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Hobby Store Franchises?

Old 03-14-2008, 09:44 PM
  #151  
Lieutenant Loughead
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Originally Posted by pburt1975 View Post
Guy, I was wondering are there any places in your area that have a Flea Market on the weekends? Even an indoor one? Those are good cheap ways to get your name out there before your shop opens. Then as the shop gets closer to opening, you can pass the word to your Flea Market customers whats happening.
Good idea -- yes, there are two HUGE weekly (weekend) flea markets in Tulsa. I'll check them out.
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:04 PM
  #152  
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Watch out at flea markets though. Everyone thinks they're going to walk out with gold for the price of lead. I used to make tie-dye clothing when I lived in CA (go figure ). While we did do some business, everyone thought they could talk us down from our "astronomically priced" $12 Hanes Beefy-T shirts dyed with Procyon dyes as if they were 2nd rate used clothing or something. It was very frustrating trying to deal with this attitude so we stopped the flea market approach pretty quickly.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:42 AM
  #153  
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Hey LL. Certainly not suggesting you should shoot for opening something like this up initially, but thought you might enjoy viewing just to see what it could grow into! If you've already seen, disregard.

'06 footage

http://higherplaneproductions.com/m...F2006_02med.wmv
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:40 PM
  #154  
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Hodges is really starting to become much more of a clear picture for me now. So, Fred Hodges is the guy who flys the BIG B-29 that drops the Bell X1 model? If so, Fred Hodges was in Tulsa within the last 12 months...

Also, looking at his land area, and his "maticulus" lawn (and that tractor / mower isn't inexpensive either!), and his B-29, it's pretty clear to me that Fred Hodges has more money that many of us will ever see in our lifetimes. I am certain he didn't earn that money from SEFF and/or Hodges hobby shop. :o

Someone said Fred started out with the land, and everything grew from there. Land like that is not inexpensive!

What we're talking about here, is a guy who had a LOT of money to start with (maybe he was a corporate attorney, maybe he was a judge, maybe he invented the Post It note, maybe he inherited it -- who knows?). I am not so lucky. :o
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:44 PM
  #155  
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Back to the idea at hand... I'm having trouble finding a distributor which will sell to me -- because I don't have a storefront in a commercially zoned area.

If I can't get wholesale prices, I can't compete with places like Hobby City, and this whole thing falls apart. (Or, we're back to opening a retail franchise again.)
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:45 PM
  #156  
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
Hodges is really starting to become much more of a clear picture for me now. So, Fred Hodges is the guy who flys the BIG B-29 that drops the Bell X1 model? If so, Fred Hodges was in Tulsa within the last 12 months...

Also, looking at his land area, and his "maticulus" lawn (and that tractor / mower isn't inexpensive either!), and his B-29, it's pretty clear to me that Fred Hodges has more money that many of us will ever see in our lifetimes. I am certain he didn't earn that money from SEFF and/or Hodges hobby shop. :o

Someone said Fred started out with the land, and everything grew from there. Land like that is not inexpensive!

What we're talking about here, is a guy who had a LOT of money to start with (maybe he was a corporate attorney, maybe he was a judge, maybe he invented the Post It note, maybe he inherited it -- who knows?). I am not so lucky. :o
And here I thought his name was Mac......see what I learn?

Guy? Just buy that vacant school the unclub flies at. Then you'd be set.

Oh.....remove most of the soccer goals.....
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:48 PM
  #157  
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So your store has to be in a commercially zoned area? Not just having a "store" is enough?

What companies have you checked with that said this?

Frank
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:49 PM
  #158  
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LOL -- Fred, Mac, what's the difference?

The junior college school you're talking about is only a portion of that building and parking lot -- about 50% of that building is still vacant, and available to tennants.

The soccer area is actually vacant land in a business park -- the guy who owns the business park allows people to play soccer (or fly) on his land, to get some free advertising. My guess is that land will probably be purchased in the next 10 years, and the flying site will be gone.

I thought about opening my store right there -- at the "unclub" flying site. But I can not control who purchases the land (or when it is purchased) in the business park.

Before anyone suggests it, no -- I can not purchase the land -- the lots are about $1 million each, and we're flying on about 6 lots. :o
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:52 PM
  #159  
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Originally Posted by Murocflyer View Post
So your store has to be in a commercially zoned area? Not just having a "store" is enough?

What companies have you checked with that said this?
It seems to be a common theme -- it keeps everyone from saying they have a "store", and want wholesale prices on that shiny new ARF they've been looking at.

Also, it seems the first order needs to be about $30,000, with monthly orders of about $7,000. I just don't see me doing that kind of volume out of my home. (Or even at a "Wholesale Warehouse" office/warehouse.)

The retail franchise is looking better and better... :o
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:55 PM
  #160  
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
It seems to be a common theme -- it keeps everyone from saying they have a "store", and want wholesale prices on that shiny new ARF they've been looking at.

Also, it seems the first order needs to be about $30,000, with monthly orders of about $7,000. I just don't see me doing that kind of volume out of my home. (Or even at a "Wholesale Warehouse" office/warehouse.)

