Advocates are made by predators.
I owe my franchisor, Nutri-Lawn, a lot.
Maybe Midas taught Ray something.
This is what my trucks like when I was a franchisee.
Long story…I decided to stop operating under that logo so the trucks went “vanilla” briefly in 1998.
Then I put my customers into a new image (Lawn Depot) for 3 years.
Only 3 ways to get out of franchise:
Lessons learned from franchised to independent business:
I added lawn sprinkler service and installation in 1994. I continue today to serve these customers.
Profitably, with one spouse and without having to lie to support my family.
Glen my next-door neighbour said I went Nutri-Gone.
Maybe yes. Maybe no.
Peter Bell is an original.
In 1998, from the franchisor’s unusual point of view, Nutri-Lawn had 24 successful Ontario territories (ie. open, paying royalties).
From the franchisee investor another picture emerges. From 1990 to 1997 of the 24 territories:
- there were 17 franchisee ownership changes,
- 3 were on their 3rd franchisee, and
- 11 were on their second.
In 8 years in Canada’s most prosperous province.
Zero bankruptcies because everyone else sold their pig of a business to the next mark. I defied their stupid, hard-to-enforce non-compete clause and took my customers into another company while I fought them in Court. Mine (I think) was the only legal challenge and subsequent, rather high-profile bankruptcy. Summary
Peter and I both got hung out to dry, but God, we had a few laughs.
Churning: the rapid selling, failure, retaking and re-selling of franchises. Can be intentional or unintentional but the outcome is the same for the investor. Useful to change the logo (old on top).
Lipstick on a pig.
A hallmark of even the bluest of “blue chip” systems.
I have learned directly, personally, in-their-armpits relationships from the best in franchising.
Ted Gorski, McDonald’s, CollegePro Painters, Nutri-Lawn, Tony Martin, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Sam Grange, John Lorinc, Paul Herminston, Katherine Swinton, Canadian Franchise Association, Country Style, Gillian Hadfield, Michael Webster, Jay Harris, etc. They’re all brilliant in their areas of expertise.
When I got into a corner and thought I needed legal help I hired the best I couldn’t afford. John Sotos was my on-and-off-again lawyer from 1998 t0 2000 and I learned a great many things from John and his partner David Sterns. Both John and Michael told me to look at and talk to the banks. Oddly enough, the first lawyer I talked to about franchising in 1982 is now a Ontario Superior Court justice in Barrie. I like lawyers but they’ve got to cover their rent too, you know!
Many franchisees want to fight.
That’s good…and bad at the same time.
Many franchisees think in terms of black and white; now or never; us/them.
That’s good…and bad at the same time.
Many franchisees would rather choose a “white knight” professional instead of a group of franchisees plotting their own course.
That’s not good…and really, really horribly bad.
The McDonald’s U.S.A. president described his corporation as a real estate company with an interest in hamburgers. Let me repeat: McDonald’s is a landlord (to franchisees) with an interest in fast food.
I learned that the economics of modern litigation is very similar.
All lawyers are businesspeople that operate in a near-monopoly on certain words and concepts.
Learning these terms is not hard if you have (1) a learning tool and (2) a willingness to face some difficult facts.
Most let their emotions rule their decision making (ie. denial and fear) but in their defense, aren’t really conscious of doing so. They’ve been conditioned to be on their knees and look to Daddy for acceptance.
Education is the only way out.
Justice is one of the four Cardinal Virtues.
My research clearly concludes that the last place for franchisee family investors to find justice is via any franchise bar/legal system.
Background and unique qualifications: