When High Performance Means High Profits
A lot of the men and women in the oil and lube business are car people. They enjoy tinkering, driving and, of course, horsepower. It’s part of the reason they’ve chosen this line of work. The same goes for many oil and lube customers. While many car guys (and gals) do their own oil changes and maintenance, there are quite a few who take their weekend toys to the same shop as the family minivan. These restored muscle cars, classic rides and performance machines offer a golden opportunity for lube shop operators to add a bit extra to the bottom line.
The Big Fish
They are impossible to miss when they roll up with their classic lines, immaculate paint, storied past and a very, very proud owner in the driver’s seat. With a loyal and passionate following that shows no signs of diminishing, classic Mustangs, Camaros, Plymouths and all the rest will be gracing America’s roads for many years to come. When they arrive at an oil and lube shop for their regularly scheduled maintenance, chances are most of the shop’s employees will be standing around gawking in no time. A few arguments may even break out over who gets the honor of working on such a beautiful machine.
Though it probably doesn’t happen all that often, when one of these special vehicles arrives at your shop there are a few things to keep in mind. First, owners are likely to be very particular about how their pride and joy is treated, especially when it’s in someone else’s hands. Secondly, they’re probably going to be willing to spend more money on their project vehicle than on the boring old sedan that gets them to work every day. In short, a muscle car owner may not be willing to replace a cabin air filter in his wife’s minivan, but he won’t be able to reach for his wallet fast enough if he thinks that performance air filter might get him a couple extra horsepower in his Camaro.
Since most car enthusiasts have already spent more money than they’d care to admit (especially to their spouses), you don’t want to miss the opportunity to offer the muscle car driver your highest performance options, which often pack the most profit.
Start with anything that might add a little horsepower, or at least allow the owner to claim a few extra ponies than are under the hood. First on that list should be an upgrade to a full synthetic oil. While classic muscle cars mostly pre-date the advent of synthetic oil and will perform just fine with conventional, the reduced friction offered by synthetics can net a car a few extra horsepower and give the owner the opportunity to add a few more when bragging to his friends. Synthetic oil also offers better protection against wear, something that’s sure to appeal to someone who’s invested blood, sweat, tears and a lot of dollars into their ride.
Next on the list of upgrades muscle car drivers are likely to spring for is a high-flow air filter. Few people care if the family SUV is cranking out a little more power while hauling the kids to soccer practice, so the muscle car enthusiast is a target demographic for these products. Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to offer the upgrade. Drag-reducing window and windshield treatments may also be of interest to customers whose vehicle’s top speed is, at least theoretically, important.
If they’re really honest with themselves, most muscle car owners will admit that for the majority of the time their prized possessions are garage queens. These stunning works of automotive art may only rack up a few thousand miles per year, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need frequent service. Be sure to take the time to explain to your customer that even if the car hasn’t seen many miles, the oil should still be changed every three months or so. Similarly, the transmission and differential fluids should also be swapped out at regular intervals to avoid damage to the precious machine. Here’s another golden opportunity to plug synthetic products as the better option.
Sealing the Deal
If the muscle car’s owner is a frequent customer who brings his or her other vehicles in on a regular basis, be sure to remind them that you want to see the Camaro, Chevelle, Mustang or ’Cuda again. While most oil and lube customers don’t spend much time thinking about their cars and are reluctant to spend more money than absolutely necessary, muscle car enthusiasts have already demonstrated their willingness to drop some serious coin on their rides. When they come thundering in, don’t miss the chance to offer them every option you have in stock!