Industry Professionals Share How Quick Lubes Can Boost Their Bottom Line
For many quick lube owners, the desire to open their shop came from their love of the oil and auto industry, not their love of spreadsheets, pricing models and industry research. For some quick lube owners, finding new ways to grow their revenue can seem like a daunting task, but industry professionals say there are a few ways quick lube owners can boost their bottom line.
Add to Your Services
Christopher Pisarz, a business advisor with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center who has worked with quick lube owners, said one way his clients have found success is by expanding their services. One quick lube he worked with had seen their costs go up. To help raise their revenue, they set a goal to have a higher ticket average. To do this, the company started offering new services, like replacing filters and wiper blades, tire services and windshield repair — a tactic that worked well for them. Pisarz said it came down to looking at what was in their control. Focus on the Customer Pisarz said having superior customer service proved beneficial for one of the quick lube clients he worked with. The two owners of the quick lube were at the shop every day, talking with customers and educating them on their products and services. In doing so, they saw their customers’ loyalty grow. Returning customers can help boost the bottom line.
“These guys know the customer’s name; they’re educating them,” Pisarz said. “It builds a loyalty among their customers.”
The same has been true for John Page, owner of Wingman Oil Change in Marble Falls, Texas. Page said he’s significantly grown his revenue in the seven years since he bought his quick lube by instituting a “serve with leadership” philosophy for his customers. This philosophy includes referring to customers as “guests” and having a mission statement that focuses on serving the needs of those guests.
“The guest shouldn’t feel like you’re taking advantage of them,” Page said. “They should feel like you’re interested in them. As a result, it builds trust, and when they trust you, they’re much more willing to say yes.”
Another area where Page applies this philosophy is with how his shop offers services to guests. When a service is due for one of his guests and the guest declines the service, Page’s staff gives the guest a service card that explains the service, why it’s needed and how it’s performed. Page said this approach has been successful with many guests coming back to ask for the service during their next oil change or even before.
“It’s not pressuring them in the moment,” Page said. “It allows them to think about it and plan for it in their budget, and they feel really good about it. Once again, it’s [all about] building trust.”
For Page, this philosophy of serving the guest has been key to his shop’s success.
“We have come into this community, and in seven years, established an incredible reputation,” Page said.
Still, Page said other tactics like adding new services, have also helped.
“Nobody’s ever made lots of money just doing oil changes,” Page said. “They’ve got to have additional services to make the money. Unless you’re doing 150 cars a day on a basic oil change, you’re not going to make a whole lot of money.”
Revamp Your Marketing
Another way Pisarz has helped quick lubes bring more business to their shop is through revamping their marketing efforts. Pisarz said many quick lube owners have relied on word-of-mouth marketing but now need help with social media marketing and website marketing. Pisarz helps them revise their digital marketing efforts so they can reach a new audience.
“People aren’t finding you in the Yellow Pages anymore. They’re finding you online,” Pisarz said.
Use Your Tools
Whether you are looking to expand your services, reinvigorate your customer service or revamp your marketing, you have several free tools available to give more guidance on growing your revenue.
To start, quick lube owners can view resources on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website (www.sba.gov). The SBA also supports Score (www.score.org), a nonprofit association that pairs mentors with small business owners to give them free, customized advice as well as the Small Business Development Centers (www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc) which has a network of small business advisors throughout the country.
And don’t forget about the many resources the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) has to offer! These include the AOCA mentoring program, the online community called AOCA Talk, and exclusive discount programs that give you access to customized human resources support and discounted services to run your business. To learn more visit: www.aoca.org
Finally, while all the examples shared here may not work for every facility in the same way, the philosophy is the same. Excellent service combined with trust will help you grow your business and retain your customers.
For more information on AOCA membership, call 800.230.0702 or visit: www.aoca.org