The retail franchise is looking better and better... :o
Nothing says you cant open the RC HOBBIES store and have the clinics, though, does it? I mean, you can have the cutter there or at home, whichever is more convenient.....(do you get the idea I REALLY like your clinic idea?)

Heck, if I were to move, you could always hire me.....
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:55 PM
  #161  
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I see. Thanks.

Thought: How much stuff would you have to sell each to keep your head above water? Have you talked with other LHS owners to find out monthly sales numbers?

Frank
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:29 PM
  #162  
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Originally Posted by gfdengine204 View Post
Nothing says you cant open the RC HOBBIES store and have the clinics, though, does it? I mean, you can have the cutter there or at home, whichever is more convenient.....(do you get the idea I REALLY like your clinic idea?)

Heck, if I were to move, you could always hire me.....
Kev -- this gets back to what I was saying before, about how 10% of the business is completely up to me. The franchise owner said that I know my area better than he does, and I've got 10% of the inventory to play with.

So, to answer your question, yes -- I would still do the clinics if I had the RC Hobbies franchise.

Originally Posted by Murocflyer View Post
I see. Thanks.

Thought: How much stuff would you have to sell each to keep your head above water? Have you talked with other LHS owners to find out monthly sales numbers?
I have spreadsheets from each franchise owner, but nothing "concrete" (because it opens them up to lawsuits).

EEK -- well, I was about to post the numbers they gave me, but I realized I signed a non-disclosure agreement, and can't share that information... Sorry... :o

I do have the names and phone numbers of three RC Hobbies stores (one just opened, one has been running for about a year, one has been running for three years). I plan to contact them and ask them two questions:
  1. Are the sales and profit forcasts "as advertised" by the franchise?
  2. If you could go back and start over, would you do it again?
I would greatly appreciate it if you guys would help me add questions to the list.
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:38 PM
  #163  
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Guy,

I would be asking some variation of "How long before you had adequate income to feel comfortable?" By comfortable, I do NOT mean buying cars and boats, I mean not worrying each day how you are going to pay bills, or when you don't have to be existing paycheck-to-paycheck.

I will add more as they come to me. (I expect a nice discount for all this help )
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:15 PM
  #164  
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4. What are your main sellers?

5. What have you done that promotes sales? What worked, what didn't?

6. How are you currently attracting new clientèle?

7. Why aren't you on this list?

Frank
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:54 PM
  #165  
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Frank -- While I appreciate your contribution, I feel I must be very careful in the questions I ask. Let's say they DO answer my questions (What are your best sellers? What promotions work well?), and then I go out and open my own store (no franchise)? Someone would probably sue me... (Or, at least dislike me quite a bit...) :o

I'd like to limit my questions to how well is the franchise working for you? (Or maybe, how is the franchise NOT working for you?)
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:01 PM
  #166  
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Never hurts to ask. If they are comfortable in their business practices/plan, they should not have any problems answering your questions. If you don't want to ask any LHS, then drive over to the next bigger town and ask them. I would think you would want to learn as much as you can before you risk everything. I certainly would and to be honest, I wouldn't worry about my competition not liking me -they will not like me soon enough as I started taking their customers away as my business plan would be better than theirs. If it wasn't I wouldn't even attempt to open a hobby store.

Frank
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:00 PM
  #167  
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Guy,

I agree with Frank. I wouldn't go to them saying "What can I do to steal your customers", but I would ask questions like listed above. Also, I would call other franchise owners of the one you are leaning to (RC HOBBIES< I am guessing right now), and ask them how they like working for that company. As for the fear of making nearby competitors angry, well.....who are you working for? You, or them? If you make them mad, knowing what I know of you, you will make them angry only because they are not as savvy as you in dealing with customers and providing your customers with the service they want, deserve, and expect.

Above all......remember, the more questions you ask now, the better armed you are with your "battle plan" to proceed. And most importantly.....that battle plan is what will be providing for your family. It MUST be the best one you can muster. (Being typed, and not spoken, I am meaning this with the utmost respect and not being a jerk here. Just looking out for my big brother. )
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:53 PM
  #168  
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What I would recommend here, is to ask the people offering the franchise, for some other operators outside of your area to talk to. Then you can ask all the questions you want, because you're keeping it "in house"


One of the questions I would ask them, is how much inventory the franchise requires them to buy, that sits on a shelf and never moves. This equals your money tied up in an investment that may never pay off. How many people are sitting on older technology batteries, motors, ESC's, etc. that they can't do a thing with?
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:44 PM
  #169  
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
Frank -- While I appreciate your contribution, I feel I must be very careful in the questions I ask. Let's say they DO answer my questions (What are your best sellers? What promotions work well?), and then I go out and open my own store (no franchise)? Someone would probably sue me... (Or, at least dislike me quite a bit...) :o

I'd like to limit my questions to how well is the franchise working for you? (Or maybe, how is the franchise NOT working for you?)
I don't think you need to be careful with your questions of existing franchise owners in the franchise you are considering. If they are not local, and none of them are, they should not hesitate to answer your questions. The franchisor should not care what questions you ask existing shop owners. If they care, perhaps they have something to hide.

