Over Disclosure Hurts Businesses
Many investors and business ethics professionals are calling for more transparency and regulators are calling for more disclosure. Yet in the franchising industry this can spell disaster indeed. Often Competitors seeking information about companies will collect these documents and use it to the disadvantage of franchising companies.
In my company we have done extremely well on the Internet in attracting people who want their car washed, we are well spidered on the search engines for key words, partly because our websites have been up prior to 1995. We therefore get a high number of website visits or hits; we have exceeding 1 million visits per month on many occasions. Many times people in the market sector of car washing will come to our site after searching the words that categorize their industry. They look through our site and then they find the opportunities page, and think to themselves, hmmm? These competitors then fill out the online form without revealing they are already in the business and actually competitors.
The FTC's online complaint form also draws many such people to file complaints; few of these folks represent legitimate grievances. In the case of our company, The Car Wash Guys, like Ray Kroc who never sold franchises to those previously in the restaurant business, we will not sell to those in the car wash business. We believe that they have ingrained in themselves their way of doing things, which is incompatible with our system and methods and of course we feel are quite inferior to our business plan developed over 27 years. Had such competitors been as well developed they would be franchising as well. These competitors ask us questions thinking the can copy some of our idea, so they call up, email, and start asking questions. Sometimes about five minutes into such a conversation we often know they are not real, but not always. They are too knowledgeable about the industry and they usually slip up in one of their questions or just have to tell us how great they are and how many cars they are watching, thus giving themselves away.
The Car Wash Guys like many franchising companies are in a really ugly and highly competitive industry, almost as bad as the garbage business before the massive consolidation by Wayne Hiezenga or trucking prior to the days of de-regulation. Luckily that comes with intense egos from independents and not a whole lot of smarts. Why should The Car Wash Guys send out a UFOC to a possible competitor when the UFOC they receive could be copied and a few changes made and potentially save them $35,000 in legal fees and take away from a practicing attorney (who pretend to works their butt off, when paralegals do all the work and they use CD ROMs and Boiler plate clauses). These attorneys often claim to be decent and hard-working professionals on the ABA Franchising Forum as they try to put a lock on their industry from those who might advise in a similar capacity?
The UFOCs cost to send it out is just about $8.00 (including postage) and if those competitors realized I had to send them out they would have every one of the industry's 19,000 tunnel car wash owners across the country email us. So what is $8.00 times 19,000. Oh and there are about 35,000 estimated coin-op car washes too all of which are direct or indirect competitors of the Car Wash Guys (the only mobile car wash franchisor in the country). The UFOC contains estimated number of projected units and all kinds of information we do not want out. We are not a public company and until we know who is asking we prefer to keep our information close to the vest, as the competitive markets are not the level playing field we are led to believe as we study business in our educational institutions. Too bad the Federal Trade Commission cannot see this obvious fact. By keeping information secret we protect our current franchisee team members (consumers) from lose lips sink ships syndrome. Why add competitive disadvantage in the market place to our team against competitors we should not have to disclose information since they are independent businesses.
The Federal Trade Commission fails to understand the extreme competitiveness of the marketplace, they fail to see how this hurts individual franchised units, who are small business people and the Federal Trade Commission fails to see how these independent franchised outlets of the franchisor are actually the same consumer they purport to protect. Therefore the logic that the incessant and unnecessary and totally over regulated and required disclosure is a bogus notion indeed. The Car Wash Guys do a disservice and can cause hurtful competition to our franchisees if we divulge information that easily. There is more information about our company in those 190-230 pages of the UFOC and attachments than on my personal computer or in my wallet. A person could go thru my trash, car jack me and steal my wallet, with one of our company laptops inside and still have less information than is now required by the current UFOC.
The Federal Trade Commission purportedly cares about identity theft, yet demands personal information about myself, my employees and current franchises in a disclosure document that any one can get their hands on, even Osama Bin Laden? Who is the real terrorist? Is it government's job to help destroy franchising and all franchise systems? Then may I ask, who the Federal Trade Commission's franchising division will manage and regulate in the future when no one franchises anymore? When they admit they are destroying franchising to save it from the Domino Effect of the Evil Fraudsters. Is this 'my lie'? No it is the truth. Why are we burning down our global villages. Think about this simple logic and thanks for listening.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs
Small Business Vendors; Getting the Best Service
If you are a small business you know that you must rely on your vendors to make sure you have everything your customers need. Lack of vendor support can lead to upset customers or even loss of your business. Be pleasant and courteous to all vendors and potential vendors. Try and treat vendors like your favorite customers treat you. Do you remember recently when you went out of your way for a customer, the whole time knowing you weren't going to make any extra money by doing so; yet you did, simply because you liked that particular customer. That customer; whether you know it or not, probably told five friends of your gallant effort; something you may not even have thought about. This type of extra concern and effort is hard to come by these days from local business people. You will, from time to time, need this type of gallant service from your vendors, so start now by being extremely pleasant to those you do business with. Remember, also to refer your customers to your vendors whenever the opportunity arises.
Pressure Washing; How to Bid Concrete Cleaning Jobs
Remember the cleaning business is all about time ratio to money. You want to be making at least a $1 a minute when doing concrete work at a minimum and aim for $100 to $200 per hour if you can get it. If you are not achieving this income level then you work too slowly or you did not bid correctly on the accounts you are taking. You need to have a work order form. This form should have an area for time it took to do the job, how many people were on the job, gas to get to the site and mileage to get to the site. If you need a sheet like this the trainers we believe the best program to create this in is the new Microsoft Word, it has some incredible new features which make the formatting so easy you might think of yourself as a graphic designer.
