New User's Guide

1. Introduction

This guide is designed to serve as a crash course in how to use the features contained within as well as its affiliates. This guide will brush over the following topics:

  • Registration
  • Posting your first tool/part to rent to others
  • Renting your first tool/part from someone else
  • Other "My Account" features
  • Our social media accounts
  • Our affiliated forum and vendor sites
  • How to contact us
  • Event presence (HPDE, trade shows, etc.)
  • Plans for the future

2. Registration

Before doing anything beyond browsing available tools, prospective users must first read and electronically sign the terms of use document. Once this is complete, we recommend that you register for and verify your Paypal account if you have not already done so. Next, if planning on lending tools to others, we recommend you move on to the next section in this guide. If merely renting from others, take a look at our dispute resolution policy document and our tool search engine to see what is available for rent at the moment. In addition, be sure to add at least one of our social media accounts to your "friends" list: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This will help you stay on top of updates to the site, local events, etc.

3. Posting your first tool/part for rent to others - Lender Flowchartpdf

Posting a tool tutorial [click to launch in new window]

Conducting a lending transaction tutorial videos - coming soon

You'll notice, when you elect to post your first tool for lending to others, that there are several fields which you can fill out as the owner of the tool. To facilitate transactions, we recommend you enter as much information as possible.

First, decide on a deposit that would cover the cost of the tool if it disappeared or got damaged. This value will be paid by the borrower, through Paypal, to Automotive Specialty Tool upon checkout. We will send a confirmation email to both the lender and the borrower when we receive this payment.

After you have decided on this value, go ahead and write a description of the tool and enter the deposit amount into the Deposit ($) field, tool part number, manufacturer, and take some pictures (be sure to upload them to the site!) Go ahead and enter a rental price you deem appropriate for one month of rental (out of your possession for about 30 days to include 1 week of outbound shipping, 2 weeks of use by the borrower, and 1 week of return shipping). Be sure to include some value for use of the tool as eventually, wear and tear will break it.

If you know of articles and/or how-to threads/videos on how to use the tool, please post those URLs as well. Be sure to find a suitable box for the tool/part and then measure the dimensions. Having these measurements as well as weighing the overall box in a "ready to ship" condition will aid the borrower in predicting shipping costs. We encourage everyone to look at USPS Flat Rate shipping options as they can provide significant cost savings. Any experience you have shipping the tool in the past should be posted in the item description as well (again, until we have a separate field for this information). Once you have this information entered, you can select availability dates and shipping options (pick up, shipping, pre-determined shipping, negotiate via messaging, or both), and finally whether or not the tool is active.

At this point, the item is ready to be posted for lending to others. We will notify you when a prospective borrower has agreed to both pay the deposit (which goes to our interim account) and pay you to rent the tool and ship it out to them. Again, we will notify you when we have, in fact, received the deposit payment from the borrower. At this point, you still have the option of approving or denying the request. If you deny the request, we will refund the deposit to the borrower and the rental fee will be automatically refunded by the site to the borrower account. We also ask that you refund any shipping costs paid to you prior to your "disapproval" of the rental transaction. You will get confirmation emails from Paypal regarding the incoming payments to your account. Our confirmation email will include the mailing address of the person to whom your tool has been rented as well as other pertinent information. We kindly ask that you ship the tool/part out via the agreed upon shipping method as soon as possible. When the tool gets returned, use the "Check Tools In" feature indicating that the tool was returned in good condition. Please refer to our dispute resolution process to ensure that you are as protected as possible with successive transactions involving the same tool/part by following our transaction monitoring template. If you have any questions regarding this process, please do not hesitate to contact us using our Contact form.

