Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

NomadAdvertisingLLC
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:00 am

Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby NomadAdvertisingLLC » Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:24 pm

Hello All,
I am planning and researching Mobile Oil Change Service as I hope to open one hopefully in 2009.  As one step in my research, I wanted to know if any SuN member has opened or know someone who has open a Mobile Oil Change Service.
*Did you (or your friend) succeed or fail?
*How did you (or your friend) market?
*Were people willing and interested in choosing your service rather than the quick lube places?
*How did you handle winter (the cold)?
I may be asking a lot of questions, but I know how helpful the SuN Community is.  Thanks in advance for all the valuable input.NomadAdvertisingLLC8/13/2008 11:27 AM

NomadAdvertisingLLC
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:00 am

RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby NomadAdvertisingLLC » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:35 am

Thank you.  This was great input.  I had thought of some of your points already, but it was great to hear that they work.  Thanks again!

NomadAdvertisingLLC
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:00 am

RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby NomadAdvertisingLLC » Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:32 am

Craig,
Thanks for the input.  I love the idea about the Contract Discount.  As far as disposal is concern, several auto shops nearby accept waste oil drop off for recycling.  I still need to contact them to make sure they don`t mind the volume of oil I hope to bring by.  Truth be told, after all is said and done, it is in my 5 year plan to buy my own oil recycling machines and recycle my own oil.  That way, I can save use some recycled oil and some new in each oil change.  But I need to keep on task and plan for the other more pressing issues in order to start this up.
Thanks for the input, its great.

shoemakersp
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:00 am

RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby shoemakersp » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:09 pm

It just occured to me to start searching around for forums discussing the mobile oil change business. It is easy to start thinking you are sailing alone here. I don`t know if you are still looking at this, but I have been in business since April of 2008. I would concur with everything that the above posters said about fleets. I planned to devote 50/50 to fleets and large businesses, but I am finding (at least in my area) that fleets are THE place to start. I still like my employer businesses, but they are slower and more work to get moving.
 
It looks like you are coming from an adverstising background, that is very good. I found that there are so many levels to marketing this that I had not anticipated. One is getting in the door with the Human Resources and then there is finding a way to market in their business that is not disruptive.
 
The fleets are easier in the sense that you are dealing directly with the customer, but harder in that it is an all or nothing deal. With individuals you can hope for a few early adopters to spread the word.
 
If you are in an area that this is new (like here) be prepared to start very slow. I hope to be able to pay my own bills by my anniversary. I have yet to pay myself. I will grant you I have learned alot about my own motivation in this process, but getting people to use it has been much tougher than I anticipated. That said I am convinced it can and will work, it is just a major shift in peoples thinking and that takes time. Keep in mind that I am East coast boy starting a business in the Midwest, so everything feels slow.
 
The biggest thing I can speak on is the cold. This has been the coldest winter I could imagine. I have worked on a -14 day and I have worked on a -30 windchill day. The main key is to dress warm, warm the cars thoroughly and be prepared to take 3 times as long. I am not going to sugar coat it, it sucks, but I am a bit bull-headed when it comes to giving in. I work outside, the trailers you can pull inside are too big and most lots I work in are already running out of space. Another upside with fleets is that many have shops and may let you work inside!
 
I started with my suv and a trailer, but I am going soon (as soon as the bank calls me) to buy a used 1 ton van. I HIGHLY recommend a van, buy used if you want to see a profit, but buy a van. I have been hitching to this trailer for 10 months and I could scream. It is hard to take to networking gigs, tough to gain access to many lots, and keeps me out of parking garages. Also it very hard to heat. I set up a propane heater in the front, so that I can take breaks, but that does nothing for my tools. I am hoping that with the van I will at least be able to warm things a little on my way to the jobsite. When it gets extremely cold the air hose couplers start to leak too.
 
I have a TON of advise I could add to this, but I will wait to see if anyone is listening:-) Check out my website

WebJunky
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Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:00 am

RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby WebJunky » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:43 pm

speaking of which, i just saw a poster today in corporate setting (a flier rather) advertising something similar. a car detailing service while people are busy working in their cubicles and their cars sit outside in the parking lot.  very nice local concept and you can have your own immediate market nearby.  you will have to think about what you can do to keep your neighbor from doing the same....because word will get out sooner or later that you are making bank!

NomadAdvertisingLLC
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:00 am

RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby NomadAdvertisingLLC » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:54 pm

These posts are gold!  Thanks...please keep them coming!

