Anyone own a quick lube?

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Jan 27, 2004
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Richmond, VA
I have had it with the man, endless paperwork-work politics-fear of losing my job-monthly quotas-etc. I have investigated several business opportunities in different industries and I always come back to opening up my own quick lube. I can think of several ways to differentiate my services over the local competition but wanted to see if anyone out there does, has, or knows of someone that owns one currently. I owned my own business for over 10 years but got out over 5 years ago and the itch to be the boss again has never left. My obvious fear is that with a young family that profitability would have to be almost immediate which with the correct loan structure could be pretty easy in this industry. I welcome all thoughts and advice!
 
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Apple Valley, California
 Originally Posted By: GROUCHO MARX
Good luck. I can't figure out how they make money.
X2. I don't normally do oil changes for customers because I can't compete with the quick lube place across the street that does it for $19.99.
 
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Apr 22, 2007
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Houston, Tx, USA
I found a hard drive that was being thrown away on the side of the road and before formatting it, I checked it out. It turned out to have the books for a local quick lube place that I use for certain services. It was an interesting read and the lack of profit was very surprising. They have a very nice facility and do a good business. They also do inspections and all kinds of repair and maintenance. Anyway, after looking at these books I'd say it's not worth your time. You're not going to make very good money once the bills are paid and owning a business eats up your life. I'd try to find another job instead.
 

Barkleymut

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Groucho- I looked extensively into the mobile oil change about a year ago and just couldn't get the math to work out along with many logistical challenges. I have done some rough math on a quick lube and with decent volume I can see how they make a respectable profit. Chris- I assume you own or work at a full service garage? Critic- Thanks for the link, I've seen the site before but it has been a while.
 
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Ontario
Buying an established quick lube franchise will probably make you more money, but with a bigger investment. The people I work for value a franchise at $1.5 million. For this you get a basically guaranteed 250-300 cars a week with an average of $90-100 sales per car. This is doing oil changes as well as other filter and fluid services. But of course there are costs and franchise fees still to be paid.
 
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Barkleymut

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I am definetly looking to purchase an existing business since so many folks are at retirement age and the market for selling a biz is tough right now. Hoping to find a bargain in my area. Whether or not it is a franchise is another variable that I have toyed with but not given really serious consideration to.
 
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I would think if you didn't buy into a franchise like a Valvoline Quick lube or something like that sales might be hard as people would be suspicious of a private shop. Also they probably really push those extra services to make the profit.
 
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Franchises aren't for profit. They're for wealth sheltering. If you can afford the franchise fee, you don't need to "buy" yourself a pretty mediocre salaried job.
 
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Oct 30, 2007
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Fontana, California
Depending on location and the niche effect, a quick lube that caters to the green crowd could work. On the other hand the advertising involved to show you are any differnt from all else out there would eat up everything to start for sure. Taking over business thats been around is probably a better start as you have a customer base already. If they visit you and still like it, then you'll already have some repeat business. The subsequent word of mouth of "hey the new guy is a-ok" is worth gold. I've worked for family owned companies in different industries from pizzas retaurant to automotive and the 'little guy' relies on the repeat regulars, not phone book driven sales.
 

Patman

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 Originally Posted By: Gary Allan
Franchises aren't for profit. They're for wealth sheltering. If you can afford the franchise fee, you don't need to "buy" yourself a pretty mediocre salaried job.
So true! With a lot of these franchise fees being one million or more, if you had that kind of cash on hand you could simply retire on that amount of money!
 
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Look into a Tim Hortons franchise, if your in a high blue collar income, lower end white collar area, with some through traffic, its a license to print money... They market to masses who don't want a khrapaccino but don't like walking into a dump that the typical donut/coffee place is.
 
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Barkley, I would guess that you're looking for the owner to finance your purchase of an existing business. Otherwise, I doubt you would find much of a market of lenders. Like most businesses, it's tough. I'm sure you won't rush a decision. I hope you'll be exempted from new healthcare regulations.
 
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Patman

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 Originally Posted By: IndyIan
Look into a Tim Hortons franchise, if your in a high blue collar income, lower end white collar area, with some through traffic, its a license to print money... They market to masses who don't want a khrapaccino but don't like walking into a dump that the typical donut/coffee place is.
A friend of mine owns a Tim Horton's and he's definitely doing extremely well right now! But it's very hard to get a franchise these days, even if you have the money (and it costs a lot!) as there is a long waiting list of people that want in.
 
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NJ
 Originally Posted By: greenaccord02
I found a hard drive that was being thrown away on the side of the road and before formatting it, I checked it out. It turned out to have the books for a local quick lube place that I use for certain services. It was an interesting read and the lack of profit was very surprising. They have a very nice facility and do a good business. They also do inspections and all kinds of repair and maintenance. Anyway, after looking at these books I'd say it's not worth your time. You're not going to make very good money once the bills are paid and owning a business eats up your life. I'd try to find another job instead.
Business like this where they have high traffic low profit don't make money on what they advertise as selling. They make money on the extra's, gimmicks etc. You go for an oil change and walk out with a serpentine belt replacement, balancing etc etc. Thats the whole point of these operations, you make money on the stuff you don't advertise. Honestly I was thinking about opening up a PC/Repair shop/Cyber Cafe but that era is dead and gone. Maybe write a book?
 
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Jun 11, 2002
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Clarksville, Tennessee
Like others have said, run as far away from a franchise as you can. Ever thought of a Mobile service? No overhead, low startup, etc. The mobile services are growing in popularity. They also specialize in fleet service. Do some research on that.
 
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Jun 15, 2003
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On rte 1 heading south into Boston to go to Logan there are probably six Dunkin donuts franchises in a 2 mile stretch. If buying into a franchise I'd make sure you got an ironclad unique marketing area. BTW, WM quicklube is competition... you should at least have WiFi and cable TV to compete with people mindlessly wandering aisles. I always thought it would be a cool gimmick to have a hair stylist next to a quick lube, both are interval purchases... what do non-shaggy people do for haircuts, 6 weeks? Set it up so every other haircut gets an OCI! Do reminder cards/calls. VA has state inspections, do they let private garages do those? What's the upfront cost on that? Always nice getting customers forced in by law. There have been mobile change business threads... insurance and enviornmental liability are big pondering points. Around here there are big earth moving companies with huge warehouses at less than 100% utilizations. Signs are up for single bay rentals. I know you want to buy, maybe you can buy a whole warehouse then lease the rest back to whomever. Read an anecdote of a recent immigrant who was a great mechanic in his home country, wound up getting a Meinekie franchise because the financing was easier in his situation.
 
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Sep 12, 2004
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Central Florida
How much $$$ do you have to invest in this business ? A family friend has two Subway franchise in south FL and does very well. One store opens up at 8 AM and is busy till closing time. But he has been robbed a dozen times in the last 10 years. Also consider the headaches when you have your own business.
 
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