Over the last year, I've had a couple of folks contact me, trying to convince me that changing oil in the parking lots of corporations is a new concept, hardly. It's not a new concept, in fact, it was being done in the early 1980s, which is before both of these young men who tried to convince me otherwise were born. This was when fax machines and cell phones were still new, and few had even heard of this concept called the Internet. Okay let's talk.
This most recent contact came in from MBA entrepreneurial program groupthink fictitious business planning students. They submitted this comment; "This differs from the previous mobile oil change services that we researched that catered mostly to residential customers," insisting they came up with this brilliant brain storm.
Bull. Every mobile oil change company goes through the phase of corporate office park and corporate oil changing on the property for employees, so I asked the students "where the hell have you kids been." Perhaps a bit harsh, but the real world is pretty forgiving, especially the service business. The reason I asked this question back to them, is that a number of spoiled college rich kids think they know everything just observing a simple need in the market.
Entrepreneurship is a little more in-depth than that. Next, you need to work 17-hours a day on whatever project you take into the real world if you want to win and survive your spendthrift burn-rate during the set-up phase. Sales are key to a solid customer base, but performance is needed to make it work, so trust me, it's a lot harder than just the idea or coming up with some new innovative concept. The students followed up with this thought;
"I was hoping you could maybe help open our eyes to things that we may have not thought about previously. Our goal was to partner with the corporate HR departments for a yearly contract where we service their employees. They can then pass on this benefit either entirely to the employee free of cost or at a partial discount."
Might be a hard sell when corporations are cutting employees, and cutting costs - thus, if you do get corporate customers, this will spread out your customer base, meaning greater travel to job sites, meaning more costs in labor, wear and tear on equipment - traffic in most metro areas with lots of large corporations is a nightmare for instance. Think of LA, Boston, Philly, Chicago, DC, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville - and yes, I have done mobile auto services in all of those markets - this isn't a game - it's the real world. Please consider all this and think about it when you think you have some grandiose new innovative service concept.