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Mobile Oil Change Businesses Are Very Hard to Succeed In

There have been many people who have come and gone in the mobile oil change business. It always looks easy from the surface and is relatively inexpensive to start with minimum investment compared to most other businesses. But most mobile oil change operators rarely make it past the first year. In fact most do not make it past the first several months. One has to wonder why such a good idea ultimately ends in failure. Lets take a closer look.

First the profit generated from oil changes is not enough to sustain a healthy business. After you calculate the cost of goods from the total bill there is rarely is more than twenty five dollars net profit made from your typical oil change. And that figure does not include the gas used driving to the actual location. You have to be doing a lot of oil changes per day for you to make a decent profit to support your business and your personal expenses. Most quick lubes make even less due to their substantially higher overhead yet make up for it in large volume. Most successful fixed locations are doing 60 oil changes on a bad day. A mobile oil change company, with most of the time one or perhaps two people working it, does not have that luxury. The most your typical mobile oil change van can do is ten oil changes per day and after that the operator is exhausted. And even if a person could consistently do ten oil changes per day he still has to generate those oil changes from somewhere. They do not magically appear. Do you have a plan how to do that? Most start out thinking corporate campuses will provide tons of business especially if its marketed by the companies there. In reality that rarely works as advertised and you will be lucky if you get 10 customers in one year from a huge corporate campus. The end conclusion is that the net per oil change is just too low to make a viable business from it without a massive amount of volume.

Second, many mobile oil change operators are not very good salesmen. They are usually very honest people and ones who are very passionate about what they do and you gotta love that but I have found that most owners of mobile oil changes are terrible at the sales end. They are usually the type who try to charge way less than the going market rate and think they can tell a few people about their “awesome service” and wait by the phone. That never works. You have to go out and get them. You have to do a copious amount of cold calling. You have to talk to a lot of fleet managers and sale yourself first and then your service. Most in the mobile oil change business do not fully understand this or never really apply themselves to this side of business. Its probably the most important part not …

Starting a Business – 5 Personal Inventory Audits to Help You Launch Your Business Startup

Starting a business appears to be as American as apple pie. Every year, tens of thousands of people in the United States decide to launch their own business start up. If you are thinking of doing the same thing, you probably need some help in deciding exactly what type of business you should start.

In over 9 years of being a business adviser and coach, I have helped numerous entrepreneurs make decisions like this with a special set of tools known as personal inventory audits. These personal inventory audits are simple sessions where you think specifically about a particular life area and create a list of assets. Here are 5 simple audits you can perform on yourself to help you decide on the business startup of your dreams.

1. Audit your Skills and Competencies

Starting a business related to skills you have means that you can be your own employee. These may be broader professional skills, or technical skills or even leadership skills. When you establish a company that delivers a skill set that you understand, you can manage your employees based on your first hand knowledge of what they do.

2. Audit your Experiences

The experiences you have been through in your personal or business life can form the foundation of a new company. Whether these are nominally negative or positive experiences does not matter. In seminars and workshops, I instruct people to “turn tears into gold” by repackaging their experiences (and lessons learned) for the marketplace of people who may be going through similar situations.

3. Audit Proximities

By proximities, I mean that you should audit and create a list of people, places, products, or philosophies that are near and dear to you. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What can I partner with these people to offer?
  • What do these people do well that I can sell?
  • What are the places I’m familiar with well known for?
  • What do I know about this product that many others need to know but do not?
  • How many others could use these philosophies I have been adhering to?

These types of questions serve to jog your thinking into action and to help you discover hidden opportunities for doing business.

4. Audit your Hobbies

If you have outdoor hobbies like extreme sports or hiking and mountain climbing, you can leverage your knowledge of these areas to start a related business. Not only could you start an equipment or accessory supply business, you could start an internet-based business where you sell valuable information to fellow hobbyists. The internet is also a great business platform if your hobby is an indoor activity like embroidery or scrapbooking.

5. Audit your Professional Knowledge

Do you have professional credentials? If so you could start a business in your area of expertise. An accounting professional I know recently started a bookkeeping business to help business owners in a very specific niche. This is a great way to leverage the work you have already done and the experience you have …

Need A Rain Umbrella? What You Need To Know Before Your Next Purchase

In the good old days, if you needed an umbrella, you would wind up with a long stick umbrella. And it would be black. But in recent years there have been several recent innovations and amazing feats of engineering applied to the age old rain umbrella.

