Blog: Work In Progress: The Inspiring Story Of MasterLube In Billings, Montana

July 2022  |  Billings, Montana

This is the beginning of a long term project. I'm starting a project to tell the story of MasterLube, a five location company in Billings, Montana that changes oil in people's cars.

It's real mission -

At MasterLube we embrace the transitional nature of our business. Employees don’t (and shouldn’t) come to us for a career. They come to us for a paycheck, but we ask them to deliver a standard of service that far exceeds their rate of pay. We are indebted to our employees. Without them and the extraordinary service they provide, we would not be successful.

Our training and development program, which goes beyond just how to change oil, is aimed at making up the difference between what our employees are worth and what they are paid.

We know that each MasterLube employee is on his or her way to somewhere else. They all have a unique definition of success, and they each have a dream. MasterLube employees are future entrepreneurs, executives, business owners, mothers, fathers, and community leaders. Our personal development programs provide insight and life skills every employee needs to discover and live his or her best life.

After years of experience, we discovered that employees with goals, personal insight, confidence, and self-fulfillment not only meet our strict standards but consistently go above and beyond what’s expected of them. Our training program is our mission and serves our mission at the same time.

I've just returned (July 2022) from visiting the company to begin documenting the program and people who work there. Through this project, you'll meet them, learn a bit about their ideals, and glean some insight about what makes this idea so unusual. It's in their mission statement: "Our personal development programs provide insight and life skills every employee needs to discover and live his or her best life."

They've been at it for forty years, with 1,400 people having been through the company. In the next year, you may get to see some of them pictured here and why they think this company has made such a difference.

I started this project because I knew the founder, Bill Simmons, from the 1990s when I was doing some work with the Billings newspaper. He's told his story to many people, among them MBA students in my classes at Marquette. He's coming again to lead small roundtables with business leaders in October.

It's 115 degrees down here, all day long, one car every ten minutes. Most of the work in the "pit" is overhead, and it's slippery. And there is enthusiasm for the customer everywhere.

There is much more to this story. These are just a few of the photographs from my first trip.

Each high school in town gets a day in the Spring when all of the proceeds - not the profits, but all of the sales - go to support their prom night. The students wash cars alongside the employees. Each school paints a full size mural on "their" store, where it's there for a year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, serving Ladies and Gentlemen.

Stay tuned for more.

Posted in MasterLube.