Franchise Company Operations Manual Sample Outline
Many companies wish to expand and a few wish to use franchising as a method of expansion. Not a bad idea, but one must consider the importance of the fine details. One book I recommend you read is the "E-Myth" by Gerber it is available at all the usual places. You see when going from a small business to a franchise company it is important to make sure you take out all the mistakes you have made in the past in building your small business and insure that your future franchisees never make those mistakes themselves. After all they need not go thru the rigorous minefields and brick walls you had to in order to be successful. Especially considering you will most likely be charging them a substantial upfront franchise fee.
How to Write a Credit Policy for Your Business
The book, "Become the Squeaky Wheel," by New Hampshire author Michelle Dunn, says the different ways people use and extend credit makes or breaks your credit policy and bottom line, which could result in less or more sales and money for your business.
Get Approved for a Franchise
Deciding to start your own franchise is just one of the first steps to getting started. Buying a franchise is a lot like dating. You and the company have to be a good fit. The company you are considering starting a franchise with must fit your needs, and you must meet the guidelines they have set up.
Chamber Membership will BOOST your Business
When is the Chamber ideal for your business?
Arent Small Businesses Lucky?
Why? Because they have access to world class public relations no matter how small they are.
Small Business Support Equals Survival
Support is critical for your small business survival. You may shy away from the thought of having an advisory board to guide you through your rough spots, but having a group of professionals who are willing to be your sounding board can mean the difference between success and failure.
Should I Franchise or Not?
A reader of one of my online sessions asked should he franchise his business or not. He had set up a service business and was getting ready to expand and wanted to know if franchising was a good potential strategy for this. How do I franchise my business? There are many criteria for franchising and if you have ever thought you might wish to franchise your business then this advice could be of value to you:
Combating Over Regulation of Small Business
Many small businesses do quite well due to the blood, sweat and tears of their proprietors. Unfortunately in doing to well often you find that the competition uses the government to attack you. They do this by complaining to various local agencies about how you are not following certain rules, such as the dumpster out back has broken hinges on the doors or that your handicap spot in front of your store is fading? Often they will even make stuff up simply to get the enforcement folks out there who will start to go through your business with a fine toothcomb, we all know what that means, they will indeed find something wrong and you will get a fine of some type. This general harassment is so common that it takes its toll on the small businessperson.
Outsourcing ? A Positive Approach For Small Businesses
Outsourcing is the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources. Small business owners can outsource non-core functions to specialized and efficient service providers. It is required of businesses to hire special contractors for particular types of work or to meet the demands put forth by sudden spurts in the workload. Recently, the trend of partnering with firms whose capabilities complement their own giving them an access to resources that were beyond their individual reach has come up. The difference between simply subcontracting and outsourcing is that outsourcing involves the wholesale restructuring of the corporation around core competencies and outside relationships.
4 Areas Where Your Business is Losing Money
In my 18 years of consulting I have heard it all. Everything from competition to managed care as reasons why it's hard to create the business of your dreams. New customers are needed to keep any business going but it is how you and your staff manage these customers that determines your success in business.
Making Your Purpose Your Business Step #2- Getting From Point A to Point B
In my previous article, Step 1, your challenge for the month was to research where your passion lies. Based on your research you might have discovered that self investigation can lead us to two places; either we find out our answer or we realize we need to ask more questions to get that answer.
Starting a Tractor Washing Business
In the heavy equipment cleaning business you can make good money and provide an important service for your clientele. You can save them man-hours, chemical costs and free up time for more important needs such as preventative maintenance and repairs. The client also has a better looking fleet which makes community public relations easier and also helps in operator retention. Heavy off road equipment needs to be clean, especially radiators and ventilation to prevent over heating. It is best to charge per unit rather than per hour and then work very hard and efficiently to increase your income.
Conquering Confidence Killers for Small Business Success
"The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear". -- William Jennings Bryan
Boat Detailing Tips and Procedures
Auto detailers are often asked to clean boats and detail boat trailers. There is an easy and efficient way to do this with little effort. Washing and waxing boat trailers is an easy sale. Be sure to offer the boat owner a trailer wax. Let the owner know that a heavily waxed trailer is more rust resistant even when used in salt water. They can wax now or repaint later. To remove rust, brush on two coats of Ospho Acid, available in paint stores and marine supply shops. It will change the chemistry of rusting steel from an active to a passive state and stop rust cold.
11 Things Small Business Owners Can Learn From Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
1. Everyone Makes A Difference ? Despite not letting him play in their games, the other reindeer came to understand Rudolph's importance. Look for the talents in each of your employees.
Promote Yourself More Successfully
One of the great challenges for independent professionals and small businesses, especially when starting out, is generating visibility to ultimately lead to generating sales.
Franchises: How to Find the Best Franchise Opportunity for You
If you are looking for a franchise opportunity, the choice is mind boggling. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different types of franchise available for you to invest in, with the same variety in cost. Each have their own benefits and usually the more you pay the more potential to earn. You obviously want to select a profitable business venture so it is important that you thoroughly research.
Competition Relations in Auto Detailing
There is significant competition in auto detailing and car washing. Even more between types of cleaning businesses, as each company attempts to expand into other services which are the mainstay of similar business models. Many times the line blurs between a car wash, oil change business, truck repair, auto accessories business, electronics installers and auto detailing. What can you do? Well first let's talk about what you should not do. You should not start a war against all your competition. Instead you should maintain good relations with them, even if you find them to be somewhat unethical by nature.
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