Perhaps the most dramatic option for an umbrella is the method of opening. Manual umbrellas are opened and closed by sliding the ring up and down the shaft, at the whim of the user. There have been, for several years now, automatic umbrellas which would pop open at the push of a button, located on the handle. These spring-loaded umbrellas are really handy and can usually open faster than a traditional manual umbrella. Even more recently some ingenious engineers have discovered how to manufacture umbrellas which automatically open and close. These are the ultimate in convenience. A word of caution, being complex mechanical machines, automated umbrellas occasionally will break and become either stuck open or stuck closed. If you wish to take advantage of an automatic umbrella, I recommend getting a higher quality umbrella with a lifetime warranty.

The next amazing innovation for the modern umbrella is the double canopy. This design features overlapping slits in the canopy, the theory being that wind can flow through these slits rather than being captured by the canopy and forcing the umbrella to invert. (Inverting is usually the best sign that you need a new umbrella.) There are many different variations to the double canopy, but in essence they all work the same, and can mitigate damage to this valuable accessory. Most umbrellas with double canopies have been found to withstand winds up to 50 mph (80 kph.) Indeed, if your double canopy umbrella becomes inverted, it’s time to seek immediate shelter and get indoors!

Another option to consider is whether to get a traditional stick umbrella or a folding umbrella. Folding umbrellas are also marketed as compact or ultra compact. The shaft of these umbrellas telescopes out when opened and can provide adequate coverage for individuals, while collapsing down to less than a foot in length for convenient carrying. Traditional stick umbrellas, though certainly bulkier, are also going to be more durable.

The material used for the canopy for an umbrella is worth mentioning. Most umbrellas are manufactured from nylon because of its durability as well as being freely available and cost effective. Pongee (pronounced “Ponj”) is a type of silk cloth. It is rare to find umbrellas made exclusively from Pongee, but you are likely to find Poly-Pongee. This polyester and silk combination is more widely used, and due to the silk content is a little more costly. The advantage to poly-pongee is that it is a lighter weight fabric. You will also find some select umbrellas made from a polyester canopy. Each of these fabrics have been found to provide superior protection from both the sun and rain. Of note for custom imprinting, nylon tends to hold and reflect imprints better. If you are …

Popular Business Misconceptions Cost You Money!

Faulty information costs you money! Which of these
Popular business misconceptions do you believe?

Popular Misconception # 1:
"We Only Need Our Books Done Once A Year For Tax Provisions."
Are Your Accounting Records Adequate To Run Your Business?

Although it is important to keep records for tax purposes,
It is not the only reason (or even the primary reason) good
Accounting records should be kept. Another frequent reason
Clients request financial statement preparation is to obtain
Bank financing. Although important, this also is not the
Primary purpose of keeping good records for your business.

Good recordkeeping will enable you to extract meaningful
Financial information for your business that will help you
To manage it properly. If you can`t access this information,
You will not be able to manage your business properly. Bad
Management leads to business failure.

Yes, the primary reason good accounting records should be
Kept is to produce period (at least on a monthly basis)
Financial statements for management information purposes.
Only with this current financial information can you properly
Manage your business. This information can alert you to
Declining sales, excess expenses, tax opportunities,
Cashflow problems, and many other vital concerns for your
Business.

To be of value, this accounting system should be set up
With meaningful account categories and departments. It may
Be cost-effective to have an outside accounting service do
The monthly bookkeeping. However, with accounting software
That is readily available, you don`t have to be an expert
Bookkeeper to do your own books and extract meaningful
Financial information.

If you do your monthly statements yourself, it would still
Be prudent to have your accountant or business advisor help
You set up your system and, as well review such information
With you to discuss problems and opportunities.

Popular Misconception # 2:
"Writing My Hobby Off As A Business Loss
Saves Me A Lot Of Income Tax! "
Is Your Hobby A Tax Write-Off?

