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On-site tune up business

504 Views 22 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Tacoma'03Pilot
I'm kicking around the idea of starting an extended tune-up service on 1st gen Pilots. I would like to do the service at the customers location, but I might have a place to work on them if needed. It would be these services below. I was wondering what I should add/remove, and what would be a good price. I would provide all of the parts/fluids. Would need to figure in travel, consumables (gloves, paper towels, lubricants, electricity, damaged tools, etc...), and time.

-Valve lash
-Valve cover gasket and associated seals
-Throttle body cleaning and gasket
-EGR system cleaning and gasket
-Spark plugs
-Coil pack health check
-Check engine mounts and advice
-battery health check and cleaning, and associated wires to: Alternator, Starter, Main fuse box, and Ground wires
-Inspection of vacuum and cooling hoses
-Cabin/Engine filter replacement and cleaning housing boxes
-All fresh fluids (Power steering, brakes, transmission, engine, coolant, rear diff, and if equipped transfer case
-Transmission/engine filter
-Radiator Cap
-PCV valve
-Health check Serpentine belt
-Health check pulleys
-Health check Timing belt
-Inspect brake system and advice
-Inspect suspension and advice
-Check Rack and Pinion and advice
-Inspect tires and inflate
-Clean wheels of road debris
-Rotate tires
-Inspect lights and replace burned out including interior
-adjust headlights if needed
-Grease hinges
-lubricate door/window seals
-inspect windshield wipers and advice
-bench test/clean transmission solenoids and advice
-check throttle cable and adjust to preference (tight/slight slack)
-check for leaks and advice
-ATP AT-205 power steering, engine, and trans fluid
-check exhaust and advice
-inspect everything is where it should be and nothing missing and advice
-install missing hardware (clips, screws, bolts, etc...)
-check torque on critical components
-Road test and advice
-Check steering components and advice
-Check rubber joints and advice
-Check ball joints and advice
-Check for rust and advice
-Check wheel bearings and advice
-Check CV axle and advice
-Check drive shaft and advice
-Replace power steering O-rings if leaking

I'm thinking maybe after the initial extended tune-up setting up a schedule to maintain them after. Oil changes, inspections, re-torque, etc... Once all of the above is done, not much more then regular oil changes would need to be done for at least a couple years. Create a profile for each vehicle to refer back to.
I'm sure I'm missing some things. I don't think I want to actually fix any of the advice items, unless they are easy enough. I'm thinking 1-2 days, hopefully get proficient enough to knock it all out in a full work day eventually. Except you never know what you will encounter. Maybe schedule 2 per week. Monday and Thursday and work into Saturday if need be. Take Wednesday off if lucky.
How much would you all pay someone to do the services above (like any of you would have someone do any of the work above, lol)? Would you allow someone to work in your driveway?
21 - 23 of 23 Posts

· Registered
05 EX-L
637 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
If it helps I am only doing specific services, and not doing any serious work. Not opening up the engine, or transmission. Not doing timing belts, head gaskets, tranny/engine swaps, or anything like that. My services are basically routine maintenance, but all at once along with a detailed list of what I can see is wrong. I won't be the one doing those fixes. They are not bringing their car to me to fix. So I am not diagnosing anything. They are bringing me their vehicles as an advanced maintenance. These are not things that are unfamiliar to me, and is what I do when I get my vehicles. These are all things that we have all done ourselves. Surface things. The most intensive thing is Valve Lash, and I have that down to a science.
I am really into servicing my Honda/Acura fleet, and I did have the thought of what if I lose my passion for this because I do it all day. Is it worth the risk since I do love it, and I could not only lose a good paying job, but something I love. I have known several people that do a job every day and come home and the thing they do all day is deteriorating in their personal life, because they don't want to go to work all day and come home and work. On the other hand, I can get into this and find out I never have to work another day in my life, because I am basically not working.
I am familiar with the ups and downs of starting/running a business. That is not new to me. I do worry about those things, especially the unknown. It sucks putting so much into something and watch it take you down and everything around you. Each time I dialed it down a few pegs, and I am not willing to risk the way I used to. I actually like the no risk aspect of employer ship. Show up, do your job, get paid, and when you go home for the night, you leave work behind. Not the case when you run a business. It can be a 24/7 deal. On top of that you can actually lose money not make money. That is stressful.
I like to work hard for a while, and take breaks for a while. My last job was March. So now I am back into the do I get a job, do a start something myself period. Luckily I have the freedom to take my time and figure out what I want to do before I do it. I want to work on cars, drive, or do 12v electrical or car audio. I really want to work with my tools on a project, but I am not finding anything yet that peaks my interest. I want to work on cars, but only Honda, and I don't really care to work on all Honda's. I really like 90's to mid 2000's. I would enjoy troubleshooting and all that, but removing engines and trans, and head gaskets, and a lot of the other stuff, I could do without.
The service I would provide would be what I am interested in doing already, and eventually I would hope I would be pretty good at it. Eventually becoming proficient at it, and benefiting a lot of people. Keeping our Pilots out of the junkyards.
Will I do this? I don't know. Do I want to do this? yes, but only if it makes sense. It's looking pretty feasible right now. Some red flags, but nothing too serious. I expect it to take time to pick up speed. I have written several business plans for people, and have outlined steps to get established and how to progress. It's funny how many people think they are going to be an overnight success story and be #1 in no time flat. Completely ignoring everyone else that has a million mile head start. Even after explaining to them reality, they still can't see it any other way until they jump in and realize they can't swim. So I'm not expecting to pick up customers right away. Will be lucky to probably do 1 or 2 the first month outside of word of mouth, and even then that doesn't amount to much at first. I mean I'm only going to do 2 per week max. Once I get to the point of scheduling out.
Thank You all for your input. It gives me a lot to think about. I really do appreciate the different points of view that I wouldn't have been able to see on my own. Lets me weigh out my options, and fine-tune things. If I do decide to start this up, I would hope it is repeatable and can be used by others if they choose. If I go down this road, I would be sharing how I do it. I'm just me, and I won't be able to service anything outside of my little area.

· Registered
901 Posts
Best of luck. I think there's a good idea in here that you could run with as far as you choose to.

I think that in addition to the analysis you're already doing, it's really useful to spend some serious time on identifying who your customer would be, in as much detail as possible. How old? Family status? Gender? Employment situation? The more you think you know about the person that's going to pay you, the easier it is to find out if they really will, and adjust accordingly.
21 - 23 of 23 Posts