Premier Oil Change
Oil Change Car Wash
Premier Oil Change, on the north side of Redding, is like Disneyland for cars. Bright colors, a spotless parking lot, and everything from a wash to an oil change is available. You drive in looking like something only a mother could love, and leave with some spring in your cylinders and sparkle on your chrome.
The journey started in Eureka, CA in 2006, when Premier leased an existing building. They repeated that in 2007 in Yreka, in Palo Cedro in 2010, and in Grants Pass, OR in 2015. It was a successful system, but the goal was always to build a location on property they owned, so Owner/Operator Matt Webb moved to Redding in 2007 to try to find the right spot to make it happen.
After the recession made it hard to get financing for contract with another property in 2008, Premier found its North Boulder Drive property in 2012. They secured it with the previous owner, but weren’t sure how to tackle the $5,000,000 undertaking, in terms of financing.
“We looked at private financing and traditional bank financing, and that was a challenge,” explains Matt. “These are specialty-use buildings, so traditional financing… well, banks get a little scared to fund a project like this, even with a lot of collateral.”
Tri Counties Bank put them in touch with Ryan and the team at Superior California Economic Development, who took Premier through the process of obtaining a SBA 504 loan.
“This was a big project for a small company,” Matt says, “but we were able to put it all together over a period of time. Owning our own building has been positive. We were able to train a lot of additional jobs, and promote a district manager which has been really good for the company.
The Redding location opened in February of 2016 and wasted no time getting to work. Within the fourth month of opening, it was already exceeding projections by 30% or 40%. By July, August, and September – they were washing of 500 cars a day (the goal was about 350) and doing 60 cars a day in the oil change. The company also went from about 20 employees to 45.
Matt recommends that other businesses evaluate their long-term goal(s), especially if the goal is to eventually sell the business while keeping the real estate. “Our industry will always be a brick and mortar,” he points out. “You can’t wash your car online or get a digital oil change, so we’re still kind of old school. We may as well own the land.”
He also advises business owners to get a good handle on all their financial reporting, all the detailed P&L statements, etc., which makes it easier to present to lenders and more clearly represent one’s situation. “The more clarity, the better,” he says. Like say, the clarity that can only come when your windshield is spotless, your air filters are fresh, your tires are pumped, and your engine is running smoothly.