Survey: Quick Lubes Optimistic but Feeling Pinch from COVID-19

April 9, 2020

A survey conducted by NOLN confirmed that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is widespread drops in business for quick lubes. But operators are looking ahead to the next stage.

April 9, 2020—A national survey conducted by National Oil and Lube News confirmed the widespread effects that the coronavirus pandemic has had on business.

Of the 234 respondents, a full 97 percent said they experienced negative business impacts amid nationwide business closures, stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures meant to slow the spread of the virus.

Thanks in part to federal guidance, quick lubes are largely seen as "essential" businesses, but in many cases that does only a little to mitigate the loss of business. Some 87 percent of the respondents said that they have altered their business in some way to help cut costs and stay open. That most often includes shaving hours of operation, furloughing staff members and cutting shifts.

For many shops that traditionally utilized customer waiting areas, a drive-thru model has been adopted to reduce customer interaction. Some service checklists have been changed, too. As Bill Floyd described in an April 1 AOCA webinar, ticket averages have suffered because techs aren't going into vehicles to check on cabin air filters.

Still, 78 percent of respondents said they were confident about the future of their business. Those who said they weren't confident most often described concern about the uncertainty involved—when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, when the pandemic curve flattens and when things return to some normalcy.