Franchise companies are not born they are made and when studying the history of franchise companies, it is amazing how similar they really are. To continue this story we are in the height of the Dot Com Bubble with money flowing in Silicon Valley and personal services and labor is at a premium indeed;
Before Oil Maxx’s downfall, Oil Maxx with the foresight of Mr. Winslow and the help of Lou Gurnick was a registered California Franchise poised to dominate the industry as companies like New Jersey based Oil Butler were doing. Oil Butler had already sold some 50 franchises and were getting ready to go for an IPO. Lance and Dave decided they needed very much to kick butt on the West Coast so they could dominate the market before Oil Butler could. This similar strategy was used against FleetWash, also out of New Jersey as they marched westward to attack our strong hold position in the truck fleet washing business (Truck Wash Guys) http://www.truckwashguy.com . Meanwhile we were advancing our Detail Guys Brand in FL with plans to move into the South East market for a foothold in the personal and corporate employee oil change market by co-branding those two brands with Oil Maxx. Mr. Winslow had been promised up until then that Oil Maxx would make good on their word to launch a nationwide franchise campaign. A quote comes to mind from the Late Vince Lombardi, that there are few willing to go the distance in the pursuit of victory, only the strong survive, it is a matter of individual will. Not everyone has what it takes.
Oil Maxx Company had worked as a perfect synergy with our washing franchised system in Silicon Valley up until then. Since we were operating in Silicon Valley we worked on perfecting our WashGuy online ordering systems as well. We eventually added a system to order car washes via customer’s PDA Wireless devices during the Ricochet Rage of Venture Capital Alley. We even set up Team Yellow Automotive Services and co-marketed with other mobile services. We had spent thousands of dollars getting ready for the nationwide co-branding efforts with the Oil Maxx Company. Unfortunately after two years Oil Maxx was unable to expand much out of the Bay Area with regards to franchising. Mr. Winslow put the Co-marketing project with the Oil Maxx company on hold and looked immediately to create synergies with any Independent Mobile Oil Change Business and look for a new Nationwide Partner. Oil Maxx finally went off the air in late 2001. In franchising the death rate of new franchisors is 5:1 in the first five years.
We could not understand how they went through all their original capital after we sent them business and our local franchisee’s paid part of their shop space to park our wash trucks at night as a favor to help with their start-up and operational costs. But we know from our experiences in studying franchising that only one in five franchisors survive in America due to stringent regulations. In CA the failure rate is even higher since CA is just about the worst state due to onerous regulators. In 2002 California was rated in Wall Street Journal as the worst state to do business in, with the worst anti-business regulations.
As Car Wash Guys worked through it’s own growing pains, we were able to take what we had learned and use that to help us co-market with other independent mobile oil change companies across the country. Even at times substituting on-site Preventative Fleet Maintenance, Mobile Tire Service Companies and even mobile fleet alignment companies even though Oil Maxx’s failure to make good on the promise.
Mr. Winslow was looking for another franchise company that had nationwide ambitions. In mid 2001 he met with a Japanese Company who had a representative living in Malibu, CA who could provide patented Oil Additives for fleet vehicles, which could expand the life of the oil interval up to 100,000 miles or so it was claimed. The Japanese firm had been using the product for 10 years in Japan and it was proven with 1 million miles worth of tests on trucks from Yellow Freight, the largest LTL Trucking company in the nation and with Roadway, years later they were merged as one company. The product was great and the North American rights were available with their main contact who was a former board member of the American trucking Association.
Mr. Winslow also met with another Nationwide Oil Additive Company representative in Reno, NV, who had come to The Detail Guys http://www.detailguys.com original prototype 8-Bay Detail Shop to discuss another oil additive. Their product guaranteed the engine life of any car to 150,000 miles after a certified inspection almost too good to be true. All guaranteed through Lloyd’s of London. Lance thought gee whiz, I now have a product for the car dealerships, trucking industry and mom and pop. Mr. Winslow then met with people from Lucas Oil Additives and Kendall Motor Oils after trying both for over 40,000 miles each in the Blitz Mobile Command Center and Corporate Office on wheels.