Start a mobile oil change business with little to no money.
Have you ever wanted to start a business but you thought that capitalization was always an issue?
If you own a used car or have owned your “brand new” car passed it’s free maintenance years at your dealership, you may have had your oil changed on stand-alone oil change service centers in your city but did you know that you don’t actually need a location to start an oil change business.
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Have You Heard of The Mobile Oil Change Business?
Now, you may or may not have heard of this lucrative business opportunity but if you’re someone who loves working with your hands, specifically with cars but doesn’t have yet the necessary skills to launch a fully operational auto shop business, you may start with only offering oil changes as a service business and do it all on client locations.
As the name implies, a mobile oil change business does not require you to lease a commercial shop space to start.
A Mobile Oil Change business is a lucrative business idea to get into with very little capital. Your target market is virtually everyone who owns a car.
Depending on where you are, more and more people are getting into car ownership and come to think of it, most people don’t actually know how to do basic maintenance work in their cars and would usually not have the time do learn to do so.
This business idea is best for people who already own or would like to invest in a vehicle that would allow mobile-oil change operations; if you don’t already own a service vehicle for the purpose of starting your mobile oil change business, you can use any vehicle to move around in-between client calls.
If you live in one of the top-tier countries, getting a vehicle for business purposes, usually isn’t an issue. If you live in a developing country, however, were getting a car or a service vehicle may be more challenging, any type of vehicle would do, think of bicycles, Trikes, or whatever that can help you get around.
Start A Mobile Oil Change Business Without A Car
Somehow, I hear the concerns of people who want to get into the mobile oil change industry but just don’t have access to a car or any vehicle that will help them move around faster.
If you’re aren’t aware yet, the world has gone mobile in the last decade with the birth of companies Uber, Lyft, Grab, TappCar, etc.
These on-call ride-sharing services will help you start a mobile oil change business without necessarily owning a vehicle.
If there’s a will, there’s a way!
I know, it would be weird to carry around oil change tools and lubes when you’re commuting or hailing rides but not impossible.
If you’ve ever tried changing engine oil(s) in your car, you know that there isn’t a lot of tools you need to accomplish the task.
This may be the worst starting point but many who’s looking into starting their own mobile oil change business may already have access to a ride but if you don’t, start where you are and save up for your service vehicle.
As Les Brown puts it:
“You don’t need to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great”.
The Mobile Oil Change Business Opportunity
Your mobile oil change business isn’t restricted to simply offering engine oil change services, as the engine oil needs to be changed, other liquids and lubes and even small parts like spark plugs may need to be changed as well and on top of these, breaks need servicing too, at least on an occasional basis and perhaps changed, every now and then, depending on the amount of mileage your customers are putting in their vehicles.
If you’re starting off with a lesser than ideal mechanical skill that changing car parts spin your head, you can focus simply on lubes and oil changes.
Think of brake fluids, windshield washers, transmission fluids on top of your engine oil change service. Each liquid refill adds up to your income.
To take full advantage of the income opportunities available to a mobile oil change business, I would suggest that you take a crash course on the subject. This way, you can offer way more related services without necessarily becoming a full-fledged car mechanic.
Why You Should Consider Starting a Mobile Oil Change Business
As you may have known by now, the oil change industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and most cars need to have their oils changed every 3 – 4 months or every 5,000 kilometers.
You can easily establish some form of subscription service with your clients, where you have a pre-set “maintenance” schedule with your clients; this means that you’re going to have repeat businesses with each of your clients at least every quarter.
In an ideal world, all of your customers are going to sign-up for your subscription service but keep in mind that not all will. Whenever you think of starting a business, you have to focus on giving your utmost in every customer dealing; in this case, focus on giving the best service you can for your mobile oil change business – customer satisfaction is key for repeat business!
Advantages of Starting a Mobile Oil Change Business
Low Startup Cost
One of the many advantages of starting a mobile oil change business is low startup costs. Compared to many other business ideas, starting a mobile oil change business won’t require bank-breaking capital; heck, you can even start a mobile oil change business with no capital.
If you already have the tools and the necessary know-how, all you need is the lube and you can require a small down-payment or “call fee” each time a customer calls you for an oil change. This way, you already have the necessary budget to pay for the lube needed for your task.
Potential To Make Money Fast
A mobile oil change business can help you make money fast as it’s a valid service with a target market that needs the service and who are willing to pay for it.
If you don’t agree, try advertising / posting your mobile oil change service(s) on local buy-sell groups on Facebook, Craigslist, or other Classifieds website and someone will definitely take you up on your offer.
Just don’t try to get rich right away by charging unrealistic rates, check the rates of your competitor, and decide on competitive rates that consider the convenience of not lining up on oil change centers.
