Installer Spotlight: The Lube Center
The Lube Center first opened its bay doors to the public in 1987 in Frederick, Maryland, and has been proudly operating in the community ever since. What began as a single location has grown into a chain of 11 independently owned and operated shops across Maryland and Pennsylvania, with each operating as part of the “We Proudly Feature Mobil 1” program.
Maintaining their customer base and standing apart from competitors are key components of their successful business, according to Lube Center marketing director Cheryl Hanes, who noted their motto is, “We don’t just change oil; we change lives one neighbor at a time.” The hyper-local focus within the chain has helped The Lube Center remain vital and important to the thousands of customers it serves in the area.
The Lube Center takes its community-first approach outside of the shop. In 2015, the Frederick shop’s “Car Care Crew” pulled together a team of 17 bike riders, riding 100 miles a day, to raise money for The Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County. They were able to raise $10,515. The Lube Center also offers charitable support for community members who may need additional assistance. Those interested in aligning a charitable cause with The Lube Center can apply online.
On the eve of its 30th anniversary, The Lube Center attributes its long-standing success to the importance it places on customer service. Each technician is trained to ensure every car is handled with the same level of care, carried out with a 15-point service checklist. When The Lube Center’s 14,100 customers were surveyed by the chain, they found customers actually see technicians as “doctors or dentists for their cars.” Patrons of The Lube Center look to its technicians to diagnose, treat and make recommendations in the same way a physician might.
“We service our customers’ cars like we would for any family member. For many customers, we are their primary provider of regular car maintenance. We see their cars often and ensure all is running as it should,” Hanes said. “Our customers feel getting their oil changed is a chore like going to the dentist. With that in mind, we treat every car as our patient coming in for a cleaning. We make recommendations of things to watch for and ‘treatments’ for the cars.”
Though speed, efficiency and short wait times are the pillars of success for the business, The Lube Center offers additional perks. Appointments are never necessary, and customers can stay in their car and access the complimentary Wi-Fi while technicians quickly and accurately service their vehicles. A quick lube shop might not be high on the list of places children would like to visit, but some might be surprised what some free fruit juice and bubbles can do. The Lube Center offers both, as well as treats for any family dog along for the ride.
In the end, it’s those little touches that keep customers loyal and coming back for top-tier preventive car treatment and repair.
“Our usual customer is always out running errands, putting their cars through certain stresses — stop-and-go traffic, quick drives to many places in succession and more,” Hanes said. “So, we need to offer both motor oils and services that meet those challenges and allow our customers to not have to worry about the protection and performance of their engine.”