Buddy System

Duke Of Oil

These days, a dollar usually won't get you very far. But if you're a Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC) franchisee, for just a dollar per year you can lease up to $20,000 worth of lube equipment, including everything from compressors and oil guns to tanks and drain pans.

Although such leases are not uncommon in the industry, what sets Valvoline apart is the method of repayment. Some companies offer low-priced leases, but then increase the prices they charge franchisees for oil and lubricants. With Valvoline leases, says Jeff Malicote, manager of franchise sales, "We know we're going to be repaid through royalties and through a 15-year supply agreement with the [franchisee]," which is part of the leasing agreement.

Offered since VIOC began franchising in 1988, the lease option has garnered a positive response from franchisees-more than 95 percent currently lease equipment. Says Malicote, "Anyone qualified to become a franchisee is qualified to fit into this program."

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This article was originally published in the July 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Buddy System.

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