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Starting a Mobile Oil Change Business vs. Brick and Mortar Oil Change Shop

Opening an oil change shop can be a lucrative business if done in the right location with the right business plan, operational execution and customer acquisition strategy. The big question many individuals have is whether to open a physical location or a mobile business. There a pros and cons to opening a mobile oil change business so let’s break it down.


Benefits to Starting a Mobile Oil Change Business:


Low Start up Cost

Starting a mobile oil change business is much less expensive because you don’t have to spend money on a physical storefront, lifts, signage, and other equipment needed for a brick and mortar location. Instead your largest cost is a vehicle, usually a truck or commercial van so that you can hold more inventory. Besides that you will incur your traditional administrative costs to set up a business and will need an initial investment in inventory such as filters and oil. The cost to setting up your mobile oil business is fairly low, however you will face challenges that brick and mortar shops don’t have.

Low Operating Costs

Compared to a physical business the operating costs of a mobile business are much lower. You don’t need to worry about rent, utilities or machinery upkeep. Instead your operating costs will consist of payments on your vehicle (lease or loan), marketing, inventory, light machinery and software. Your largest ongoing costs will be your vehicle and marketing. Since you don’t have a storefront to drive customers into your business you will need to find other ways to advertise your service. Especially in the early stages of your mobile oil change business your marketing spend will be significant until you can build a strong client base.

Work your own hours

Unlike having a store you can book appointments based on your schedule. This allows you to book clients when you want to work and take days off when you feel the need. This sounds great, however keep in mind that customers can be picky about appointments as well so you will need to decide how badly you want their business and might have to tailor your schedule around your customers.

Customer Convenience

For the most part, oil change shops have similar value propositions for their customers. The huge advantage you would gain as a mobile oil change business is convenience. Your customers could get an oil change from you at home or while at work, that’s a great differentiator that will help you stand out in the market.


Negatives to Starting a Mobile Oil Change Business:


No physical location

Without a physical location you don’t get the same exposure so customers won’t be able to stumble upon your shop. This means you will need to spend money on marketing initiatives to let customers know who you are any why they should hire you for an oil change. In addition customers trust the established brands and shops that have a store fronts. Since the mobile business is still in its infancy, many customers are still cautious about who is working on their vehicle and may feel sceptical of a mobile operator working on their vehicle.


Travel Time

Since you go where the customer is you would need to travel between jobs. This takes valuable time and forces you to incur travel costs. This is the reality of the business however you can reduce your travel costs by scheduling jobs that are close to each other for certain days. Ideally you would also lock down fleet clients like rental car companies so that you can pull up to their office and service multiple vehicles at one time.


Those are the quick pros and cons of running a mobile business. Let us know what your thoughts are through our contact form.

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