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Mobile Oil Change Companies Disadvantages and Inventory Control

By Lance Winslow


Free Price Quotes at You know there are certain drawbacks to being mobile in the oil change business, for instance trying to offer add-ons during oil changing services. For instance we need to get the orders the day before and stop off at the local NAPA, and pick up the air cleaners, filters, because it is impossible to try to stock all those damn filters. You indicate you are ware of this already and rightfully so.

As any Quick Lube operator or anyone in the Associations will tell it, it just sucks. Why? Well many reasons for instance every time they build a new car the air filer seems to be the last thing designed and has to fit in a little space. So of course every type of car requires a different specification. Of course if you tried to carry all these you would go broke and the dealers shops do not want you to change the oil or sell the filters, they want that additional business. Makes sense, but it does not make you any dollars.

Now realize that in the R.L. Polk catalog I counted 398 types of filters? Ouch are they serious? Yes and they want you to buy 36 of each I bet? Still where would you put them, we for instance being mobile would need an extra Grumman 24 box van just to carry filters and it would be filled floor to ceiling, open the door and it would explode like a Taco bell corn tortilla you bite into too fast. You would be drown in a sea of endless filters burying you like Saddam and His Sons under the ground from a bunker buster bomb, lots of luck there, we all know the end to that story. Which does not need an oil change by the way, only regime changing going on these days, the oil is for the people. Imagine the cost of 36 of each type of air filter a small space sensitive location for a quick lube would need to be one bay short just to house them. That is a lot of skew numbers to keep track of and also realize that in 1977, 40 new types of filters were added and many of those cars are still on the road today.

On-line / Off-line Normally however 10-30 filters are added per year. The manufacturers may love their core businesses but do not kid yourself because their dealers want your oil change business too, all of it, they want it now and big time.

It has been said by certain experts that you can get 80-90% coverage with about 100-116 filter types. But that is still too much for mobile services, even too much for the smaller compact prefab type quick lubes. Too many filters to keep track of, no more add-ons to sell, drowning in self-pity, want to quit? You are not alone as many in the industry indicate, but for the rest of us, we need to have good relations with suppliers and jobbers to stock our excess needs for us, so we can cover the inventory of 80% of the customers needs with as little as 100 or less types of filters. The competition is tough for some, but that just proves we are in a good industry, where there is steady customer demand and that it is worth fighting for. 

Lance Winslow is a retired entrepreneur; and works with the World Think Tank; 

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