ARTICLES

One Million Miles and Counting

Providing quality service, consistently, goes a long way, which has been proven by one of Lube n’ Go’s valued customers, Robert Vigil, whose 1999 Chevrolet 2500 cargo van recently exceeded one million miles. Vigil owns a delivery service based out of El Paso, Texas, and travels far and wide to make deliveries. The majority of his travels take him through west Texas and southern New Mexico, but that hasn’t stopped him from traveling as far as Denver and Los Angeles. “It’s rare you can get them to last this long,” Vigil said. Vigil is the original owner of the
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Shoestring Marketing Ideas

Every year millions of companies around the world try to strategize and make each new year better than the last. It would appear that a common struggle for many companies is figuring out exactly where to start. Mike Brown, founder of The Brainzooming Group, broke down the keys to success at SEMA 2016. Brown said he believes the first step is to nail your strategy as a company. Branding What exactly is it you’re trying to accomplish? What is central to the customers you’re trying to target and draw in? “Step two is creativity,” Brown said. “It’s important not
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iFLEX Turns Up the Heat Once Again

The 2017 International Fast Lube Expo (iFLEX), presented by the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA), was once again combined with The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 4-6. This year’s show was the biggest in 10 years with nearly 400 exhibitors and more than 8,100 attendees flooding the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show also included more than 70 education sessions over the course of three days, which sent operators home feeling inspired and full of new, great ideas. These sessions have become so well attended there was standing room only in most. In fact, this year there were three
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Online Reviews: Operation Critical

“Getting your first review is like getting your teeth whitened. You hope it doesn’t hurt as much as they say on the Internet, and you also hope it will leave you with a blinding smile,” said Kathy Parks, author of “The Lifeboat Clique.” Reviews can quite literally be the linchpin with regard to new customer acquisition as well as customer retention. Many prospects these days scour the internet for reviews prior to selecting an auto shop, or anything else for that matter. Online reviews are critical, and operators need to be aware of their importance and use them to
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How Do You Measure Success?

Success, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is defined as the act of achieving a desired aim or result. Everyone defines success differently; however, it’s fair to say most business owners open up businesses to turn a profit and to provide good service. In broad terms, to succeed in the automotive maintenance industry, one must maintain either a high ticket average or a high car count. In a perfect world, you would have both. It would appear these two standards have become the barometer of success in the industry, but it goes so much further than pushing as many cars
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2017 TOPS in the Industry Rankings

The fast oil change and automotive service industry is comprised of a diverse group of automotive professionals and businesses working every day to keep America’s cars running. Every March, we take the time to research, identify and rank the top auto service chains in the nation. Before we examine the rankings, it is important to first define the terms we use in this report. We classify a “fast lube” facility as any business that derives the majority of its sales from quick, convenient oil changes and other automotive preventive maintenance services that can be done in less than 30
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National Car Care Month Preview

National Car Care Month is very much a celebration for the automotive aftermarket industry. It is a time to really promote preventive maintenance services and help customers keep their cars in good shape for as long as possible. “National Car Care Month is a great time for shops to take advantage of the increased publicity that goes out through the Car Care Council and retailers,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council and the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign. “It’s a time of increased awareness about the benefits of taking care of your car,
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Straight from the Source

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it is six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. Customer loyalty is paramount is today’s business community, and many companies spend a fortune trying to figure out just how to increase customer retention. Sometimes the best way to find out what your customers like is to ask them directly. That’s why we’ve gone straight to the source. Here, you’ll find real reviews from real customers who enjoyed their experience at their local quick lube shop so much they
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2017 Aftermarket Outlook

During this year’s Automotive Aftermarket Product Expo, Nathan Shipley, NPD’s director of Industry Analysis, shared how the aftermarket industry performed in 2016 and provided insight into what’s to come in 2017. 2016 At a Glance “2015 and 2016 were pretty good years for the aftermarket industry, and it’s tough to lap that and grow 4-5 percent every single year,” Shipley said. “Prior year performance doesn’t necessarily help us grow.” As with any given year, there are positives and negatives that come into play and affect day-to-day business — some in a good way, others not so much. 2016 came
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Vertical Outlook 2017

