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I'm not sure if my idea is profitable. How could I investigate it?

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Fab89

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Hi,

I'm thinking of helping people by making sure their car tyres are pumped enough, oil, coolant and windscreen wipe are at the correct levels. People would be able to order a "mini service" with an app and I will come to their house and do it.

I'm thinking around £5-10 is what I'd pay but not sure if I can do all that for that much. If oil levels are almost empty it will cost a lot more that £10 to fill it. I'm thinking charge the minimum to turn up and then charge extra for the price of the oil.

Should I just supply value and work it out later or look into this more rationally first?

Cheers.
 

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AllanB

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Hi,

I am not sure an app is the best idea.
What I would do to test this activity is to create a clean landing page and send targeted traffic using google adwords. First customers will give first feedbacks about the offer and the business model.
 

Roli

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Hi,

I'm thinking of helping people by making sure their car tyres are pumped enough, oil, coolant and windscreen wipe are at the correct levels. People would be able to order a "mini service" with an app and I will come to their house and do it.

I'm thinking around £5-10 is what I'd pay but not sure if I can do all that for that much. If oil levels are almost empty it will cost a lot more that £10 to fill it. I'm thinking charge the minimum to turn up and then charge extra for the price of the oil.

Should I just supply value and work it out later or look into this more rationally first?

Cheers.

At those prices your biggest challenge will be finding customers close enough to you to make a profit. If you have to travel 45 minutes to someone's house, and then it takes you a further 45 mins to give them 'the works', you'll be making McDonald's money or less.

A full mechanical service can range from hundreds to thousands of pounds, I would place yourself a bit higher and test the market, if nobody is willing to pay say £50-75, then I personally would forget it. Simply because in a worst case scenario, at maximum capacity you may only physically be able to service maybe 4 or 5 customers a day.

As far as testing is concerned it should be quite easy, make up some fliers for relatively cheap, then put them on the windscreens of cars in your area and gauge response.

In fact do a few tests in different parts of town, from the poorer working class areas, right through to the more upscale neighbourhoods.

Of course you'll need to hit the same streets a few times over to make sure that you're getting people to actually notice what you do.

You could even design them to look a little like a parking ticket, to make sure people pay attention to them. Not too much though as you don't want to anger them.

The whole thing would probably cost you a couple of hundred quid and maybe ten to twenty hours of your time.

Even if it works it won't be fastlane because the barrier to entry is relatively low, however it could prove to be a tidy little business.
 

wade1mil

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Think about it backwards.

You have to travel an unknown distance. You have to pay for the fuel to get there and depreciation of your vehicle. If your average cost for these items is £5, then charging £5 for the service is not profitable. If you charge £10 (and don't use any assets like oil), your profit £5. If it takes you one hour to do this service, you make £5 per hour. Not great.

But you will likely use product (oil, washer fluid, coolant, etc.) which also cost you money. If the average trip costs you £5 is fuel and another £5 in product, you would need to charge £10 to make nothing. And none of this takes into account your fixed expenses (phone, app development, website hosting, etc.).

The obvious answer to me is change the service to mobile oil change and all the other stuff as a free service. Make oil change the MINIMUM rather than an upgrade. This way there is some wiggle room in your pricing.

If an oil change normally costs £30 (I'm guessing here), I'd bet many people would pay more (all other things being equal) to have it done at their house/work simply because it can be done without your customers taking time away from their daily life to have it done. Let's say you can charge £35 for this service, and your average cost of fuel and materials is £15, you make £20 per hour. That's great.

But here's where it become fastlane.

You grow the customer base in a specific location (keep it tight). Hire someone and pay them £10 per oil change and cover their expenses (£5 for fuel). Now your costs are £20 (£10 labor, £5 product, £5 fuel) and your revenue is £35. Keep growing the customer case and keep hiring people to change the oil. Then one day you wake up with 1,000 appointments per day (£35,000 in revenue) and pay 100 employees to do the oil changes for you. Each employee makes £100 per day, you profit £15,000 per day without doing any oil changes yourself, and your customers get their oil changed without wasting an hour waiting in a lobby.

Work the numbers, see how much you need to charge, and offer to change oil for that price. See how people respond, and keep doing it if it makes sense.

P.S. Don't build an app until you need to. No need for an app when you've got eight customers.
 

Galaxy16

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Hi,

I'm thinking of helping people by making sure their car tyres are pumped enough, oil, coolant and windscreen wipe are at the correct levels. People would be able to order a "mini service" with an app and I will come to their house and do it.

I'm thinking around £5-10 is what I'd pay but not sure if I can do all that for that much. If oil levels are almost empty it will cost a lot more that £10 to fill it. I'm thinking charge the minimum to turn up and then charge extra for the price of the oil.

Should I just supply value and work it out later or look into this more rationally first?

Cheers.
Compare it to the business commandments:
Who needs your product?
Commandment of entry (is a long story)
And can you scale the sales? Can you sell it everywhere on the planet?
Do you have control over the income, or can somebody else kill your business at any time?

Does the business work independently from your time?
 

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