After all, it is your future and livelyhood that you are dealing with. I have had experience with food franchises as an owner and adviser to others and the folks I was advising were reluctant to ask pointed questions for fear the franchisor would not sell them the franchise. They eventually lost their shirts and had to close. The right questions would have prevented them from purchasing that franchise and they would perhaps gone to another more successful choice.

If the franchisor is secretive and not willing to provide whatever you need to make an informed decision, look elsewhere.

Have you called any of the existing stores or gone to their locations to see how they operate? I would not consider opening without such a visit.

The local stores are NOT going to offer any assistance because they don't want any more competition. As a matter of fact, with a Hobbytown already in business in Tulsa, I would eliminate them from the running. I would also want assurances about additional stores in my area from whomever I purchased my francise.
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:46 PM
  #170  
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Admit it Jim.....

You just took my answer and reworded it. LOL

Just kidding, you put it better than I did.
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Old 03-17-2008, 04:15 AM
  #171  
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Hobby Town USA is out of the running -- sort of... The existing franchise owner has a 10 mile "first dibs" of any new franchise opening. Hobby Town USA is going to ask the owner if he wants to open a second store within that 10 mile radius -- with a partner (me).

If he is not interested, there's nothing I can do. If he is interested, I'm looking at a 3/4 pay cut (assuming I'm splitting the profits 50/50 with the existing store owner). So, I think the Hobby Town USA franchise is out of the running.

My father and I talked tonight -- he's really interested in helping me open my store -- franchise or not.

I'm compiling a list of questions to ask the three RC Hobbies franchise owners... I will start calling tomorrow!
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:33 PM
  #172  
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LOL -- well, I was going to post the list of questions here, but then I realized there is some information that would violate the non-disclosure agreement... :o

Also, I looked at the hours I am approved to call -- I can call after 5:00 PM, Wednesday through Friday. So... No phone calls today. :o

Last night, I was sitting on the couch, reading the spreadsheets, and something just jumped out at me... Earlier, I had three "fears" of opening this business (investment capital, 7-day work-weeks, and a 50% pay cut)... Now, all three have been resolved, as best as they can be without opening the store and finding out first hand.

I hate to say it, but I feel I'm on the verge of signing a contract!

(However, I need the store to open in October, and I think it's too late to hit that date this year... So, my store may not open until October 2009.)
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:26 PM
  #173  
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What will holdyou back from 10/08? Can you say which you are going with? ( I bet I already know. )
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:58 AM
  #174  
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Kev -- it takes between 1 and 6 months to open the store (depending on the landlord and the city building permit), from the day I sign the papers. I'm the kind of guy who hopes for the best, but expects the worst -- so I figure it will take 6 months to open the store.

That being said, I'm waiting for the results of my six-month review at the office. If things go well, I will probably just keep my day job; if things do not go well, I'll make the jump to the hobby shop franchise.

Here's the key -- my six month review would be in September... So, it is POSSIBLE I could open this year, but doubtful... :o

It will be either RC Hobbies, or my own store.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:30 AM
  #175  
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
Hodges is really starting to become much more of a clear picture for me now. So, Fred Hodges is the guy who flys the BIG B-29 that drops the Bell X1 model? If so, Fred Hodges was in Tulsa within the last 12 months...

Also, looking at his land area, and his "maticulus" lawn (and that tractor / mower isn't inexpensive either!), and his B-29, it's pretty clear to me that Fred Hodges has more money that many of us will ever see in our lifetimes. I am certain he didn't earn that money from SEFF and/or Hodges hobby shop. :o

Someone said Fred started out with the land, and everything grew from there. Land like that is not inexpensive!

What we're talking about here, is a guy who had a LOT of money to start with (maybe he was a corporate attorney, maybe he was a judge, maybe he invented the Post It note, maybe he inherited it -- who knows?). I am not so lucky. :o
His name is Mac. Fred is Flying Monkey. No disrespect intended here, as I know typing can sometimes be mis-taken. But LL, I'm just thinking there must be a tremendous difference in life there & here in this rural area of south GA where I'm so proud to call home. Mac was never an attorney, judge, or anyone famous. He was just a farmer, as I grew up myself. Many farm families here owned quite a bit of land without being super wealthy families. My family doesn't own nearly as much as I imagine Mac's family does. We own 250 acres, & we're far from wealthy, as in the eyes of the world. Most farm families just acquired the land for farming purposes.

As for the land you see in the video, it looks just like most of the other farmland around south GA. The grass, he worked hard to acquire, and as for the little tractor, that's nothing in size or price compared to the several tractors I'm sure he had when he was farming. As for the B-29, a friend of his built it for him, & I'm sure he equipped it wholesale. Yes, he probably was fortunate enough to inherit the land, but he grew up actually working the farmland with his family, including the spot where the shop & flying field are today. I feel sure he's probably not hurting financially, but he does appear to live a rather modest lifestyle compared to many.

Last edited by Lazy Bee; 03-18-2008 at 12:45 PM.
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