4. Renting your first part/tool from someone else - Borrower Flowchartpdf

Coming very soon: Searching for / borrowing a tool tutorial video

Renting your first tool/part can be exciting, especially if the rental prices are far less than what you can find those items for brand new... In any case, the easiest way to find a tool/part is to use the search function. This will poll all active tools for the information that you enter into the search box. You should try searching for manufacturers, part numbers, general tool descriptions (i.e. torque wrench as opposed to tech350) or anything else your heart desires. Once you have found something you like, click on the tool detail page to see if it is available when you need it. Be sure to look at the pictures and description to make sure you are OK with the required deposit, potential shipping costs (you can estimate using the provided dimensions and weight posted by the lender), & rental fee. You can add the item to your shopping cart to get an idea of most of the costs involved (aside from shipping). Take a look at any listed "how-to" links as they may assist you if you have not used the tool before. Also, the types of people typically on this site tend to be helpful. Since you can send messages to the lenders through the site, try contacting them with questions, availabilities, etc. especially if the tool might require some form of maintenance every time it is used. If, after all of this, you are comfortable with the tool rental, add it to your cart and either proceed to checkout or continue adding other tools you may need for your project using the same process detailed herein. You have the option of paying for your rental via Paypal or credit card (also handled through Paypal). You will have to make a separate payment to the lender's paypal account for the shipping payment indicated by the lender in the tool description or via email. Be sure to include the Paypal transaction ID, the tool number(s) of the corresponding shopping cart (found in "My Account" behind your "Order History" under the "Renting Transactions" heading). This payment must be sent and verified before the tool will be shipped to you. You will receive confirmation emails from AST regarding the receipt of your deposit (processed during checkout). You will receive notifications from AST and the lender indicating your deposit, rental fees, and shipping expenses have been refunded if for some reason he/she feels uncomfortable shipping the tool/part out at that time. If you have any questions regarding this process, please do not hesitate to contact us using our Contact form.

5. Other tools in the "My Account" area

You are able to edit your contact information at any time by clicking on the "Edit Customer Information", but keep in mind any current transactions with which you may be involved. Changing this information may cause the lender/borrower on the other end to get confused. You can update the password to your account by clicking on the "UPDATE PASSWORD" link. The "Order History" link is a running tally of all transactions to which you've been a party. Transactions are separated into renting and lending types and are also dated for convenience. The "Tools Rented" link takes you to a page that lists the tools/parts that you've successfully rented from others. This page is useful for keeping track of when the tools are due back, how much cash has been spent to rent it, etc. The "Check Tools Back In" is a lender tool developed to help keep track of inventory sent to others. It also helps track the quality and condition of the tool, although you should take pictures and write a description of the condition before and after each transaction for potential dispute resolution purposes. "Tools Pending Approval" indicates the tools which people have elected to borrow from you. You have the option of denying this request for any reason and refunding the payments. We encourage you to let the prospective borrower know why you've chosen to disapprove the payment. In addition to the above functions, you can also edit tools while they are not currently rented or pending. You can delete tools altogether under the same conditions.

6. Social media accounts

Automotive Specialty Tool LLC maintains accounts with:
Facebook Follow us on Twitter LinkedIn YouTube
We recommend you monitor at least YouTube and Facebook for updates and videos pertaining to different specialized tools that we will examine during the many vehicles with which we'll be working. We will also post up event photos and notes from various HPDE, racing, and show events from around the country.

7. Affiliated forums & vendor sites

Automotive Specialty Tool LLC strives to connect with the best and brightest web boards and vendors to help provide quality information and an awesome community for those just getting into DIY on a particular machine. Please see our affiliated sites for further information and how to get involved.

8. Contacting Us

If, at any time, you feel the need to contact us, please use our Contact form. We will do our very best to respond to you as quickly as possible.

9. Event presence

Automotive Specialty Tool maintains a 1994 Acura Integra race car that makes appearances at several HPDE events around the country each year. Our goal is to get more and more involved with those guys at the ground level and help to answer their concerns with access to better information, better (and cheaper) tools, and all around camaraderie. Automotive Specialty Tool also makes an effort to help out with local car shows, meets, as well as some larger trade shows and events. Please follow our social media pages for updates on these events.

10. Plans for the future

While we have had to decide to put a stick in the ground and provide a baseline of features for our initial launch in November, we are always dreaming of new ideas and ways of helping you out. Here are just some of the updates on deck for 2011:

  • Android/iPhone applications (uses GPS technology to source tools on the fly)
  • Integrated tool deposit fields & associated automated notification (currently listed in the item description and manual email confirmation)
  • Update of calculator to include multiples of one week as an option for lengthening rental period (currently defaulting at 1 month of use which includes outbound and inbound shipping time)
  • Integrated dispute forms (currently in email format)
  • More and more top notch forums and affiliates
  • Independent shop group buy & group use features (helps w/ utilizing capital equipment such as dynos, wheel balancers, etc.)
  • More and more presence at events!
  • Suggest a feature addition by sending us a message on our contact form!