Where I’m from, the average cost of express oil changes inclusive of taxes is around $75.00 per pop.
Say, as an introductory price, you only charge $50.00 + taxes, and you average 4 client calls a day to do basic oil changes; you’re looking at $200 average gross income per day and you can always increase your rates ones your brand gets more established on the marketplace.
Again, this is a service that people are more than willing to pay for instead of doing their own oil changes.
Paves the Way to Becoming Your Own Boss
If you hate working for a boss and you want to be your own boss, starting your own oil change business lines you up on this path and when your business grows and your open to the idea of expanding your business and hiring others to help you on your day to day business operations, you can also be a boss to others. Just remember to prioritize being a leader over being a boss, there’s a huge difference between these two so call positions.
Mobility and Active Lifestyle
Sitting has now become the new smoking and it makes people sick which can lead to an early death.
If you’re looking for a business opportunity that gets you up on your feet and moving, a mobile oil change business gives you the opportunity to work out while working; it isn’t as hard as most physically demanding work but it lets you move, stretch and lift some form of weight each client call.
On top of that, you get to go around the city for free, talk about mobility!
Virtually anyone who owns a car and who doesn’t want to do their own car maintenance needs an oil change service but one of the challenges people have when it comes to having their oil changes made is that they have to wait in line on dealerships and or lube centers.
What if you can offer oil change services on their off days when their chilling with NetFlix, doing their household chores, out on lunch, or even while they’re at work?
As a mobile oil change business owner, you can offer your services on a la carte basis and wherever your customers were at the moment.
Wouldn’t be a good feeling to come out of your office with fresh engine oil to drive you home?
Think about that for a moment.
A mobile oil change business makes you part of a multi-billion dollar industry with very minimal cost. You just need to have the drive to do it; the customers are already there, waiting and ready to pay – you just need to offer the service.
With other business ideas, you’ll have to chase after your customers, with a mobile oil change business, you just put the word out that you’re offering the service and you’ll get calls.
Keep in mind that each car or vehicle owner is a potential customer.
Also, keep in mind that vehicles are sometimes unpredictable and can break down at the most unfortunate times. Being someone mobile, you can make boosting dead batteries or gasoline purchases as part of your services. The opportunities are endless with a mobile oil change business and if you’re creative with the way you run your business and your marketing, you will never run out of customers to serve.
No Experience or Certifications Required
It’s funny that companies would require people all the certifications and a decade length of experience to apply for a job while you know that you don’t need all these when starting a business.
The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that you can deliver a quality service.
Changing the oil on a car or a vehicle is basic but not every car owner would want to deal with it; if you’ve experienced doing oil changes and topping up fluids in your own car, you can start an oil change business. No one will require you any formal education or experience to start an oil change business; just make it a point that you know what you’re doing so you build a long term viable business.
Not knowing how to deliver the service that your business is going to offer will destroy any potential of future profitability of your business from day one, so if you’re really interested in starting this type of business and you’re not confident that you have the skills needed to offer this service; take time to learn and develop your skill by working on your own car or offering free oil changes to your friends’ and relatives first.
This is where the “knowledge is power” cliche applies.
Take note that if this isn’t your cup of tea and you don’t know anything related to offering oil change services, this business isn’t for you.
Easy to Launch and Promote
One of the challenges that many entrepreneurs face when launching a business is the startup costs and the difficulty of bringing the word out.
Since oil change is a high demand business, launching the business is as easy as putting the word out through flyers, ads on local papers, ad posts on classifieds ad websites, and shameless posts on local Facebook groups and even your own Facebook profile.
Things You Need To Bring on the Table
A mobile oil change business is an easy business to get into but this business idea isn’t a get rich quick. Yes, you can make money fast with this business idea compared to many others but the idea is to build a thriving business that is sustainable in the years to come and to not only make extra money on the side.
Below are some of the things you should consider before starting a mobile oil change business.
As mentioned above, when you think of starting a business venture, it’s important that you are more than willing to do and endure the underlying tasks of the venture you’re getting into.
As a business owner/operator, you will be personally involved in offering the services involved in your business and if you find changing oil and lubes or working with cars in general, daunting, a mobile oil change business may not be for you.
Aside from that, you should also have the grit to keep going when times are tough as no business is a walk in the park.
This is one of the reasons why most people cling in the safe and secure haven of their jobs where they get paid on a bi-weekly basis whether or not they do their jobs well.
Any business venture is performance-based, if you and your team don’t perform then you don’t get to eat. Having the grit and determination will keep your business afloat even when times are tough, especially in the first couple of years of your business.
No matter how simple your business idea is; problems and challenges arise, and as a business owner, your job is to solve these problems for your clients, yourself, and your team.