If your business has no reasonable expectation of profit, if it is a
Hobby and not really a business, you will absolutely fail in your tax
Objective. Since your losses are being incurred for a hobby and not a
True profit generating business, the tax authorities will take the
Position that you aren`t entitled to any discounts. This is a double
Blow. First, you`re losing money. Second, you`re denied tax deductions.

It is true, however, that if you enjoy what you`re doing, you`ll do
Better at it. You`ll be willing to work longer hours and you`ll be
Willing to put up with more hardships in order to make your business a
Success.

Rather than trying to have the tax system subsidize your hobby,
Why not turn that favorite pastime into a real, profit generating
Business? This is a doubly rewarding. First, you make money at
Something you love doing. Secondly, the tax authorities legally have to
Allow your reasonable expenses to earn your now substantive business
Income.

Prove that you`re running a business by running a business. Prepare and
Follow a …

How To Accelerate Your Personal Growth By Choosing What You Control

Do you know the difference between what you can control and what you can not? Because if you do not the stuff you can not control will end up controlling you!

In Stephen R Covey's book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" he explains the difference between your "Circle of Influence" – the things that you can control and your "Circle of Concern" the things that affect you but you can not control .

In truth, as I've talked about in one of my previous articles "The only thing that you can really control is yourself, your mind, control your choice of response to external inputs, and what you choose to do to persuade others to accept your point of view. This is your "Circle of Influence".

Your path to personal growth is to gradually expand your "Circle of Influence" by working on your yourself.

Your "Circle of Concern" is all those other things that affect you that you have no direct control over … Like the reactions of other people to your actions, the weather, changes in the stock market, the laws and social systems you live by …

There Is Danger In Your "Circle Of Concern"

The trap for all of us, is that it is so easy to blame other people, blame the government, blame the weather, blame the irritating habits of co-workers when something that we do not like happens to us.

Of course, to a greater or lesser external outside forces will have an effect on our results. If you are just a small cog in the wheel of a large company that goes broke, you will likely end up out of work!

However, we can choose how we respond to such circumstances.

Take for example the story of Sarah who had spent many years of her life trapped in a terrible marriage. Finally she summoned up the courage to break free, left her husband and got a job in the local power company. Almost as soon as she got the job, the company ran into difficulty and she was told she would be laid off.

Now, Sarah could have chosen to blame her ex-husband, the company, society and countless other things. She could easily have become an obvious victim of the trap of letting her "Circle of Concern" control her life.

Instead she found the courage inside herself to look inside and ask how she could make the most of her circumstances. Sarah found she could help her colleagues suffering the same fate. She turned the loss of her job around and started offering advice on job hunting (something that she had a recent experience of after all!) To all her co-workers about to be laid off, many of who had been employed by the company for years .

The story gets even better …

Sarah quickly grew a reputation as someone who had a positive and positive attitude and rather than lay her off, her employers re-deployed her to a position where …

Financial Projections in Business Plans

One of the most difficult sections to write in a business plan is the proforma and financial sections. After all it is most difficult to what exact costs you will incur or what level of sales volumes are actually achievable. So often businesses are faced with excess government controls at all levels which take thousands of dollars in fees, additionally legal fees, delays and lawsuits often ensue and slow the project. You cannot know in advance what roadblocks or brick walls city planners, country agencies or Federal Regulators will come up with, as they often change their minds and add new laws in the middle of your already delayed project. These are only a few of the problems facing entrepreneurs when writing financial projections. Other issues occur from an over enthusiastic entrepreneurial positive attitude and business plan writers should double the money needed and triple the time to complete the project to be on a reality based plain. Thus if you beat your projections everyone is happy. Including bankers, investors and yourself. If folks are not happy you may find yourself in court defending yourself and making excuses, many of which many not be your fault, but in the end you are hung out to dry as the buck stops with you.

To assist you in writing your financial projections section of your business plan, I have prepared a sample. This sample is from a most simple business model; a mobile car wash, which is part of a franchise system. Please feel free to print this article out and make notes in the margins and then take a legal pad and sketch out your own financial projections and start-up capital needed. I sincerely hope this sample helps you.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Financial Projections

We will follow our business plan to keep us in a profitable situation at all times. We will try to keep our car wash truck busy at all times. We will stay on top of collections and make sure all invoices go out on time and are directed to the person who authorizes payment. We will treat cash flow as a primary objective in order to reach our financial projections. We will be sure to have the right mix of services.

