Awning Cleaning Business Case Study: Entrepreneurship 101

It is most fascinating to study how entrepreneurs spot opportunity in the market place. "My name is Lance Winslow and I am a serial entrepreneur, I admit I am addicted and need help." ..."Hello Lance." Let me explain how I formed one of my companies which became a franchise system in itself and became a module under the umbrella company I had formed many years the prior. I at first saw it as another business to fit into our growing niche of cleaning businesses. It was to be called the Awning Wash Guys. This is an interesting case study in how businesses form and how companies seek, find and exploit opportunity in the market place. Here is the story:

Many years back I got a call last from my franchisees in Denver, who had been doing very good after signing up all the John Elway Car Dealerships for car washing. My franchisee was a Car Wash Guys Franchisee specializing in car washing for car dealers at the time:

http://www.carwashguys.com/dealershipdiv.shtml

He told me that Auto Nation bought out the 46 Dealership Chain in the Denver Area and they continued our services and have actually added tons of new dealerships in other franchise areas for us to wash. Every car gets washed 2 Xs per week at $1.25-1.50 each. Some of these dealerships have almost 1000 cars on the lots. Needless to say with this big account this franchisee became our quickest success story that year.

Then they were approached by Brian Stillmock, who just happened to be one of two of the leading awning washing companies and experts in that field. As luck would have it, he wanted to sell his business. But he loved his company and would only sell it to a professional out fit, because his customers had a ten + year following. Our Denver franchisees had the $90,000.00 to buy the business due to great sales, and the fact that I also hired them at $2,000.00 per new franchise to train the new team members. They asked if they could buy the Awning Wash Guys Business, I said yes but I wanted to see the books, and warned them about cash flow in a only billed customers type business.

Most franchise agreements have clauses, which are quite specific as to what types of businesses franchisees are allowed to participate in. We sat down and made a plan and cash flow strategy, and I knew if things didn't work out I would have to financially bail them out otherwise they might also go out of business due to cash flow with their Car Wash Guys franchise. Brian the seller agreed to stay on board with me as a co-founder. His books were immaculate and scary. Never seen such well-documented books; great business and incredible revenues almost $160-200 per hour; gross.

So we built a web site and offered it as a co-brand to new and existing franchisees of car wash guys, with the understanding that it was a totally separate business and they would need to pay Brian for proper training and buy his patented equipment. Before that Brian was a BIZ OP and sold about 24 units and did not understand franchising. I did, having just co-authored Franchising 101 and joined the Board of Directors for the AAFD-American Association of franchisees and Dealers. We decided that once we formed the WashGuy.com franchise all 24 Biz Ops including an operator and manufacturer of awnings in Canada would join our network and we would agree to never sell those territories as long as those prior Biz Op buyers were in businesses that had previously bought from Brian. Brian also had manufacturers who he networked with doing 50+ million in sales per year, who referred jobs to him and some of his BiZ Ops people. So what the heck. We join forces and go after a totally untapped market.

It worked.

I regret that that business is a higher generator per hour than washing and detailing cars in an industry, which is dominated by 1000s of independents and price competitive. A little bit of an ego breaker it was for me, but the numbers did not lie, and if a door is open that wide I will damn well run through it; especially with Brian's network of manufacturers, repairers and our team to back us up 110%. We knew if this thing grew too big too quick that Brian and I could split our time and hire another Biz Op out of Florida called Awning Rejuvenation Systems to help with training, marketing and product distribution. Brian holds 4 patents on Awning Cleaning devises and I know franchising very well. And our first prototype was our Denver franchisees that were sticklers for quality and consistency.

Brian also had several tri-state contracts he had been unable to service, TGIF and Block Buster Video that would be in regions we could service without other franchisees until things were finalized as far as a franchise was concerned. This site contains mega data about what we do. Instantly we became the best assembled awning wash team on the Planet. This one was obvious and simply fell right in my lap and it took me less than three hours to decide to go for it. We did and it works. I would like to have 1 franchisee in every one of the 240 DMAs in the next ten years. The day we started we were the number one Awning Washing Franchise in the World; albeit the only one. I like that scenario, as an entrepreneur it has a nice ring to it indeed; I can certainly use that.

If I enter an Industry, I want to be the leader in 18-36 months. If I can't I will collect all the data I can, read everything I can find and hire franchisees to do data searching. I read 160 magazines in every industry and collect articles and categorize them so when I am ready I will attack with the power of knowledge, this is what we did here. Richard Branson has 150 Brands, so 22 is a good start for a 35 year old who wanted to wash everything in the world and clean this place up. While Branson is flying around the World in a Hot Air Balloon, we are kind of had the fancy of washing the World below to better his view of things

This gives you a real live example of how co-brands are formed and how markets are won. It gives an entrepreneur a little insight as to how the real world works. Often enough if you listen to the college business professors, government brain dead regulators and lawyers giving you advice you would swear that building a business is something totally different indeed. As an entrepreneur you need to change the way you think and attack markets and how you seek, find and exploit markets. I hope this little story will help you see that point. Good Luck and continued success, think on it.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

Shopping For a Franchise

Shopping for a franchise is easy if you know what you are doing. You can... Read More

432 Page Franchise Report by the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is upgrading the franchise law and they have made a report.... Read More

Accounting and Billing Procedures for Small Business

No matter how small your small business is, it is essential to have some sort... Read More

Boat Cleaning Business Case Study: Entrepreneurship 101

How do marine type businesses start? Have you ever thought of turning a hobby into... Read More

