It is very difficult to be successful in mobile oil change companies

There have been many people who have come and gone in the mobile oil changing business. It always looks easy from the surface and it’s relatively inexpensive to get started with minimal investment compared to most other businesses. But most mobile oil change operators rarely make it past the first year. In fact, most don’t make it past the first few months. One has to wonder why such a good idea ultimately ends in failure. Let’s take a closer look.

First, the profit generated by oil exchanges is not enough to sustain a healthy business. After calculating the cost of goods from the total bill, there is rarely a net profit greater than twenty-five dollars from the typical oil change. And that figure doesn’t include the gas used to reach the actual location. You have to do a lot of oil changes a day to make a decent profit to support your business and personal expenses. Most fast lubricants perform even less due to their substantially higher overload, but they compensate in large volume. The most successful fixed positions are doing 60 oil changes on a bad day. A mobile oil change company, with most of the time one or perhaps two people working it, doesn’t have that luxury. The most your typical mobile oil change van can do is ten oil changes a day, after which the operator is exhausted. And even if a person could consistently do ten oil changes a day, he still has to generate those oil changes somewhere. They don’t magically appear. Do you have a plan on how to do this? Most start out thinking that corporate campuses will provide tons of business, especially if marketed by the companies there. It actually rarely works as advertised and you’ll be lucky if you get 10 clients in a year from a huge corporate campus. The bottom line is that the net per oil change is simply too low to make a profitable business out of it without huge volume.

Second, many mobile oil change operators are not very good sellers. They are usually very honest people and very passionate about what they do and you have to love it, but I have found that most mobile oil changer owners are terrible at the sales end. I’m usually the type who tries to charge a lot less than the current market rate and thinks they can talk to a few people about their “exceptional service” and wait on the phone. It never works. You have to go out and get them. You have to do copious amounts of cold calling. You need to talk to a lot of fleet managers and sell yourself first and then your service. Most of the mobile oil changing industry either doesn’t fully understand this or never really applies to this side of the business. It is probably the most important part not only in the mobile oil change business, but in any such business. I’ll go on a limb and say that if you’re a big salesman you’ll do well to run a mobile oil change business or franchise. If you know cars but not sales, I recommend working for a new or used car dealer for 2-3 months and gaining experience. It will be tough and creepy, but this is the quickest way to get good hard core sales without a lot of “lint”. Then open your mobile oil change company.

Third, time cannot be underestimated in limiting what mobile oil change operators can do. There are few states that have decent weather all year round. Half of the states get very cold several months over the years and the other half get very hot during 3/4 of the year. Both are equally daunting. A fixed location can turn on the air or turn on the heating. Their operators work in a controlled environment. You don’t have that luxury. You may have several fleets planned for one day and it may be raining heavily on that day. Have you thought about changing the oil to 0 degrees. Your hands won’t be able to grab that oil filter or it won’t be rock hard or you won’t feel it. Or changing 150 degree hot engine oil in 100 degree humid climate on a vehicle where the oil filter is in the middle of a hot engine manifold and you have to burn yourself to get there? Do you clean it and skip it or burn yourself to get there? This will happen.

Having mentioned these three great obstacles, and there are others, I will say that it is not impossible. I made it a success. But I wish someone had been straight with me before my partner and I spent over $ 80,000 getting into the mobile oil change business. We have been sold on many unreal hopes and dreams by Jet Set Life Technologies on great wealth using an imperfect model involving extreme oil. They set us up with a nice van and their product is good but the whole system is faulty from the bottom up. We have found a way to make it work, but sadly 90% of mobile oil change operators don’t. The success rate is very small. Understand what’s really involved and if you think you can do it and not make money for 2-3 years, do it.

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