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Running a Mobile Oil Change Operation

A mobile oil change goes to the customer rather than the other way around. Most commonly, the work is done in the parking lot outside a place of employment or a shopping center. The customer, accordingly, has one less errand to run, and the work is done while he or she is already occupied with other tasks.

The attractiveness for the entrepreneur is that the investment is only a fraction of that associated with a traditional operation that requires land, building, and stationary equipment. Instead, a mobile oil change operation is run out of a specially outfitted truck. Moreover, because of convenience, customers may be motivated to have their oil changed more frequently.

To succeed with a mobile oil change business, you convince the owners of those parking lots to let you in (preferably on a regularly scheduled or ongoing basis), and then you must attract customers who park in those lots.

If you are trying to gain access to a plant, office building, office park, etc., your pitch may be best received in large locations that already allow certain service providers to conduct drop off and pick up operations (such as dry cleaners, shoe repairers, and pharmacies) on site. These employers already understand that they boost productivity by limiting the amount of errand running that takes place during business hours.To be welcomed at a shopping center, you must position yourself as an amenity that will increase traffic there. In either case, whether at a shopping center or at a company site, negotiate first for free access, but be prepared to have to pay a fee or to share your revenue.

Also approach nonprofit organizations that tend to offer car washes as fundraisers, such as scouting troops, schools, youth sports teams, volunteer fire companies, rescue squads, etc. Suggest that they add oil changes, with you as the provider (perhaps at reduced cost), to their menu of services.

Wherever you offer your service, you must take care to avoid spillages of waste oil (which you must collect and send to a recycler) to be in compliance with environmental regulations. Some organizations that otherwise might offer a

potential base of customers for you may have adopted “green” policies that shut you out of doing business there. That is, they may be so concerned about the possibility of oil drips and spills, even small ones, that your business either is prohibited outright or has to demonstrate extraordinary care.

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