How to Start a Mobile Oil Change Business

by Larry Darter

There were more than 135 million registered passenger cars in the United States in 2007, according to a report from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. With the number of vehicles on the road growing each year, the prospects for mobile oil change businesses are lucrative.


Decide whether to start an independent business or buy a franchise. There are advantages and disadvantages to both business models. Going it alone might require less capital outlay, but franchises offer standardized, ready-to-use equipment and marketing support.


Check with local officials to see what ordinances and regulations you must meet before starting your business. Some communities may not permit such businesses.


Acquire the equipment and supplies you'll need. Start-up costs costs for mobile oil change businesses range from $2,000 to $10,000, according to "Entrepreneur" magazine. You'll need a van or trailer as well as tools, oil and lubricants, oil filters and changing supplies. If you're not running a franchise, you can save money by setting up your vehicle yourself and buying your own equipment.


Establish an account with a wholesale motor oil supplier so you pay competitive prices.


Obtain business insurance coverage. If a customer’s vehicle is damaged at your business, you could be found liable for any repairs.


Decide what services you'll provide (oil and filter changes, chassis lubrication, vacuum services, etc.) and set a price for each that provides a reasonable profit. As a starting point, look at how much existing businesses are charging.


Build a customer base through effective marketing techniques. To find initial customers for a mobile oil change service, call businesses with vehicle fleets or large numbers of employees who might be interested in having their oil changed while they are at work. These are two effective marketing strategies because of the large potential of multiple oil changes at a single location.

Items you will need

About the Author

Based in Arlington, Texas, Larry Darter has been writing articles on a broad range of topics including building and construction, outdoor recreation and personal finance since 2009. His articles have appeared on Suite101 and Associated Content. In addition, Darter writes content regularly on assignment for private clients. He holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma.

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