In this post, you’ll find a unique selection of hand-picked resources to help you start and run a quick lube business. These resources are brought to you by various authors and will give you a complete overview of what’s involved in starting and running your operation. If you went through each article, you’d end up with professional knowledge, and all you need is some experience to become a leading expert.
Before you get to the resources further down the page, let’s go over a few considerations.
Is This the Right Opportunity for You?
Is an oil change shop the right move for you? Is this something you’re passionate about? Or are you just looking at the financial gains? If I’m going to start a business, I will always opt for an opportunity I’m interested in and passionate about. When problems appear, I will fight for the business. If I lack passion, I’ll look for a way out when problems occur. For more, see Passion – An Important Key You Need to Succeed in Business
Background About This Type of Business
The purpose of a quick lube business is to perform maintenance quickly on the customer’s vehicle. Before quick lubes came into existence, you would have to go to your mechanic for your oil change. Even though a lot of people still do it that way, many prefer the quick lube route. They can stay in their vehicle while the maintenance is being performed, and the whole process is complete in 30 minutes or less.
To boost your success rate in this business, you need to be precise and get your customers out the door as soon as possible. Your customer service skills and people skills need to be at their best. This will allow you to create lifetime customers that will keep coming back, averaging once every three months.
What Type of Oil Change Operation Will You Open
You need to decide on what type of operation you want to open. Will you provide oil changes using a traditional setup with a hoist? This setup is the same type you would see at an auto repair shop. It’s slower to get the car on the hoist and backing the car out when the maintenance is complete.
Will you use the quick lube setup where the vehicle is driven over a pit, and once the maintenance is performed, the vehicle is driven out through the next door. This is the quickest service procedure, and the customer remains in the vehicle while the maintenance is completed.
The next setup is a mobile operation where you change the oil at the customer location. This may be the most convenient for the customer, but in my opinion, your travel time will reduce the number of vehicles you can service per day. You’ll find details about the different types of setups further down the page in the resource sections.
With the electric car market expanding, fewer people will need to change their oil. For example, by 2035, California will ban the sale of any gasoline-powered vehicles.
With that in mind, if you plan to have this business for many years, this electric car market will affect your business.
The cost to start a franchise can be a lot of money. Ranging approximately from just over $200,000 to $425,000. If you are in a busy area with multiple bays, then your revenues and profits can be more than enough to cover your loan and expenses.
The profit you make will vary on the area and population, the demand for your service, and the amount of competition.
If there is no demand for the service, it would be a waste of time opening. If there is too much competition, it might be hard to get a piece of the market unless you bring something to the market the competition doesn’t offer, or you may need to improve on the service the competition is providing.
With this type of business, you can provide add-on products and services. A one-stop-shop for quick maintenance will attract more customers and increase revenues.
Most quick lube places offer an inspection of multiple components. Like air and fuel filters, lights, fluid levels, etc. You could also add additional products and services, including the following:
- Windshield wiper replacement
- Battery check and replacement
- Bulb replacement
- Tire rotation and inspection
- Quick brake inspection
- Grease job for those parts that still require lubrication
- A quick check for front end loose parts
- Exhaust inspection
- Air conditioning inspection
The jobs that require more time should be directed to another bay, for example, tire rotation. Unless you have multiple bays. You don’t want to slow down other customers who just require a quick lube job to wait while you rotate another customer’s tires.
You could also create joint venture deals. For example, if a customer’s car needs font-end parts or a brake job, you could give them a card for a shop that deals with brakes and your customer would get a 5% discount at the shop.
The shop would also give you a percentage of the revenue from the repair bill. You could also give the shop you deal with your cards, and each customer that comes to your shop with the card and would get a discount, and you would give a percentage of the revenue to the shop owner.
Everyone wins. The customer gets a discount while getting professional service. The shop you deal with gets extra business, and you have helped your customer while making a percentage of the revenue.
For this idea to be successful, the terms must be clear, and you want to make sure you are sending your customers to a shop they will be happy with. If you send your customer to a repair shop where they are not treated well, it will cost you dearly because you’ll lose your customers.
What Type of Person Is Suited for an Oil Change Business
This type of business is suited for someone with a bit of mechanical skill and knowledge and enjoys working with cars. You need to have an entrepreneurial spirit, which is necessary for any business venture.
Getting Inside Information
To get inside information that you won’t find anywhere else, you can search for businesses and franchises for sale and interview the owners. This will give you inside information to the business, allow you to ask questions, and receive valuable answers based on experience.
You may even find a business that’s up and running, which may turn out to be a better route than starting from scratch. Who knows, you could make a deal and be up and going in no time. For the full details on this technique, see, An Inside Look Into The Business You’re Considering
Key Issues to Focus on With This Type of Business
With any business, you’re considering it’s important that your operation is registered and legal. You can register a business on your own or have a professional set it up for you.
If you’re starting off as a sole proprietorship, the registration process is very simple. If you’re considering other types such as LLCs, partnerships, or a corporation, I would have a professional set up the company to ensure it’s established correctly. The resources below offer more on registering your business.
You must have the correct business insurance to cover you if an accident or other issues occur. For example, if an accident occurs and a car catches on fire in your building, you could have your doors closed for business for a few months. When you have interruption insurance, you are covered for the loss of business.
I’m a firm believer that you should have more than enough coverage rather than having basic insurance. You can’t predict what happens and when you have enough coverage, you don’t have to worry about anything that happens beyond your control. See the resources below for more on business insurance.
It’s very important to set up your shop with equipment to handle the wear and tear and complete the job effectively.
The last thing you want is downtime and the need to turn customers away because of equipment failure. Broken equipment doesn’t show your business as a professional establishment.
If I were starting this type of business, I would make sure the equipment is the best grade for the purpose. I won’t try and save a few thousand on equipment. I’d rather find other areas to save. In the resources below, you’ll find sites that offer the equipment you’ll need.
Getting the Word Out
It’s important to advertise your business once you’re ready. You can’t depend on drive-by traffic. You need to let people know you’re ready for business.
Some ideas for advertising include:
You could also contact local businesses to help spread the word. This could include; local car washes, part suppliers, body shops, tire shops, etc. They could let their customers know by putting up a flyer or business cards on their counter, and you could do the same for them.
The resources below will help you with the startup phase and when you are up and running.
There is a lot of information to go through. If you spent a few hours over the next few days to cover all the information. You will have an arsenal of information you can use during the startup phase and when you’re up and running. You’ll have the information the experts have, and all that’s left is to gain some experience.