Coming very soon: Posting a tool tutorial
Coming very soon: Conducting a lending transaction tutorial
Coming very soon: Searching for / borrowing a tool tutorial
New User's Guide
Dispute Resolution FAQ
Lender Flowchartpdf
Borrower Flowchartpdf

Q: Why does AST keep $0.30 of the deposit payment?

A: We do this because Paypal now charges us for issuing refunds. We are looking into other payment processing systems, but currently this is what we have to work with.

Q: What information do I need to include with shipping payments to the lender?

A: You need to include the PaypalID and the AST ID (not the part number, but item number within the AST system) in the subject line & "notes" section of the Paypal payment. This information can be found under the "Order History" link and also in many of the emails from AST. This info will help the lender keep track of which shipping payments have been received.

Q: Do I need a Paypal account to use this service?

A: Yes. Borrowers need an account to send deposit payments to AST and any shipping payments directly to the lender's account while lenders need an account to receive rental payments from borrowers through our site.

Q: How does Automotive Specialty Tool make money?

A: The site makes money (or hopes to, anyway) on processed transactions. This means that once a transaction takes place (borrower indicates the need to borrow, lender approves, and money is exchanged), the site takes a small fee currently calculated as follows: AST fee = $0.20 flat fee per tool + 3% of whatever the lender charges the borrower to RENT each tool in the cart. Paypal fees are additional fees required to transfer funds between the appropriate accounts.

Q: What if I lend a tool out and it does not come back?

A: First, check with the person who rented from you to see what they say via email. If they say they shipped it out to you, check the tracking number or call the shipping carrier to see if anything happened in transit. After that, if you suspect malicious intent on the part of the renter, you should file a dispute. One thing to keep in mind is that there will be a few bad apples out there. Be smart about your transactions and make sure you monitor the condition of the tool using, follow the process outlined in the lender flowchart, and complete and ship the transaction monitoring template with the tool along with keeping your own records.

Q: What if I borrow a tool and it comes in broken?

A: First, check with the person who lent to you to see what they say via email. Then check to see if anything happened in shipping which would be covered by the carrier's insurance. Next, file a dispute. This process will take time as AST and, potentially, the third party vendor will conduct a thorough investigation of the matter. In the meantime, if you need a tool, check the search page and see if there is another tool that meets your criteria up for rent. Be smart about your transactions and make sure you monitor the condition of the tool using, follow the process outlined in the borrower flowchart, and follow the instructions on the completed transaction monitoring template that you should have received with the item. You will also want to keep your own records.

Q: What if I lend a tool and it comes back broken?

A: First, check with the person who lent to you to see what they say via email. Then check to see if anything happened in shipping which would be covered by the carrier's insurance. One thing lenders must understand is that the cost of wear and tear of a tool should be included in the rental price. If you feel the tool is damaged in a way that is inconsistent with normal use, you would have grounds for a dispute. During the dispute process, it is recommended that you inform other potential renters that the tool has become unavailable until the issue at hand is resolved. Be smart about your transactions and make sure you monitor the condition of the tool using, follow the process outlined in the lender flowchart, and complete and ship the transaction monitoring template with the tool along with keeping your own records.

Q: What if I rent a tool and I need it for a longer period of time?

A: Contact the lender as they probably would not mind making a bit more money while helping you out.

Q: I have a comment, question, or suggestion about the site? Who can I talk to?

A: Questions, comments, and concerns should be entered on our contact form. Emails will be read and a response will be emailed, if necessary, within one week.

Q: What if I have multiple requests for the same tool for the same time period?

A: The service is first come, first served. However, you can send an email out to the "runner up" to see if they don't mind waiting until the tool comes available again.

Q: I am interested in advertising my products/services on . Where can I find more information?

A: Please use our contact form to submit your request. We will do our best to review your request and respond in a timely manner.

Q: I am a forum administrator/moderator and am interested in affiliating with . Where can I find more information?

A: Automotive Specialty Tool is a firm supporter of the passage of DIY knowledge to those willing to learn. We strive to raise the bar in terms of writing technical articles, taking pictures, recording videos, and maintaining an active online presence with affiliated forums. We do not feel the need to reinvent the wheel, so we typically will send people looking for the "how-to" toward an affiliated forum site while affiliated forum sites would typically link back to this site when someone is looking to rent a tool for a specific job in an article, video, how-to, or thread. This is typically done by placing a hyperlink behind each tool listed for a particular DIY job. Please use our contact form to submit your request. Thanks for your interest!

Q: I ran out of USPS flat rate boxes. How can I get more?

A: Please click the following Link and enter in the pertinent information.

Q: How do I estimate shipping to charge for getting the item to the borrower?

A: If you're a first time lender, my best recommendation is to use USPS flat rate shipping if your item qualifies. If it doesn't, it is worth your while to find a box, measure it, and weigh it with the item fully packed. You can store this information on our database for retrieval later. This way, you do the data collection once and then can put this information into shipping estimate calculators available on several shipping carrier websites. Keep in mind that we do not set up the shipping for you. That is something for the lender and borrower to discuss directly. Once you do decide on a shipping method, you can define this cost as part of the tool advertisement on the site to give borrowers a better idea of total up front cost. Do not be afraid to negotiate via messaging each other, but please do this BEFORE processing shopping carts or sending deposits.