Gross Revenue Percentage Breakdown

Personal Car Washing 60{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc}

Graffiti, Industrial, Concrete 20{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc}

Fleet Washing 15{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc}

Other 5{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc}

Gross Revenue:

Insert Graph or Pie Chart Here.

* Note: Car washing of personal vehicles will be 60{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc} of our business. Over 80{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc} of these monies will be collected at the point of sale by either:

· Cash

· Check

· Credit Card

Some will actually be paid in advance on credit cards thus keeping us on the proper course to achieve positive cash flow at all times. Very few customers will be allowed to be billed monthly.

** Note: Fleet washing and industrial (graffiti, concrete, etc.) will only account for 35{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc} of gross receipts. Twenty-five …

Identity Theft Fraudsters – How They Get And Use Your Personal Information

The way the identity theft fraudsters use your personal information, they could lead you to complete financial ruin. This is why you need to be very alert that your personal information is not misused by anyone. Your intentions are good, but stealing your personal information to impersonate you is not very difficult, as most people are quite careless about how they care for their personal data. No wonder, identity theft happens to be a crime with the fastest rate of growth!

Getting Your Personal Information

The fraudsters first need to lay their hands on your personal information before they can (mis) use it. Here are some of the ways they can go about it.

Although you may not realize it, your personal information is available everywhere for those who would like to obtain it. Clerks who work in the various government and private agencies have legitimate access to your personal data. Information can be obtained from these sources, either by bribing the employees, by connouncing the records off them, or by stealing the records.

Your mailbox is the most vulnerable place. If not emptied regularly and daily, it may contain bank statements or statements of your account from the credit card companies. These are a virtual gold mine for the identity theft fraudsters.

Your wallet may be taken off you. You may not think much of it, but your wallet contains a 'lode' of information for the criminal mind. If you are one of the many who carry all their credit cards in their wallets, stop immediately. Carry only the one you need for the transactions on that particular day.

Another way how your credit card information reaches the identity theft fraudsters is through 'skimming.' Skimming takes just a single swipe, as much time as a legitimate credit card swipe takes. It could happen anywhere, in a restaurant, at the shopping mall, even when buying your tickets at a theater. Be alert when you pass on your credit card for transaction, ensuring that only a single swipe of your card is made.

Fraudsters may arrange to have your legitimate mail from your banks and credit card companies delivered to a new address, simply by filling an address change form! If you stop receiving your regular statements from your bank and credit cards companies, contact them immediately.

Using Your Personal Information

The fraudsters have arranged to divert your legitimate bills to a different address. They can obtain new credit cards, and then run up huge bills on them. You will not be aware of this as you will not be receiving your bills. By the time you find out, you are neck deep in trouble.

Identity theft fraudsters can open new bank accounts in your name, and write bad checks; take loans in your name and buy a car, failing to pay the installments; obtain a driving license in your name, give your name during an accident, fail to attend the court hearings, and a warrant of arrest will be issued …

Top Five Homeowners Insurance Questions and Answers

Got homeowners insurance questions? Here are the top five homeowners insurance questions complete with answers.

What does homeowners insurance cover?

Homeowners insurance protects your home and your personal possessions from damage due to fire, lightning, burglary, vandalism, and acts of nature. It also protects you against liability lawsuits if someone is hurt in your home and they sue you.

How much insurance do I need?

You need enough homeowners insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home if it's destroyed, to replace your personal possessions if they're damaged, and to protect you from liability lawsuits.

To assess how much home coverage you need, get the square-foot building costs in your area from a builder or a realtor, then multiply that figure by your home's square footage. For coverage for your personal possessions, take an inventory on everything you own and use the total value. And for liability insurance, figure enough coverage to protect your assets in the event you're sued.

What about flood and earthquake insurance?

Most standard homeowners policies do not provide flood or earthquake coverage. If you live in a flood or earthquake zone you'll need to get additional insurance.

Where can I get cheap homeowners insurance?

Insurance premiums can vary by hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year from one company to another, so the best way to get cheap homeowners insurance is to comparison shop.

