The oil change business is hard. I am not going to sugar coat it. I have been in the business for five years and I am telling you from first hand experience. I have done more research on the topic that several people put together. I am an authority. I know what I am talking about. There is no profits, at least one can actually build a business on, in oil changes.
This is coming from someone who is in the business. Whoever, no matter who he is, tells you that you can make a decent profit off oil changes, regardless of what kind, he is lying. He is either purposefully lying to you to make money or really does not know. The profit from oil changes cannot, and I do repeat for emphasis cannot, sustain a viable business. The whole quick lube model is so flawed its almost comical. And the typical mobile quick lube model is even more flawed at its core. I have met only one guy who has what I consider made a real profit from mobile oil changes and his name is Lance Winslow. I have spoken to the guy and he is very smart but in one of his posts he stated that he makes very little from his oil change company. It had just been one of many companies he has started that has allowed him to achieve wealth in this country.
Every quick lube, including Jiffy Lube, makes no money from oil changes. Mobile oil change businesses will quickly realize this. The cost for your typical oil change in the United States, using the cheapest oil you can find, is $15.00 with oil and filter. The going rate for an oil change in the US is $20-$30 per five quart oil oil change. That means that in most states the most one can profit from an oil change is $15.00. And that is being liberal with the numbers and not including fuel. Fifteen dollars per oil change is not going to sustain a viable business. Some vehicles are absolutely terrible to work on like certain Chevrolet Cavaliers and Land Rovers and will take you more than an hour minimum to do one oil change. What do you get for all this trouble? Maybe twenty dollars. Its the biggest joke going.
The only way most quick lube places can make money is buying really pushing add-ons. If you work at any quick lube and do not sell the customer on additional services they may or may not need than you will be terminated very fast. The quick lubes cannot make money any other way. They have to push unnecessary air filter, fuel filters, coolant flushes, transmission flushes, power steering flushes, rear end flushes, cabin air filters, wiper blade replacement, fuel injection cleaners, and many others to even make a meager profit. The mobile oil change businesses have to do this a lot less because they have lower overhead but their profit margin still relies on addition services as well. As a mobile oil change owner myself I really do try to be as honest as possible. I really do not want to screw anyone. But having said that I would net very little if air filters lasted five years. I have to actively push additions services to make money. Oil changes alone, even for diesels, will not pay for my mortgage. Most fixed locations are in my position times fifty.
Before you start an oil change price think twice and think about it for a very long time. Its not an easy business. Know what you are doing. I am one of the lucky ones. Its a miracle I succeeded. I wanted to give up many times. Maybe you can be the 1/20 people who can actually make the quick lube business pan out. But it is really hard and will take you minimum two years to see a real profit.