Q: How do I figure out how much to charge for a rental period?

A: See what other folks are charging. If that information is not available, survey results indicate that most folks are willing to pay between 5 and 20% of the purchase price of the tool to rent it for a 1 month period (1 week shipping out, 1-2 weeks of use, 1 week return shipping).

Q: I charged a deposit for a tool I lent out. I have received the tool back. How do I refund the deposit?

A: Log into your AST account and click on "Check Tools Back In". If the tool is available on this page, select the tool in question and click the check mark next to it. If the tool is not available in this menu, please contact the borrower and let him/her know that he/she needs to log into AST, click on "My Account" followed by "Return Tools" and follow the instructions to let AST know the item is being returned to you. Once the borrower does the this and you check the tool(s) back in, the borrower will be refunded (all but $0.30) and you will each receive confirmation emails at the addresses on file with us.

Q: What if a tool I need is not listed?

A: There are a few options here:

  1. You can opt to buy the item yourself from a vendor and then post it up here when you're not using it.
  2. You can connect with other members via the forums to perhaps borrow the tool from them directly or encourage them to post their tool on here :)
  3. You can request that we try to find this tool somewhere in our vast network and bring it to the table.

Q: I lend my tools out for free. Why do you feel the need to charge a fee?

A: Charging a fee to members was a major deliberation during the creation of the company and this web service. Initially, we were going to rely on advertising dollars, but we soon realized that people really don't like to be hammered with ads everywhere (which is really what it would take to pay off all of the $$ required to create the site). We elected to use a transaction based fee over a subscription fee because we feel that we shouldn't make money if you don't make money. Further, if you are fortunate enough to have an awesome network of DIY buddies such that you have free access to whatever tool you might need, we think that's awesome! We hope that some day everyone will have those connections so that sites like this can transform into something even more useful to the DIY community. In conclusion, we support free lending of tools with other friends, but when you want to make some cash, we help you locate those potential borrowers with whom you may never connect or otherwise develop a relationship. If you use the site once and find a mecca of tools available around you through the site and then never use the site again because you now have a direct relationship, GREAT!

Q: What if the borrower wants to buy a tool?

A: Borrowers can also contact the lender directly about this.

Q: What if the owner doesn't want to sell it but the renter already has possession of his tool? Suppose the owner learns of the renters desire to buy after the renter takes possession.

A: Since all of the users of the site will be paypal verified, a renter hanging onto a tool w/o the lenders consent should not be a problem. In addition, lenders will still have the borrower's deposit/retainer fee as collateral and chances are, the dispute resolution will find in the lender's favor in this case.

Q: What if the borrower wants to hold on to the tool for longer than the rental period? Will his account get charged for a second rental period?

A: Currently, this is not the case. The lender does have the final say on when he needs a tool back *if* the renter is requesting additional time... The site will eventually allow users to request additional weeks of use and bill accordingly only after the lender approves. In the mean time, we ask that the parties involved discuss this directly.

Q: What if the borrower gets the tool, and then stops all communication to the lender? At what point does the borrowers' account get charged for the tool deposit?

A: If you charged a deposit and the borrower/renter makes no attempt to contact you after the rental period and tool return period (typically a 4 week total period of time), then you would file a dispute with us by sending an email and selecting disputes in the regarding field, specifying the AST ID(s) of the items, transaction ID, and your role in the transaction (lender/borrower) in the subject line.

Q: If tool owners are setting their own rental prices and terms, should they also be required to list a purchase price? That way, the owner is covered if the borrower flakes.

A: Tool purchase prices should be documented for deposit purposes. There is a field in the "Post a Tool" page that allows the lender to list this value to be paid to the AST account for holding during the rental period.

Q: What if the lender ships the wrong tool? Does the borrower have to pay return shipping twice (for a total of 3 times)? Does the lender have to pay for the 2nd outbound shipment?

A: If the lender ships the wrong tool, the lender pays return shipping back to himself. The lender will also pay the shipping cost of the correct tool to the borrower. It pays to keep on top of things!
NOTE: AST has no direct control over fees associated with shipping, but you do can file a claim if the issue is not resolved to your liking.

Q: What if a borrower returns a tool on time and in working condition. What prevents the lender from just keeping the deposit instead of returning it?

A: Currently, the deposit will be held in an account managed by AST, not by the lender. You will get your deposit back (minus $0.30) assuming both parties agree to a good, completed transaction or if the lender disapproves the transaction. If not, it will go to dispute resolution.

Q: What if I want to book a tool for a future rental date?

A: This is not possible to do if the tool is currently rented out. This capability is in the works as an early 2011 feature addition.

Q: Can I package multiple tools for a specific job together as a single "item"?

A: Sure. In fact, it may make more sense especially if the items work well together to save on shipping expenses.

Q: I think I've found a bug. How can I report it?

A: Send an email and select bugs in the regarding field. We greatly appreciate your help in finding/solving problems with the site!