Multi-Shop Ops

March 1, 2024
Tactics for running more than one quick lube.

Justin Krizman, district manager with Premier Oil Change in Redding, California, was born with his boots on automotive industry ground.

“I grew up in the shop with my dad, who owned a transmission repair shop,” he notes.
Straight out of college, Krizman’s older brother invited him into the oil change business he managed.

Today, 15 years later, the brothers are district managers of eight oil change shops in California and Oregon, with Justin in charge of five of them.

“Every area I manage is a little different,” Krizman contends—as he rolls up his sleeves to share basic business maneuvers that have helped his businesses succeed over time.

Find the Right Fit

While operations of the brothers’ Premier Oil Change locations started out with a one-size-fits-all approach, Krizman says they learned—as they grew—how to accommodate each shop individually.

“Due to the different kinds of cars we see at the different locations, what works in one may not work in another,” he says.

For example, a shop that sits in an older section of town might see older cars pulling in. While a shop in a newer area will tend to see customers with newer cars.

To keep easy track of the supplies that each shop needs, the brothers found that regular inventory analysis was mandatory.

“We keep in touch with the store managers and see what sells at each, making sure we’re stocking inventory for what they need,” Krizman says.

Then, as the vehicles coming into a shop’s location are gradually updated to newer makes and models, eventually the inventory will need to be liquidated.

“We transfer the inventory from one store to another, where it might still be needed, so it’s never wasted,” Krizman shares.

In addition to maneuvers like swapping inventory around between locations as needed, the brothers rely on technology to get ahead of the game and make sure each shop is stocked right.

“We have a sophisticated computer software system that has information on every vehicle and part number,” Krizman describes. His shop managers then use physical whiteboards to write down what they need.

Weekly, Krizman and his managers place orders, calling on a distributor they work with closely.

“We have a direct line to our distributor so we can get information when we need it and figure out where to obtain inventory,” he says.

Krizman also relies on Premier Oil Change’s resources at the very top.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and the owner of the company, Matt Webb, has been in the business for 30 years. Between us, we have a good circle of contacts,” he notes.

Stay Connected

Krizman advises owners to make use of organizations in the industry. One he has learned a great deal from is the the Preventative Automotive Maintenance Association, or PAMA. Webb is the organization’s current president.

In addition to giving owners an instant industry network, joining PAMA can help them learn when something is faulty on newer vehicles, Krizman says.

“Things can get blamed on auto repair shops and quick lubes that are really just factory issues,” he notes. “PAMA makes shops aware of it.”

He further advises: “Don’t leave yourself at risk of paying for something that is not your fault.”

Moving forward, Krizman is paying special attention to what’s coming out next so he can make sure it’s pulling into his shops.

“Lots of oil change companies are trying to figure out how to get electric vehicles (EVs) in the door and make revenue on them,” he says. “We’re trying to get ahead of this and figure out how to service these vehicles, because every single day people are trading in gas vehicles for EVs.”

Right now, Krizman says that somebody else is getting their business: dealerships.

“PAMA is doing great to educate people and say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to go to the dealership. In the preventative maintenance industry, we’re qualified to work on these vehicles.’”

For Krizman, getting the EV business will allow his quick lube shops to compensate for revenue lost as the number of traditional vehicles on the roadways slowly begins to shrink.

“It’s key that our industry gets the message out to the EV industry—and helps make people comfortable bringing EVs to us,” he adds.