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  • Fluid top off with oil change

    Posted by Patrick McElroy on November 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    For as long as I can remember, we have filled washer solvent tanks as

    standard proceedure during an oil change. With the price of washer

    solvent these days, I’m getting less margins on my already low margin

    oil change. My thought is to now ask customers if they would like to buy

    a gallon of solvent, fill or top off the tank, and put the remaining

    bottle in their trunk. When solvent was less than a buck per gallon, it

    wasn’t too bad. Any thoughts out there ?


    david Graber replied 11 years, 6 months ago 8 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • vitester

    November 15, 2012 at 3:47 am

    I don’t think my clients would appreciate that,then again we are as

    far as i know the highest cost oil service in town.

    One of the big box stores usually has the gallon jugs on sale at some

    point and i send the apprentice to pick up 50 or so.

    If I was competing with the coupons doing real cheap oil changes then

    yes I would consider that.

    I guess it comes down to knowing your clientele and which

    market segment you service.

  • Tom

    November 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I had that thought a while back. Everyone here talked me out of

    it…instead, just cover it in the cost of your oil change pricing.

    We buy it by the 55 gallon drum…you know you are going to use it and

    it’s not all that expensive that way.

  • Unknown Member

    Deleted User
    November 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I agree with the above posts. Let’s all remember that oil changes are

    NOT a profit center for our businesses, but a way to get customers in

    our door, and keep them from going elsewhere for service. We offer oil

    changes at a very slim profit margin, and we keep them full service,

    with fluid top offs, and full inspections included. The real profits

    in our business are made off the actual repairs, which we get by doing

    those oil changes and earning the trust of our customers. Look for

    ways to save money on the washer solvent, but dont even bother your

    customers with an upcharge.

  • Chester Bulat

    November 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    On every oil change we add $2.25 for shop supplies and $2.00 for

    disposal.I figure the $4.25 will cover washer fluid and other top offs on the fluids.

  • Tom Piippo

    November 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Just our SOP, anything more than 1/2 unit (quart, gallon, pint, whatever) gets billed on the invoice. We bill washer fluid by the quart, this is a consumable commodity, just like fuel in the fuel tank. This also shows the customer that we did indeed check and refill the fluids. In 35 years only one customer complained about this, so he pre-fills his washer jug before coming in for an LOF and we all get along.

  • clarkscarcare

    December 24, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    There are set ups that you buy the concentrate and mix with water. There is a summer and a winter mix. Really lowers the cost of solvent-People never like to be nickle and dimed. Agree-oil changes are to get people in the door-factor it into your advertising/marketing budget.

  • david Graber

    January 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    We use to do the “el-cheap-o” oil change at one time. Then what started to slowly happen was, we were getting more oil change customers only. And no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t turn them into good customers. So about 7 years ago, we change how we charge for oil changes. We have our basic oil change. We charge for the oil and filter,check tire pressure and a labor charge of 1/4 of our hourly labor rate. Then we have our full service oil change. We do oil and filter, check all fluids, tire pressure, grease any fittings, spray lube sway bar bushings and links, door latches and hinges, check all filters, hoses, belts, clean windows, and a general check over. We charge for all fluids, oil, oil filter, and 3/4 of our labor rate. If we up sell anything, then there is a labor charge for parts and labor. If the time it takes to change the air and cabin filter is only a matter of a couple of minutes, we don’t charge any labor. But we may add something to the cost of the filters. On a side note, when a customer is only getting a basic oil change, we still do a quick safety check. This has worked great for us. Most of our customers will alternate from the basic to the full service. We do have some who will only get a full service every third time. And we do have some who get their oil changes at Wal-Mart, but have us do all their other services and repairs, with no complaints about price. This has been working great for us. Some feel that this type of oil change pricing wouldn’t work in their area. Well, I can tell you this, within a 10 mile” radius, there was 18 factories, everything from “Miss Smith pies”, Dana, Firestone, Boyertown Body works, Wagner Electric, Occidental, Stanley Tools, and many more. Times are tough for everyone, but I still think most customers don’t mine paying for good service.

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