This past year has been nothing short of a whirlwind when considering the vast array of shocking events worldwide. There was never a moment to take a breath between the attacks in Aleppo, dealings with ISIS, natural disasters like hurricane Matthew, civil unrest and shootings around the world, skyrocketing healthcare prices and an election that brought out an interesting side in many no matter which side of the ticket voters supported. There were many things to smile about with the Rio Olympics, the Chicago Cubs’ world series win, the majority of the country being drought-free, unemployment rates have decreased
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Online Marketing; Where Do You Stand?

The world we live in today is vastly different from what we experienced such a short 10-20 years ago. We have all experienced information overload in some form or fashion, and our brains simply aren’t designed to retain the thousands of ads and bits of content we are exposed to each day. There are so many media outlets constantly transmitting messages: TV, radio, email, text messages, voicemail, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.Our attention changes every 45 seconds, according to Gloria Mark, informatics professor at the University of California, Irvine. So, it’s extremely important to make sure your
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Straight from the Source: Loyal Customers Share Why They’ve Stayed True to Their Favorite Shops

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it is six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.Customer loyalty is paramount is today’s business community, and many companies spend a fortune trying to figure out just how to increase customer retention. Sometimes the best way to find out what your customers like is to ask them directly. That’s why we’ve gone straight to the source. Here, you’ll find real reviews from real customers who enjoyed their experience at their local quick lube shop so much they wanted
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2016 Vendor Speak

Each year we ask vendors to chime in on important issues in the fast lube industry in this annual feature. Their responses vary, as do the products and services they offer fast lube operators. Read on to learn what they’re speaking about this year.Amsoil Inc.Ed Newman, advertising managerwww.amsoil.com800.777.8491Q. How have you seen your customers’ and/or their employees’ expectations change over the years, and what do you expect them to be in 2017?A. The history of the automobile is a history of change. As new engine designs are adopted, new demands are placed on the fluids that lubricate and protect
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Don't Blink, or You Might Miss Something: AAIW Highlights

Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW) proved to be a great success this year and busier than ever. We, here at National Oil & Lube News found ourselves comparing fitness trackers at the end of each day due to the incredible amount of walking the week entailed.The event began November 1, as we stepped into the halls of the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). Rows and rows of booths displayed the industry’s finest innovations alongside the New Products Showcase, which featured close to 2,500 new items.The AAPEX New Product winners included Blue Sage
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Program Spotlight: Honest-1 Auto Care

Since it’s inception in 2003, Honest-1 Auto Care has been breaking the mold in the automotive maintenance and repair industry. The brand claims the word “honest” is part of its name for a reason.“When you hang the word honest on your door, you better be honest or your customers will never forgive you if you aren’t,” said Tom Miller, director of franchise sales.In 2008, Jack Keilt became president and CEO of Honest-1, and the company has grown tremendously since.“When I started with the company, the car count was around 55 cars per week and currently sits between 85 and
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2016 Best Looking Lube Results

In the automotive maintenance industry, great service isn’t the only thing customers look for. It isn’t just women, either, who appreciate a well maintained oil change shop. It all matters, from the landscaping, to the chairs in the waiting room to the layout of the bays. All of these aspects make for a shop customers want to visit. That’s why each year we hold the Best Looking Lube contest to provide readers with photos and descriptions of the shops that go above and beyond to appeal to their customers and their employees. This year we received a number of
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After Hours: Off-Roading at the Easter Jeep Safari

It all began over 20 years ago at an off-road shop in Orem, Utah, where Quinn Mortensen was doing mechanical work. One day, he and his coworkers heard about an event called the Easter Jeep Safari in scenic Moab and figured they should go see what it was all about.The beautiful red rocks draw in thousands of visitors yearly and provide quite the exhilarating experience when those oversized tires grip their surface. After one trip, Mortensen was hooked and hasn’t missed the event since. Sometimes he goes back to Moab in his customized ‘88 Jeep YJ multiple times per
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iFLEX Seminar Spotlight: Preventing Trouble in the Shop