Oilgut
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Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:00 am

RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby Oilgut » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:28 pm

I have been in the Mobile Oil Change Business for 8 years here in Central Texas... I can tell you that it is a GREAT business to be in! www.freedomoilservice.com
I haven`t been affected by the current economical situation at all!! And Business is still growing.
When are you thinking of launching your business??  >> That is important because you need to be pre-marketing for at least 3 to 4 months ahead of opening so that you hit the ground running...
Focusing on fleet business may sound great but one thing you have to consider >> Most companies with fleets don`t pay out right away... They pay every month at a set date or 30-45-60 days from service completion. >> Some companies have fleet services that you must register with to take a special card like GE Capital and many other like them.
I am not saying not to go for them >> I am saying that you could starve if you focus on them.
Why?? How much money are you going to have to spend in materials and supplies and ectra insurance in some cases before you see a return?? At some points I have $15,000-20,000 floating out there waiting to come in... But my regular privately owned clients pay right away!
How do you get the most long term clients in the shortest amount of time?? I will tell you how to pick up 25-40 NEW clients a days....
Have 1/4 page fliers printed up in at least 2 colors and then go knock on doors... It is not a very popular thing to do >> Most people want to pay a load of money to advertisers and wait for the phone to ring >> But that won`t work ( It tried that and It would have been more productive and fun to just burn a few thousands buck in the fireplace)
Why does door knocking work?? Because you start out by building report with your potential client with face time... (Critical)
Many people will say that you spread yourself too thin by going for the private owners and not the fleet guys... Why would you do that?? Well... Think about it... What else are you going to do between those fleet clients?? You are going to need fillers and those fillers pay right away!! CASH IN HAND!!
I love cash flow!! That is what is going to make your business grow!!
Another way to market is what I am doing this weekend... Set up a booth at a local trade show... I have one set up this weekend at a local "Home & Garden Show" >> Why H&G? Because every year they get about 10,000 visitors that walk through and they all drove to get there!! Every Single one of them is a potential client and they are GOING to use a service "Like" mine >> So why not ask them directly to give mine a try?? I fully expect to pick up 200 new clients this weekend and that is looking good since I picked up a couple of dozen just talking to other exhibitors that set up there also. These shows work very well but when you are started out you need to keep you focus on growth every day... Good traffic trade shows happen 3-4 times a years in most markets so they can`t be the only marketing tool in the bag... Door knocking can be done every day and one thing you are going to have is time... You have to use that time like you use you money... You have to make it work for you.
I can tell you a lot more... but it is probably better if you just ask questions...
James
www.freedomoilservice.com

lumberman
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RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby lumberman » Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:32 pm

Nomad, Shoemakersp, Oilgut,
I too have been looking into this a bit.  What advise do you have regarding essential startup equipment (other than a vehicle), vendors/suppliers, and any angles on "greening" the service?
Thanks!

Oilgut
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Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:00 am

RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby Oilgut » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:03 am

lumberman
What kind of start-up investment are you looking to make?
If you are on a shoestring budget... well... buy case oil and start a filter stocking agreement with a local supplier until you get a cash flow to reinvest back into you business....
If you have a little to invest to get an on board dispensing system >> Ebay.... Search for someone that is selling because you will usually find a generic setup pretty cheap....
If you are serious and going to hit the ground running and want the very best... buy or build a pressure/vacuum system similar to Sage Oil Vac.
As far as Suppliers and vendors >>> you are pretty much going to have to go with whatever is local... some people can make the drop shipping work but I like to have a personal relationship with my suppliers... it help for when you are making bids on contracts and such.
Green?? I guess you are talking about environmental concerns??
I sell my waste oil to recyclers.... tell you the truth >>> Most people here in Texas are more concerned about how much my service cost rather than how "Green" I operate.
Another Idea for startup is to ask you local supplier what equipment they can supply you with if you agree to buy you materials from them instead of their competitors.... Many of them will supply pumps, tanks, reels, guns etc...  They won`t have a clue when if comes to a mobile service but they can set up a warehouse or garage so that you can store and resupply your service truck.
James

froggie
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Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:00 am

RE: Starting a Mobile Oil Change Service

Postby froggie » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:37 pm







My son and I have been operating our own `ON SITE LUBE` business since







1988.  This is our 21st year.  The important aspects of this business are as follows:








 








1.  The money market is not fleets - there are already too many people doing








     this.  The most profitable market is what we call `retail`.  This means pro-








     viding the service to individual automobile owners on a regularly scheduled








     basis at their place of employment.








 








2.  We can do this by: A. Getting permission from owners of large office








      building to come onto their property and B. working out of an enclosed








     (heated) mobile oil change trailer large enough to drive the vehicles








     into for servicing.








 








Copy this link and paste to have a look at  `lubeguys.com` 








 







Fred



 
 



froggie3/3/2009 5:41 PM


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