If you live in a small town of older retirees and want to start an oil change business one has to wonder will it make money? Should you start a mobile oil change business or a fixed site oil change business? Recently this question came up and someone in New Hampshire states; I live in a small town with only 8,000 people and mostly retired folks and they have to drive 60 miles to get an oil change. Would it be viable to start one here?
Well 8,000 at .7 cars per person is 6400 cars or so. Remember retired communities have fewer cars and they drive a lot less due to age. But Upper End retirees from my experience with Sun City in Sacramento, Phoenix, Orange County, Palm Desert CA, etc. tell me that they are more apt to take care of their cars you see? Yet in those areas one would not have to drive 60 miles for an oil change. A small population may not provide the Return on Investment for the property and a building, however it might?
Mobile Auto Services in New Hampshire have regional weather issues for mobile services and under 20 degrees or snow it is somewhat unfeasible without hardship of some kind. Since there are people there to will be other service businesses and smaller fleets, 3-10 vehicles, heating and air, plumbing, you know the usual, they too make good customers.
If your town has some nice downtown area you might be able to get some Economic Redevelopment Loans, SBA assist and plus Oil Company Loans at no interest or 30K grants with personal pledge to buy X amount of oil and use their brand 5-7 years? You might make a location work, but go inexpensive and go modular if possible, retro fit an old building that way. Use your used oil to heat the place, you could save costs and make that work.
If you go mobile remember the smaller markets mean you need get in inexpensively, but with a couple of fleets in nearby cities you could also have those every three months say 60 mile radius, think in terms of each weak going a different direction like a BMX Bicycle wheel?
In your scenario used oil is also an issue and your state might have cradle to grave used oil environmental policies but if not you could give your used motor oil to other shops for heating to save them money and you might find yourself with lower costs over all.
Inventory is an issue too, but as you probably have seen Lincoln Continental filters will be a standard filter you will need? So with older retirees often inventory is easier too and this is a good thing. Perhaps you will consider all this in 2006 if you are going to open an Oil Change Business in a Small Town with a small populations and Older Demographics.
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