Keeping Business Alive

Who is responsible for maintaining the business relationship?Nurturing a business relationship will take effort on... Read More

How to Effectively Design Your Business Image

In many industries, image is one of the last things business owner looks at. If... Read More

The Inside-Out Business Plan? -- Your Small Business Plan in 10 Easy Questions

Writing a business plan for your Solo Entrepreneur business doesn't have to be a daunting... Read More

Business Valuation is Critical

What is Business Valuation? The term business valuation is the method by which the business... Read More

How To Build Business Credit

Having their own business is something many millions of people dream of doing. Many do,... Read More

Loose Lips Sink Ships - The Fastest Way to Put Yourself Out of Business

I agree that knowledge should be free, but the next person I see revealing their... Read More

How Most Business Owners Sabotage Their Success

Owning a business is a challenging endeavor. If you're like many novice small business owners,... Read More

Packing Material Thats Cheap!

Shipping materials can be expensive! Even the styrofoam "peanuts" can cost a great deal. Here's... Read More

Virtual Assistance for Healthcare Professionals

Administrative and clerical tasks are the bane of every industry. No matter how small or... Read More

S Corporation ? What Is It?

For many small businesses, the "S" corporation is the business entity of choice. The "S"... Read More

Three Ways to Add Leverage to Your Small Business

Remember those drawings from science class of how a lever works?The lever... Read More

Breaking The Chains!

Everyday, customers and business owners are bombarded with billboards, logos, print and electronic ads from... Read More

Fleet Washing Expansion Considerations

Many times small businesses want to expand their businesses and are not sure when the... Read More

Image is Everything - Secrets to Cleaning Car Fleets

A recent survey indicated that clean Taxi Cabs Fleets have higher tip rates and repeat... Read More

The SBAs Savviest Program

Forget everything you've ever heard about the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The negative connotations... Read More

Gold Medal Delegation

When the recent Games of the XXVIII Olympiad came to a close in Athens, two... Read More

Marketing Your Small Business with Success Stories

-- The One Pager Shortcut Series --An effective and compelling way to market your business... Read More

Covenants Not To Compete: Another Franchise Quandary

Imagine that you have operated a successful franchise business for the past several years. Your... Read More

Concrete Cleaning Discussed at World of Concrete Expo 03

If you are in the pressure washing business and are serious about what you clean... Read More

Consistency with Janitorial and Cleaning Businesses

Consistency is a huge word when operating your business. I believe it is one of... Read More

The Business Failed, But Did You?

Q: After years of dreaming about starting my own business, I finally took the plunge... Read More

Sexual Harassment - Its just not on!

Sexual Harassment is a disturbing part of employment life in the modern era and is... Read More

Build Your Small Business by Building Relationships

-- The One Pager Shortcut Series --People do business with people that they know and... Read More

So What? How to Elicit Benefits from Features

"So what?" is a lovely question.It can lead to a punch on the nose if... Read More

10 Best Practices to Consider as Your SBIR Negotations Approach Contract Signature

10 Best Practices to consider as your SBIR negotiations approach contract signature:1. Draft your confirmation... Read More

Private Franchising is not Real a Real Franchise

One major issue not being addressed right now in the regulatory definitions which guide consumers... Read More

Money Series 1: Who Takes Your Money

Your business is making profits, but where is the cash? It seems that someone has... Read More

Pressure Washer Companies and Steam Cleaner Maintenance

If you run a pressure washing business it is a must that you understand and... Read More

How to Find Success in the Import Export Business

Take advantage of world politics today and start your own import export business. Are you... Read More

Knowledge is Power

Why does research and education play an important part of the business relationship?Have you ever... Read More

Slip And Fall Professionals; Service Businesses

Since you own a business you probably have liability insurance to help you against a... Read More

Franchising Companies Relationship Strategies

Franchising Corporations need to maintain an iron fist when it comes to certain things in... Read More

Hone Your Edge, Stay Focused

A common hazard faced by new entrepreneurs is a lack of faith in the power... Read More

Starting Your Small Business

Where do you find more customers?How do you compete with bigger businesses?Answer. Build loyalty and... Read More

How to Handle Rejection When You Start an Office Cleaning Business

"If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you."Thank goodness starting an... Read More

5 Steps To Success for Small Business Owners

Everyone wants to succeed in life. Most people want to succeed in business. And no... Read More

Private Investigator Tactics

A Private Investigator is a professional trained in the art of investigations and surveillance. Otherwise... Read More

How Is the LEGAL SYSTEM Dishing Out JUSTICE in Your Town?

Thankfully, most of us will never find out. That is a GOOD thing! However, if... Read More

Operational Aspects on P and L Statements of Mobile Services Businesses

What kinds of things effect mobile service businesses P and L's? Well this is an... Read More

Hiring A Virtual Assistant Can Help Your Business Grow

Are you a home or small business owner and you're Webmaster, receptionist, and assistant all... Read More

The Role of the Business Model and Strategy for Business

People will always stress that having a well researched business plan is key before you... Read More

Looking into the Future for Profits

How to identify future solutions and opportunities?Your power page, if used extensively, will help you... Read More

What To Consider Before Buying A Franchise

Here are some useful tips on what to consider before buying a franchise. Before investing... Read More

3 Ways To Make Certain Your Business Fails

Most small businesses incorporated in 2005 will fail by the year 2007. No matter the... Read More

Take a Break - Have a Pity Party

Pity parties are nothing new. In fact, we do it all the time and I'm... Read More

Implementing an Internship Program

CONSIDERING COMPANY NEEDS: In identifying your needs for the internship, you need to examine the... Read More