10 tips for quick lube business success

The quick lube industry is growing rapidly. Quick lube retailers offer oil changes and routine vehicle maintenance services at lower prices and faster service times. In 2018, the industry was valued at $7 billion in the U.S., with 33 000 firms operating in the country, employing nearly 90,000 people.

The appeal of a quick lube business is easy to see. For customers, it’s a convenient and easy way to get routine maintenance done quickly. Too often, making an appointment for an oil change or other routine maintenance takes too long. Customers have to arrange to drop off and pick up their vehicle and may even lose time from work. Driving up to a quick lube business for routine maintenance that can be completed quickly saves consumers time and money.

Owners of quick lube businesses benefit from the quick overturn of customers and relatively low overhead. Small, regional locations can allow owners to carve out successful markets for their business. Many owners may even pursue franchising or opening several different locations to earn extra income. Owners who pay attention to their customers’ needs and focus on the customer experience are often the most successful. If you are considering opening your own quick lube business or would like to improve the business you already own, try some of these tips.

  1. Hire good employees. In the quick lube world, smart employees are the key to success. A typical quick lube business with 2 to 5 service bays will perform 1,200 service tasks a month. The annual revenue generated per employee in a quick lube business can be nearly $60,000. In a business that is focused on fast turn over, you want smart, fast employees who know their stuff, work hard, and get service appointments completed quickly.
  2. Craft a customer experience. The appeal of a quick lube business is that it’s fast. Customer service should be completed quickly, but not poorly. Make sure that your customers are treated with respect and kindness. Treat your customers to amenities like a free coffee or a newspaper while they wait.
  3. Keep your customers in the car. Don’t waste space in a waiting room. Keeping your customer in the vehicle while you work is a good thing. This way, you can explain what you are doing. You can strategically place mirrors to show the customers what you are doing. It’s easy to demonstrate products or services that customers may need. In the age of COVID-19, keeping customers in their individual vehicles is safer for everyone. It may be another reason consumers opt for quick lube services over waiting for their car to be serviced at a dealership or traditional mechanic shop.
  4. Use checklists. If you want to provide quality, efficient service for your customers every time, use a comprehensive checklist to guide your service appointments. Make your employees follow the checklist each time, and walk the customer through the checklist to know what routine service is needed. Save your checklists to evaluate for performance improvements.
  5. Sell. Another advantage of keeping the customer in the car while the service is being performed is that it’s easier to sell superior products. You can explain the difference between synthetic and traditional oil and show them various filters or lubricant products. Store your supplies in the shop where customers can see them. We offer a whole range of automotive supplies for our quick lube customers to order for their shop.
  6. Offer incentives/rewards. Customer turnover is only half of the equation when it comes to running a successful quick lube business. You want your customers to keep coming back to you. Customer rewards and sales incentives are a great way to increase repeat sales. Use your incentives to push synthetic oil changes or more expensive products at reduced prices. Customers will return for the quality service and a discount, and they may end up liking the more expensive products once they’ve tried them!
  7. Stay on the floor. A good business manager knows what’s going on in their shop. Don’t hide away in your office with clerical work. Go out in the service bay, talk to your customers, train your employees, and make your presence felt. As the owner or manager, the more you lead by example, the more of a team experience you will cultivate in your shop. Customers and your employees will see the difference.
  8. Pay attention to seasonal maintenance. Seasonal maintenance trends like switching out wiper blades, changing over summer tires, and prepping vehicles for winter or summer are a great way to add extra services to each service appointment. Take advantage of seasonal maintenance tasks each year with promotions, and you’ll get repeat customers returning year after year.
  9. Focus on team training. Your shop will only ever be as good as your team. Stay on top of performance parameters for your employees and foster a culture of learning and growth. If you notice one team member is faster than another, pair them together so the slower employee can learn to go faster. Train your team to work together and teach one another to excel.
  10. Say thank you, and ask for reviews. If you want to stand out from your competitors, you need to make sure your customers appreciate your service. Follow up via email, social media, or direct mail with your customers. Thank them for visiting your shop and collect customer reviews. Online reviews are vital for small businesses. The more online reviews your business collects, the more visibility your business will be across the web. Use a review platform service to collect your customer information and regularly schedule review campaigns to solicit your customers’ reviews.

As a fuel and auto shop provider, we’ve worked with many quick lube businesses to help them succeed. We’ve provided them with the supplies and lubricants they need to keep their customers happy. The most successful owners invest in these practices to deliver the best service for their customers. The quick lube business may thrive on customer turnover, but quality, efficient service is what brings customers back to their favorite quick lube shops again and again. Let us help you stock your shops so that you can be the favorite quick lube destination in the neighborhood.