandwiches. How hipster is that?
Placing high emphasis on community, Dunn Lewis offers social perks as well. The shop regularly holds group rides, movie nights, and MotoGP watch-parties.
“I met a lot of good people here,” said member, Justin Ward. “It’s actually one of my favorite spots in the city to come hang out.”
Over the past decade, DIY shops have popped up in several American cities. MotoGuild in San Francisco, Standard Motorcycle Co. in Orlando, and Lucky Wheels in Los Angeles all offer membership options that suit the differing needs of their clientele.
If you’re planning on starting a new project or just learning how to maintain a motorcycle, look up your local DIY shop. You may just save some coin and gain a lot of new skills in the process.