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Oil Change Guys History; Part I

How do franchise companies come to be? How do they start. What type of a person or entrepreneur becomes a franchisor? Below is the story of how one small company became a franchisor in the mobile oil change business. The story is written from our point of view and opinion. We claim freedom of speech, of the press in its entirety since a good part of it is opinion based.

Serial Entrepreneur Lance Winslow started out in the Aircraft and Car Detailing Business about 28 years ago. Mobile Oil Changes did not exist for the consumer at that time. There were only preventative maintenance services for over the road trucks and off-road heavy equipment. During this time Jiffy Lube was growing in size and convenience started to take hold. Jiffy Lube in less than 15 years cornered the market. Mr. Winslow watched this trend take hold and thousands of quick lube shops started to spring up across America, similar to the original Midas Muffler Model, but this time for oil changes. This was occurring as gas stations turned from service station garages to C-Stores for higher per square foot profits. At time the young entrepreneur never thought much about running a mobile oil change franchise.

Eventually several companies sprung up to fill this niche, few lasted as consumers were not ready to except this new trend of mobile oil changes and cities and property managers frowned upon it. In some markets they did well and in others they failed miserably. Eventually many companies learned through trial and error what the consumers needed and wanted. The operators also learned how to market these services. Now we see National Oil and Lube News; , has a whole month dedicated to the mobile oil change sector. The winners in this mobile on-site oil change market today are Location Lube, Lube and Go, and Oil Butler.

In 1998 Mr. Winslow was marketing a new franchise in San Jose, CA for his Mobile Car Wash Business when he ran into Dave who was the co-founder of Oil Maxx. Oil Maxx was founded back in 1995 after a study of the market revealed that there was a great potential for a mobile oil and lube service. Many people had never even heard of a mobile lube service in Silicon Valley. Dave and his partner then borrowed money from family and friends and started Oil Max, a name they chose to franchise with. Although this confused their current customers they thought it was a smart move. Soon after they discovered Oil Max was taken as a name and changed to Oil Maxx with two 'X's. Prior to that there were only Biz-Ops and all were East Coast based and only one was a legitimate franchise; The Oil Butler in NJ. Dave and His partner and newly formed marketing staff spent many days and nights perfecting their system and building an even stronger customer base.

Oil Maxx provided service to many major companies and individuals throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding communities. They were members of the National Association of Fleet Administrators and a preferred vendor with many fleet service/leasing companies including GE Capital, PHH Vehicle Services, Wheels/Map, US Fleet Leasing, and Enterprise Fleet Services. Oil Maxx decided to team up with our franchisees of The Car Wash Guys and The Truck Wash Guys in the California Bay Area. By co-marketing and bundling services each of the two companies doubled business by sharing customer lists. We immediately sent Oil Maxx to our customers at Adaptec, Fujitsu, and HP. They sent us to Budweiser Distribution, a courier service, a uniform service and the cable company. We also worked together to leverage other competitors out of the market, such as our once rival Texas "T", by bundling services with the many Concierge Services, which started popping up to cater to corporate employees at the height of the DotCom and Tech Bubble. The synergies gained were so intense, they were scary, so both companies grew closer and even shared data bases of customers, billing information, scheduling routes lists and sales teams. Without any non-competes, lawyers or guarantees, all on a hand shake between company founders. (January of 1999).

Seeing the potential of this incredible synergy, Mr. Winslow, introduced Oil Maxx founders to his then sole mentor in franchising, Lou Gurnick of Lou Gurnick was the Chief Operating Officer for Midas Muffler from it's inception with only $100,000 in capital to over 400 Million in sales which was still over 30 years ago. Lou Gurnick was also a consultant to Ray Kroc who franchised McDonalds and to Tom Monahan Founder of Dominos Pizza. Mr. Winslow was looking to duplicate this synergy he found with the Oil Maxx Company across the nation. He was anticipating Oil Maxx's rapid expansion through franchising on a promise from the Oil Maxx founders to catch up to the then only Car Wash Guys then already franchised in 14 states at the time. Knowing that it would bring fleet business and corporate onsite car washing to his team and also provide Oil Maxx Franchisees with instant business. Mr. Winslow had a long-range plan to either buy all or part of Oil Maxx after the fast and explosive growth and then take the company public or trade for Car Wash Guys stock. That never came to be, as Oil Maxx failed to capture enough inertia to attack the franchising market. Most of this was due to under capitalization. Mr. Winslow had not even considered setting up the Oil Change Guys Franchise System at that time. He was completely busy setting up Car Wash Guys Franchises. To be continued. . .

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;

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