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Shop Owners: Stop Doing Oil Changes!

Joe Marconi


No, I have not lost my mind. You and I both know that the oil change business is different today from what it was years ago. If we go back to the 1980s, and up through the 1990s, we judged customer visits by a factor of 4 to 5, which meant that we needed to see a customer at least 4 to 5 times a year, an indicator of customer retention rate and loyalty. Back then customers brought us their vehicles every three to four thousand miles for the traditional oil change. That business model no longer holds true.

Today, the customer mindset has changed. Plus, oil change mileage intervals are a lot longer. For many, they don’t think about the oil change service the way consumers thought about it years ago. Just look at your customer base. How many customers drive well over the suggested oil change mileage interval?  How many customers wait until the Maintenance Light comes on? Or even worse, the Engine Oil Light! 

I am not suggesting that you don’t perform oil changes, what I am suggesting is that you take a different approach. First, for those customers who drive well over the oil change mileage interval, it is in the best interest of the customer to educate them on the value of preventive maintenance. Instead of selling an oil change, promote the value of the vehicle’s scheduled maintenance service; for example, a 15k or 45k Service.  This is not new; we all know this concept. Selling a maintenance service will help to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect our customers, promote vehicle safety, and extend the life of our customer’s vehicles. This concept also lowers the overall cost of vehicle ownership over the vehicle's life.

Lastly, you have the perfect opportunity at vehicle delivery to educate your customers about the importance of preventive maintenance. Review with all customers, the service interval that is due next, and book that service with your customer. If we focus on what is best for our customers, we can’t go wrong.

I frequently tell shop owners, “Every vehicle in your shop today will need a future service or repair. Make sure that your customers return to you.”

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How do you handle this when your shop is too busy to schedule more then what already shows up with out any effort?

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3 hours ago, Hands On said:

How do you handle this when your shop is too busy to schedule more then what already shows up with out any effort?

Do you mean that you are over-booked and cannot handle any more work, no potential? What about tech production? Need a little more information. 


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Right, like we have outgrown the building, but I am reluctant to get a larger building, as I hear more headaches more problems.


I usually just advise clients to use the local Valvoline for their routine oil changes, and hit us up once a year for the inspection and maintenance stuff. My ARO is at 962.73 right now. I could use another super tech that can produce 60 Quality hours per week, but have trouble attracting the good talent in my little tightly packed shop.  I would not mind getting a larger place, but I am intimidated by the process of finding the financing and location, and nervous about moving. If I could find two more 60 hour a week techs and convince them to work here, I could hire a good service writer and go open a second location or expand ect.

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