Sometimes, some startup business owners, get the wrong notion of the phrase “business owner” and tends to be cocky when talking with potential clients, since they are the “owner”.
Humility is important, especially in a service business like this; your customers are technically your boss(es), yes you quit your job to start a business, fire one boss and now you work for a lot of bosses – isn’t it interesting? But with this, comes the freedom of not being told what to do and working on your own terms.
As a business owner, you can choose the people you want to serve, but don’t be too choosy, as you need a lot of customers to turn your business into a booming enterprise.
Being humble and focusing on offering great customer experience will help your oil change business grow faster, and you more profitable.
As a service-based business owner, you need to have the necessary skills needed in offering a mobile oil change service.
If you don’t have yet the skill, learn it!
Every skill is learnable.
If you’ve learned how to walk, ride the bike, and/or drive a car, you can learn any skill needed to run your business and be successful.
Ability to Work Under Pressure
The ability to withstand pressure is one of the most important qualities of an entrepreneur; running a business is like getting stuck in traffic. If you’ve ever driven in Metro Manila, you’ll know what I mean.
There are times that you will just want to give up and leave your car in the middle of the road due to the stress of driving in such a challenging environment but you can’t because you’re the driver.
As a business owner, you can’t just quit in the middle of challenges; when things are busy and things don’t work as they should. You just suck them all in and keep ongoing.
Patience and the ability to work under pressure is essential in running a successful mobile oil change business.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times how simple and easy it is to start a mobile oil change business.
Simple. Yes, because if you know how to change engine oil on your own vehicle, then you could be in business but a simple and easy doesn’t mean that it doesn’t mean require hard work.
Just like any business, a mobile oil change business will require your hard work to be successful.
If you’re just starting out, you will be wearing a lot of different hats, especially if you live in countries where labor costs are high.
Most likely, you will be the boss, the marketer, salesperson, and the technician.
If you’ve ever read the E-Myth by Michael Gerber, you know that most people come into the entrepreneurship space with all the wrong expectations.
Most aspiring business owners quit their jobs to start their own businesses because they hate working 9 – 5 but guess what?
Self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs don’t work 8 hours a day because once you get going, your business will require you to work way more hours than a regular job would and a lot of people fail because they’re not willing to go the extra mile.
Just know that it’s harder to build a business than to work at a job, but when you see the benefits of being self-employed or a business owner; you will never trade it off with a 9 – 5.
So hopefully that an oil change business is something that you’ll enjoy doing and that you don’t mind working hard.
Things You Need to Get Started
A Simple Business Plan
If you took a business-related course in school, the mere mention of the word “business plan” will scare you; it’s that thickly-bound document you’ve spent sleepless nights for, otherwise you don’t graduate type, of course, requires that we pledge to never deal with again.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to write a long-form business plan that no one ever reads. Not unless you’re planning to get a business loan, you don’t need a thick business plan.
A straight-forward business plan that details your business system, with details of demand, already existing supply (competitors), and how you intend to market to your target market to make money is sufficient.
A business plan will be your guide, to put your operations in order but keep in mind that business plan almost always changes in the real world because as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to learn how to swim the rugged water in order to thrive; sticking on your initially-planned business plan won’t make your business profitable.
Create a plan and be flexible enough to deviate from it when the market response is different from what you’ve forecasted.
A business plan is just a plan, your guidepost in running your business but it can change as you navigate and swim as you operate your business in the real world.
Ideally, you should have a van or a truck to start a mobile oil change business but as I mentioned above, just any vehicle would do. A vehicle is necessary to start a mobile oil change business because though possible, you will not be as “mobile” when starting off without a vehicle but since you may have found this article by searching for information in regard starting a mobile oil change business, most likely, you have this part taken care of.
To make the most out of your vehicle, you can invest in a car-wrap so you advertise your business each time you drive your vehicle.
Training, Certification or Experience
As mentioned, there’s no such thing as an “oil change technician certificate” at least, none that I’ve heard of but if you are serious about starting this venture, you should get the necessary training and/or experience in this industry to ensure that smooth operation and success of your business.
If there’s such a certification in your country, I would suggest that you take the necessary certification to build your credibility in the eyes of your customers.
Tools, Supplies and, Equipment
As an automobile maintenance service provider it is important that you acquire the necessary tools, equipment and supplies.
Since you’re going to provide your services on clients’ site, it is important to note that you should prepare portable equipment and tools such as the following:
- Hydraulic Jacks
- Oil Change Pump / Extractor
- Oil Filter Pliers
- Oil Filter Cap Wrench
- Oil Drain Pan
- Oil Change Ramps
- Oil Spill Mats
- Set of work gloves
- Fill Funnel
- Synthetic Oil and Lubes (windshield washer, transmission fluid, brake fluids, etc)
Business Name and Business Registration
For most countries, it’s important to get this part sorted out first before advertising your business.