Eric Frankenberger, president of Oil Changers in the San Francisco bay area, presented material on Oil Change Tech Tips at this year’s iFLEX event. He covered many topics ranging from preventing canister oil filter issues to dipstick design issues and beyond.“In the oil change industry, you want your customers’ cars to last as long as they possibly can,” Frankenberger said. “If your customer wants to give their car to their grandkids, it’s important to help them do that.”It’s also important to inspect for issues. Creating and following a process in everything you do in your shop is very important.
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What's New and What's Happening at This Year's Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week

It’s about that time again, when we all get together to see the newest technology there is to offer at AAPEX/SEMA this November. The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW) will take place from November 1-4 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centers in Las Vegas. Whether you’re a first time attendee or a veteran on the scene, you’re sure to be delighted.AAPEXThe Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) continues to draw crowds year after year with suppliers showing off their newest technology and displaying the most innovative products in the industry.This year, AAPEX will feature over 2,200 automotive aftermarket manufacturers
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After Hours: From California to Illinois in a '41 Ford

As they sat in a 75-year-old car, one inch apart for 2,500 miles, Team 93 kept their goal for The Great Race front and center: finish in the top three in the Rookie class.The 2016 Great Race began in San Rafael, California, on June 18, and ended in Moline, Illinois, on June 26. Racers followed the Lincoln Highway, a route that included landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Rocky Mountains, Mount Rushmore, the Bonneville Salt Flats and Badlands National Park. However, for Team 93, it started many months before when a father wanted to share a life-changing
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The Ins and Outs of TPMS in Today's Shops

Scot Holloway, CEO and general manager of Bartec USA, LLC, led an education session at iFLEX 2016 on Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) and the proper ways to manage this technology. He spoke about the history of TPMS, the different types that are available and some best practices to implement in your shops today. We’d like to share the valuable information he presented and hope you are able to apply some of these practices in your shops.TPMS started in the ‘90s on a very limited basis, landed in America in 2000 and a Chrysler minivan was the first to
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Bridgestone Vision 2020: A New Standard By Which to Operate

Bridgestone’s 2020 Vision store in St. Charles, Illinois, is setting a new standard by which automotive maintenance shops should operate. The extent the company is willing to go to create a customer-friendly environment is mind-blowing. The store up for discussion today is a Firestone location, and they are setting the bar high.History of BridgestoneHarvey Firestone said, “Our company is built on people — those who work for us, and those we do business with.”This goes to show they place emphasis on taking care of their employees, as well as their customers, to whom they refer to as “the boss.”
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Car Volume vs. Ticket Average: The Battle Between Most Profitable vs. Most Requested Services

In the automotive maintenance industry, there is always a tug-of-war being played when it comes to ticket average and car count. Some in the industry believe spending more time with each customer and recommending numerous services will make the business most profitable, while others believe getting as many cars as possible in and out as quickly as possible is the best way to go. It would seem finding a middle ground is a winning stance on the issue. As we all know, profits don’t simply come from the standard oil change. The pretty penny comes from all of the
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2016 AOCA Board Profile

The Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) has been serving the auto maintenance industry for decades. We very much appreciate all of the hard work and dedication everyone involved has contributed throughout the years. The founding purpose of the AOCA is the advancement of the fast lube industry and to enhance the competency of fast lube owners and their employees through education and training. We would like to recognize the current board members and hope you enjoy getting to know them a bit better through this Q&A. David Haney: presidentNOLN: How many shops do you have?Haney: I own one oil change
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Advice Over The Decades

We have gotten some great words of wisdom from operators over the last 30 years and have chosen a few that really stood out to share with you. The size and memory of computers may have changed, the price of items and the variety of products may have changed, but good advice almost always stands the test of time.In the Early DaysDavid Dutcher, 1987On motivating employees“Motivating employees to accomplish business goals does not have to be a frustrating or difficult task. The fast oil change operator need only give personnel the same detail and care as the business plan,
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