Mobile Oil Change Business – Keeping Track Of Your Business And Customers

Let’s say you have a solid mobile oil change business and you want to make sure you keep track of your customers and keep them from migrating to competitors who put out low-ball coupons or fixed site locations with low-cost come-ons. What’s the best way to do this? Well, not long ago a successful mobile truck repair and oil changing entrepreneur asked me if “there is a program that will help with keeping track of customers, and help keep track of when to send out a flyer/postcard for repeat business.” Turns out the answer; is yes and this is a very good question. Let’s talk shall we?

Yes, there are several “Contact Management Software suites for small businesses” in fact, just search that phrase, better yet there are Apps now that do the same thing, store it all in the cloud and do nearly everything for you, inexpensive service companies, usually they are quite good. Also if you do mobile oil changing there are several companies in the Industry that will do this for you, sometimes the companies that sell you the oil will give you such software, others are Industry Vendors and often at trade shows, but if you don’t have time to go to one, just subscribe to NOLN – National Oil and Lube News; you can find them online because these contact software companies advertise with them.

Also there are such data bases for the auto detailing business and especially nice and sophisticated systems for carwashes. Subscribe to Professional Carwashing Magazine; also online. All these are great places to find the tools to keep track of customers.

Now then, what about integration of this data with financial spread sheets for forecasting and preparing accounting statements and taxes? This was the entrepreneur’s next important question; “What type of financial programs are out there besides Quickin Books. I have used it in the past and I figure there might be a better one out there that I may not know of. What did you use?”

Personally, I like Quicken and QuickBooks a lot, easy to work with and all the CPAs can use this information to help you. However there are Quicken “partners” that are industry specific, which makes it really nice to do spread-sheets, projections, proformas, and forecasting – also building nice P&Ls and Balance Sheets, and other misc. business financial documents. It’s nice to be all-connected, with a data base system including everything, even down to the end user information, of course security is very important for any platform, as you can NEVER allow yourself to be hacked or have a laptop stolen with personal customer information on it – right? Think on this and continued success in your mobile oil change business.

Changing Oil and Filter

If you live within a city-limits, be sure to check with the city manager’s office to see if they have any regulations about working on your own vehicle in your yard or driveway. Thanks!

Park your vehicle on a level surface and put blocks of wood or bricks behind the rear tires.

Jack the front of the vehicle up enough for you to get under it.

Be SURE to put jacks stands under the body (behind the front wheels) or put some timbers under the tires and let the weight off the jack.

Put a piece of cardboard, or an old blanket, underneath the vehicle to lie down on (I hate working on the *ground*). ?º

Get a pail or pan that will hold at least 6 or 7 quarts of liquid to drain the oil into.

It’s a mess having a pan that holds 4 quarts and letting 5 quarts of old oil running into it! ?¼

You will need a wrench to remove the oil pan drain plug. PLEASE, don’t use one of those “adjustable” things. All they do is “round” the shoulders on the plug. Get the proper tool.

You need a filter wrench that will fit your oil filter.

Be sure the engine has had time to cool down. Hot oil will burn you, and burn you, and keep on burning you! ?¼

Now, the best way to go about this is to see where the oil filter is. If it will be just above you, leave it until last. Old oil will *drip* on you (yes!)

Put the drain pan under the oil pan drain plug and remove the plug, slowly. Once you have it loose, you can remove it with your fingers, it’s easier.

After the oil stops running out of the oil pan, put the plug back in by hand. Don’t force it, make sure you can twist it up easy, you don’t want to “cross-thread” it (you would be looking for me then!).

Tighten it with the wrench. When you get it “snug”, put a small amount of “pressure” on the wrench. Not too much, but we don’t want it to leak, either!

Now, move the drain pan (slowly) under the oil filter.

Take the filter wrench and slip it over the oil filter, being sure you have the handle where it will tighten up on the filter when you pull the handle toward you.

Pull the filter wrench handle toward you. Sometimes this might take quite a lot of pressure. When the oil filter breaks loose you can remove the wrench and turn it with your hand.

Have on cloth gloves or use paper towels because oil will probably run down the side of the filter.

Continue to twist the filter off and put it into the drain pan.

Unless your oil filter is positioned upside-down, you want to pour fresh oil into it.

Be sure to put oil on the rubber gasket. That protects the seal and makes it easier to remove next time.

As you put the new filter onto the threaded spout, be VERY careful not to “cross-thread” it. If you can twist it easily, you’re ok.

Once you get it snug, tighten it as much as you can with your hand (unless you’re a football player).

Now, I usually take the filter wrench and turn it about an inch, or less. You don’t want to get it too tight, it will squeeze the mating material and cause oil to seep from around it.

Now, jack the car up and take the supports out and let the vehicle down on its tires.

Raise the hood and remove the oil filler cap (the 710 if your cap is backward and has OIL written on it) ?º.

Most vehicles take 5 quarts (with filter) to refill them. Some take only 4.5 quarts.

I usually put in 4 quarts, crank the engine, check the oil pressure gauge, or light; check for leaks underneath the vehicle (plug/filter), then turn the engine off.

Let the vehicle set for about 15-20 minutes.

Pull the oil dipstick out and wipe it off. Replace it and pull it back out and look where the oil level is.

If it’s just a quarter to a half inch from the “Full” mark, I’ll add only a half-quart of oil, then check it again.

You will need to take the old oil and filter to a repair shop or a disposal location to discard it.

PLEASE, don’t pour it out on the ground! EPA!!! Remember, I TOLD you so! ?º

So, you don’t have to wait in line at the *quick* places to get your oil changed anymore! Never, ever, again.