When thinking of a business name, think of something related to the industry you’re in, something that’s easy to remember and is brand-able.
Over time, your business will reference by your customers and prospects by its business name so building your brand from that get-go is such a good idea.
Properly registering your business with your city, municipality, or federal government where necessary make it a point that you’ve got all the legalities in place before ever performing an oil change.
This means that you run your business legally, for some countries, you may also need to get third-party liability insurance, just in case something goes wrong and you damage a property (i.e. car, garage, house, etc) or someone trips off your work area, you and your business are covered.
Business Cards, Flyers, Brochures, and a Marketing Strategy
As the new business on the block, you need to get your name out there and one of the most cost-effective ways to do this is old school print marketing.
Have some business cards, flyers, and brochures designed and printed then be ready to hand them out each time you come across a prospective customer.
It’s also a good idea to invest in some rack cardholders and leave a couple of flyers and brochures on non-competing businesses that are in the automotive industry.
If there’s not a lot of businesses in your industry leave your flyers on different brick and mortar locations where there is a lot of foot traffic.
If there’s a flyer distribution service in our city, commission them to distribute your flyers around homes and apartments in your city to put the word out.
If you can afford a small newspaper ad, you can give the publisher a copy of your business card and buy a business card size advertisement in your local newspaper too.
After you’ve done all these and you find that your phone isn’t ringing, don’t wait for people to respond to your ad and make your business work by calling everyone in your phone book to inform them of your business and the services that you offer.
And that isn’t enough, join Facebook groups in your city and start posting your services on them too.
Keep in mind that if you’re not working on cars, you should be marketing your business.
How Much Money Can I Make with a Mobile Oil Change Business?
As a mobile oil change business owner, you are offering a service in exchange of remuneration from your customers. A service that if not done on a regular basis will shorten the lifespan of a vehicle owner’s ride.
The typical cost of an oil change service in North America is at least $50.00 plus sales tax, this could easily escalate to $75.00 per pop.
If you start charging $50.00 plus taxes as your introductory price and you managed to serve four clients in a day, you’ll be looking at $200.00 per day, multiply this by 20-days in a month; you’ll be making yourself $4,000.00 revenue.
Now, this is just for starter; as you gain more and more customers, you can slowly up your price to compete with traditional oil change centers and the fact of the matter is that you should actually charge more than the traditional oil changers because your customers don’t have to wait in line and you go to their location; they could be working at their day jobs while you’re changing their engine oil, which means your service helps them save time which equates to money.
How to Collect Payments
Depending on where you are in the world, you can collect cash or digital payments.
More and more, we are moving into a cashless society, so if you in a country that’s already cashless, you can collect card payments by using services like SquareApp and Stripe.
SquareApp turns your cellphone into a point of sale terminal where your customers can pay you with credit or debit cards while Stripe is especially handy for subscription services and if I haven’t mentioned already, you can offer subscription oil change packages to your customers wherein you collect their payments on a subscription basis and you come back to them whenever their oil change is due.
By offering such, you could increase your repeat business and increase your customers’ value over-time.
The mobile oil change business is a lucrative venture especially for people who have a knack in working with cars.
It could easily lead to full-time self-employment, which equates to becoming your own boss as well as becoming a boss to others down the road.
A mobile oil change business is a flexible part-time business to start because you can always schedule a time where you see customers on weekends or after your day-job.
If you’ve ever owned a vehicle, chances are, you already know the mechanics of how it is to change engine oils and other lubricants that make a car run smoothly.
An oil change business is no different from changing your own car’s engine oil and lubes, you’re simply offering such a service to other people who may not know how to do this task themselves or those who simply don’t have the time.
Keep in mind though, that how much engine oil to fill a car depends on the car size so it’s important that you know what you are doing.
It is very important that the operator has a basic understanding as regards how cars work and this would involve knowing how oil is changed in different brands of cars.
This could be achieved by enrolling in technical training that relates to car maintenance. Another way that you can acquire the necessary skills needed in performing the services necessary to run this business is to apply as a service technician in any of the oil change service centers in your city.
Changing oil and lube isn’t rocket science and doing such every weekday for 6 months will make you an expert oil changer 🙂
The key to effectively managing your mobile oil change business, especially during the first couple of years of operation is in scheduling all your client servicing, especially if you start as a part-time business owner.
As you grow your business, you can start hiring help so you could offer your service to more customers, while leveraging your staff so you could focus more on the management side of the business instead of doing the oil changes yourself.