With over 3,000 different concepts in franchising today, there are some that should never have been franchised.
Here is my short list of questionable franchise concepts:
1. Lice Franchises. For those of you who are scratching your heads (literally), some folks in the Lone Star state are licensing a franchise called, "The Lice Squad." A Canadian company feels that lice infestations really inconvenience families enough to require a systematized (a franchise system) approach to getting rid of the little buggers.
Are there enough lice out there to turn this into a million dollar franchise for someone? I know my vote, but I'll let you be the judge.
2. Help for Hectic Lives by Making-Your-Life-More-Hectic-Franchises. My family is a dual income one.
I own a franchise consulting company, and my wife works full time in a management position at a local hospital. Our child attends school, and our dog needs walks. One thing we don't have a lot of is spare time. These franchise concepts think we do.
A few years ago, some folks got together and came up with what they thought was the answer to our dinner time dilemma. A meal prep franchise! This may not top the "Weirdest Franchise Idea" charts, but it is definitely is up there in the "Not a very well thought out" concept chart.
The missing piece of this type of franchise that targets the time starved dual income consumer is the time factor. If the time starved consumer doesn't have time to cook dinner, Monday through Friday, then how enthusiastic will that same consumer be to spend their Saturday mornings making meals ahead of time for 4-5 hours at a time? The other thing is where are those same consumers going to store 25 pre-made meals? Are they really going to go out and buy an extra freezer just for that?
3. eBay Drop-Off Franchises. Need a place to drop off and ship the 1978 Zebco Spinning Reel you found in your attic?
Several eBay drop off store franchises are more than willing to oblige. Well, they were more than willing to oblige. Those of us that are actually in the franchise industry, seem to have a pretty good sense of what will work, and what won't work in a franchise concept. For some strange reason, the folks that think of some of these questionable franchises never seem to find us before they sign on with a franchise development company.
Fads do not lend themselves to the franchise model (or any model). I know that I may get a little heat for saying this, but eBay-based franchises are a fad. People still use them, but I never hear about them like I used to a few short years ago. (You probably don't either.) eBay did start an online auction trend, and that is a solid model. The key word here is online.
Setting up a brick and mortar store to help people with their shipping and packing needs, just for eBay transactions, just doesn't make financial sense. Couldn't the franchise companies do the math? There is just not enough margin there! The overhead in some of these stores ran over $8,000 a month. Shipping $200 items one by one just didn't cut it.
Getting into a franchise of your own really can be a great thing. The desire to control one's own destiny is admirable. Just do your research.
(P.S., here are some more franchise follies.)
About The Author: Joel Libava is a Cleveland, Ohio franchise consultant and marketer. He blogs at The Franchise King blog. His website is The Franchise King.