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No Monkey Business, Here: How Quick Lube Franchisor Grease Monkey Became the Largest Independent Franchisor of Automotive Oil Change Centers in the US

Exceptional franchisee support, streamlined operations and a seasoned executive leadership team all set Grease Monkey apart from the competition.

By Katie LaTourStaff Writer
SPONSORED 11:11AM 01/03/20

Beginning in the late 1960s and picking up speed into the ‘70s and ‘80s, gas stations increasingly transitioned from full-service locations with one or two gasoline islands and two service bays to self-service pumps that could offer lower prices and create higher volumes. As a result, thousands of service bays disappeared from the North American landscape, making it increasingly inconvenient for consumers to get their oil changed—a service that was necessary every three months or approximately every 3,000 miles. 

Enter entrepreneurs Bob Palmer and Alex Anderson who identified this gap in the marketplace and founded Grease Monkey to fill the void. The brand was started in 1978 in Denver, Colorado, and the first franchised store opened in Westminster, Colorado in 1979. Today, Grease Monkey operates over 300 centers internationally, with operations in Mexico, China, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. Grease Monkey is now the largest independent franchisor of automotive oil change centers in the U.S., and one of the few quick lube franchises in the top ten with positive growth

Ralph Yarusso, Chief Development Officer for Grease Monkey, shared that several key factors differentiate the nation’s largest independent franchisor of automotive oil change centers from the competition. Below, we dive into three reasons why a Grease Monkey franchise serves as an excellent business opportunity.

Grease Monkey Is Proudly Independent

“First and foremost, we’re an independent franchisor, meaning we’re not owned by an oil company, nor by an automotive manufacturer,” Yarusso said. “That gives our franchisees a unique position in the marketplace because they can go out and buy the products they prefer provided they meet our quality standards. We also have national account programs and relationships with numerous vendors who know they will have to offer competitive prices because we can source as we see fit.”

In terms of cost of goods, this means that Grease Monkey franchisees enjoy a competitive advantage while also offering only those products that meet the brand’s rigorous quality standards. For those franchisees looking for corporate guidance when it comes to vendors, Yarusso emphasized that Grease Monkey also takes care to provide support.

“Our purchasing department handles procurement for us and negotiates deals for our franchisees,” Yarusso said. “We don’t mandate those deals to the franchisees, but we do make them available.”

Other cost-saving elements of the Grease Monkey model that benefit franchisees include the franchise location’s limited inventory requirement, low-cost build and streamlined operations. 

Grease Monkey Laps the Competition Thanks to Its Certified Pit Crew Program and Extensive Training

Furthermore, Grease Monkey speeds past competitors thanks to its Certified Pit Crew Program. All Grease Monkey technicians are rigorously trained using proprietary systems developed by executives with decades of experience in the automotive industry. Technicians are required to  take 15 certification courses before earning their Certified Pit Crew status and the highly coveted Pit Crew uniform. The brand also offers over 200 additional education courses available online at FullSpeed University to further their education and careers as well. 

A critical component to the Certified Pit Crew Program, the Pit Crew Guarantee, further adds a consumer value proposition by promising consumers a guaranteed time commitment  in which their service will be completed. This guarantee even includes a countdown clock and monitor located in the centers’ lobby areas. Grease Monkey’s unique commitment to providing the consumer the service they need by certified technicians correctly comes from a more hustle, less hassle mentality. That puts Grease Monkey franchisees behind the wheel of a brand lapping competitors in quality. 

The brand’s emphasis on above-and-beyond training also extends to its franchisees, who receive pre-opening training and support as well as ongoing education via the online university, webinars, conferences and an annual convention. Considered alongside the Certified Pit Crew Program, that training translates to fast, accurate automotive service for the consumer and success for the franchisee. Grease Monkey’s training program also guarantees that owner-operators need not have prior automotive experience before signing on with Grease Monkey. 

With Grease Monkey, Franchisees Enjoy Easy Conversion and Dual Revenue Streams 

Grease Monkey leverages an exciting conversion program that allows owners of existing quick lube locations to convert their unit into a Grease Monkey service center, with discounted license fees and royalty rebates for the first two years of business.

In addition, Grease Monkey also serves as a strong business opportunity thanks to its “One Franchise—Two Concepts” model. 

“Along with the efficient automotive services offered, Grease Monkey also offers a car wash option that we’ve branded as  Monkey Shine, a complementary concept with no additional franchise fee,” Yarusso explained. “That means that our franchisees can enjoy two revenue streams at their one location.”

With second-to-none service, ongoing training and support for franchisees and technicians alike, streamlined operations and a thoroughly experienced leadership team at the helm, Grease Monkey affords franchisees an opportunity that leaves competitors in the dust.

The investment level for opening a Grease Monkey center ranges from $156,695 to $342,850 with a $35,000 franchise fee and a 5% royalty.  Franchisees who meet the established criteria are eligible for a 10% royalty rebate. Grease Monkey offers veterans and first responders a more substantial royalty rebate for their first two years of business. Candidates should demonstrate financial capability of a minimum $250,000 net worth and $60,000 to $75,000 in liquid assets, per unit developed. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Grease Monkey, visit