There are now websites that let you compare rates between various insurance companies. All you do is fill out a simple question, wait for your insurance quotes, then choose the cheapest one.

The better comparison sites even have a chat feature that lets you talk with an insurance professional online so you can get answers to all your insurance questions. (See link below.)

How do I find a good insurance company?

Most states maintain a department of insurance website that provides a host of consumer information, including claims that have been filed against insurance companies. If your state does not list consumer information, you can go to California's website (insurance.ca.gov) to get it.

JD Power & Associates rates homeowners insurance companies based on input from customers who own insurance policies with those companies. These ratings give you a good idea of ​​how an insurance company treats its customers and how it pays its claims. …

The Right Colors for Your Business

Choosing the right colors for your small business can be an important decision. Get it right and you can help create a consistent and professional image. Get it wrong and you can confuse and even alienate customers.

The reason why color is so important for businesses is deeply rooted in psychology. Psychologists, designers, artists and others have long known that color can influence and affect people. For example, most people feel calm in a blue room or blue surroundings; the same people may feel energetic, provocative and possibly aggressive if the color is changed to red.

Here is a list of the major colors and their impact and influence on people:

  • Blue is firmly linked to the sky and sea, is serene and universally well-liked. Blue is a popular choice for financial institutions as it conveys stability.
  • Red is aggressive, energetic, provocative and attention-grabbing.
  • Green is generally linked to health, freshness and serenity. Darker greens are associated with wealth or prestige while light greens are calming.
  • Yellow is associated with the sun and communicates optimism, positivity, light and warmth.
  • Purple is a color favored by creative types and evokes mystery, sophistication, spirituality and royalty.
  • Pink is associated with energy, youthfulness, fun and excitement when used in hot tones. Lighter pinks are linked with romance.
  • Orange is exuberance, fun and vitality and is viewed as gregarious and often childlike.
  • Brown is an earthy color that conveys simplicity, durability and stability.
  • Black is serious, bold, powerful and classic. It creates drama and connotes sophistication.
  • White is simplicity, cleanliness and purity.

With the knowledge that colors can influence and affect people, you can choose colors for your business that will subconsciously convey a message to customers and potential customers. Therefore, colors can be a powerful business and marketing communications tool.

Want to convey stability? Blue can be a good choice. Want to attract younger people to your business, particularly younger females? Consider using pink as part of your color range.

It's important to remember, however, that the affects of color on people can be personal and based on many factors. One of these factors, for example, is cultural. Most brides in western cultures wear white to denote purity; in some eastern cultures white is the color for mourning. Similarly, black in western cultures is the color of evil (think of the grim reaper); in many eastern cultures black is considered lucky or successful.

Therefore a color that joins one customer to your business may have another one running in the opposite direction. That's why, as with many key decisions in your business, it's vital to know your target customer and choose colors that will attract them.

Once you have chosen the colors for your business, remember to use them consistently through. Use the colors in your logo, signs, uniforms, business cards and other marketing material. If you have a retail presence, use the colors in your shop signage. Doing so will help create a consistent and professional image for your small business that …

The New Rules of Money Are Anything But Dated

In a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the National Council on Economic Education both teens and adults similarly ranked low when asked about personal finance and basic economic concepts. Frighteningly enough, the teens measured an average of 53 which is a failing grade.

Technology has dramatically changed the way we can access and use our money. The effect is the tools with which we manage our money have become more complex – Internet banking, online stock exchanges and personal financial planners, but the rules of spending and saving have not changed that much.

Liz Pulliam Weston from MSN Money offered some unchanging money management basics:

o You need to differentiate between needs and wants. Just because you can buy something does not mean you need it. Determine what's necessary for you personally and for your business and then make educated and resourceful decisions.

o Every money decision has a price of its own. When you choose to spend money in one place, you are choosing to not spend it in another. You may defer full-time work (making money) when you choose to attend college (spending money), but in the long run you'll probably be much more financially sound because of the education you've obtained.

The standard rules of money are as true and applicable today as they were 50 years ago. Not much about the basics has changed. That can not be said for technology and how we can utilize it in our businesses and with our money making decisions.

The new rules of money are similar to the old rules – like do not spend more than you make, and invest in yourself. These are two rules that will never change. …