A bad experience at a vehicle maintenance shop in Chicago years ago set the wheels in motion for a new career for Lou Posedel.
“It was a nightmare from start to finish,” he said. “I was going back to work thinking, there has to be a better way to do this.”
Posedel quickly devised a plan for a business that would come to the customer for vehicle maintenance, taking the frustration out of inconvenient waits and a lack of personal service.
“It seems so natural,” he said. “Everything’s going mobile.”
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He and his wife, a real-estate agent and his childhood sweetheart, visited six locations across the country before settling in Apex in 1998 to launch Lube Runner.
“This was the place to start a business,” he said.
The couple’s two children were in grade school, and local schools were highly rated. There also was ample opportunity for his wife’s career to succeed.
Posedel, 56, acknowledges the first years were a struggle.
“People have a preconceived notion of what will happen,” he said. “They think it will be the Exxon Valdez in their driveway, that I’ll make a mess and they’ll have to wait three hours for a stupid oil change.”
Posedel says he prides himself on being on time without a drop of oil left behind.
Oil changes are done in the street, removing the chance of oil dripping on a residential driveway. Local businesses occasionally schedule oil-change days for employees.
In addition to oil changes, Lube Runner’s services include brake work, check-engine lights, tire rotations, repairing windshield chips and more.
“We do anything a full-service shop will do,” he said.
Lube Runner also will service chippers, grinders and work vehicles. With few overhead costs, Posedel says he is able to keep prices competitive.
Customers often request service at their place of employment or at a gym while they work out. Posedel says he considers many long-time customers friends.
“There are some I haven’t seen eye-to-eye for seven to 10 years,” he said, noting that they leave their keys and payment at a front desk. “They trust me.”
He will work out payment plans with regular customers.
“To me, it’s not a business anymore,” he said. “It's working for friends.”
Posedel, who has been working on cars since he was 16, is a one-man operation.
“That’s the way I want it,” he said. “I don’t want to be an employer. I want to be on my own. If something goes wrong, I know who is responsible.”
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About Lube Runner
Contact: 919-367-0244, email@example.com
Hours: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. daily