Have you ever taken your vehicle to a quick lube shop? You probably have! Quick lube shops are an easy and fast way to get a quick oil change without booking your vehicle for service and then arranging a ride home or back to work. When you visit a quick lube shop, you can stay in your car, read the paper or check your phone for the 10-15 minutes it takes them to change your oil, and then be on your way!
Quick lube shops are designed to run on convenience for the customer. But increasingly, more and more customers are seeking convenient vehicle repairs in a quick lube setting, and many shops are willing to do the work. Many quick lube shops now offer tire service, transmission repair, and more services for their customers. It’s a growing market for quick lube shops to tap into if they do it correctly. But to take advantage of this market, quick lube shop owners must face the difficulties of the market and figure out ways to tackle these challenges.
Quick lube shops need to manage their services efficiently
The business model of a quick lube shop runs on doing as many repairs as possible. Unlike a traditional auto repair shop, quick lube shops run on speed and quantity. You make more money the more vehicles you get in and out of the shop. But with increased service offerings, getting vehicles out of the bay as quickly as you might for a traditional oil change is harder. And all the different service options that shops offer can make it harder for managers to know what is happening in each service bay. That’s a big blind spot for owners and managers. How can it be fixed? In this blog, we’ll discuss a few problems quick lube shops face and how businesses can face them going forward.
Quick lube shops need software management
To improve shop efficiency and process, managers and owners need data to help them determine the most efficient processes for each type of vehicle repair. A shop management software tool can help. Using a software tool that tracks the type of service being performed and when and where can give managers the insight they need into the work being done in each service bay. Managers can then use this information to help improve processes and efficiency to keep things fast and convenient for customers. In a recent NOLN article about this issue, Chris Cloutier, co-owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, said this about his shop software tool and how it helps him manage: “I know what bay it’s in. I know how long it’s been in the bay. I even know the bodies that have been in the vehicle. So it starts helping me kind of dial in efficiencies and productivities within the shop.”
Quick lube shops need synthetic lubricant products
Another problem many shop owners need help with is the growing switch to synthetic engine oil and lubricant products. Many customers now expect that shops will have synthetic offerings on hand and increasingly specialized engine oil products. Most new vehicles require synthetic engine oil, and many customers have grown to see the benefits of switching to synthetic blends. In another NOLN article, Robert Repka, an owner of Kwik Kar Lube and Tune in Crandall, Texas, says: “As the other oils started coming in, like the 0W-20s, we were using them in eco boxes or quarts. As we started using more gallons of that than we were using in conventional, we pumped the conventional until it was almost out. We brought the used oil people in, and they sucked the tanks dry and put the new 0W-20 in that.” Now Repka, fills his larger tanks with synthetic oil and reserves space in his shops for conventional oil in quart containers.
Quick lube shops need to expand their services carefully
Adding more synthetic engine oil offerings and lubricants designed for vehicles with special needs like extended miles is a great way to offer variety to your service offerings. Quick lube owners are finding that the more they are willing to offer their customers, the more customers will think of their business as more than just a place for a quick oil change. Expanding service options and repairs can greatly increase your profit margin and bring in more customers, as long as it’s done efficiently.
To keep your shop efficient while offering expanded services, you must ensure that your team has the training and skillset for the new service options. If you want to avoid bogging down the shop with longer repair times or inefficient processes, focus on training everyone the same way. Work together to develop an efficient system for your new service options so that you can still offer fast and convenient repair services for your customers.
Here’s a great example of how to do that. Ryan Frisby, an owner of two Oil-N-Gi Valvoline Express Care locations in Utah, decided to expand some of his service offerings at the shops. He knew that making sure his team could handle the repairs was essential. So when he added air conditioning services to their lineup, he had the whole team trained on refrigerant work from the Mobile Air Conditioning Society. This training ensured that everyone knew how to handle those repairs efficiently and helped his team develop the best process for handling them.
Quick lube shops need to be willing to change
Adapting to a changing market is a skill, and quick lube owners must be willing to learn this skill to expand. The problems outlined in this blog are common across the quick lube industry. There are plenty of ways owners and managers can address these issues, but the most important thing they can do is not to ignore them. Shops that are willing to adapt and improve are the ones that will build a steady customer base to help them stay profitable.
We work with a lot of shops and help with quick lube branding. We know the pressures your business and industry face, and we’re here to help. We offer a full lineup of shop fluids and automotive supplies to stock your shop fully. If you’re running low on inventory, or need more specialized products, give our team a call. We’re here to make things easier for you!