One trait of franchisors and something you will find in all their biographies both; official and unofficial is their competitiveness and refusal to give up. Now onto Part IV of our saga:
Mr. Winslow met with so many different companies and made so many contacts he was sure he had all the components to roll out his own Mobile Oil Change franchise System to co-brand with the other WashGuy Family of Franchises. Lance, then had a chance meeting with Greg of On-site Oil Change in New Mexico. It was by total accident. Lance was visiting Los Alamos Laboratories to sign up members for The World Think Tank; a hobby of his and having a rather tough time of it due to recent national security problems there. He drove down to Rio Rancho for a Starbucks Coffee, when Greg approached him asking about the Truck Wash Guys Franchise. Greg had accidentally signed up the New Mexico Power Company for fleet washing, since he was good friends with the Vehicle operations supervisor and already changed the oil for the entire fleet. After they got to talking a little bit Mr. Winslow, who just got done reading the Biography of Lance Armstrong, found out that Greg had beaten cancer. And Greg's attitude at the time was no different from what Lance had read about Lance Armstrong's fight with cancer, and his Tour de France victories. Mr. Winslow also was developing ties with the founder of the World Think Tank, a cancer survivor. Greg's wife told him that Winston Churchill, was her personal and favorite hero. Mr. Winslow was reading also in fact currently at that time reading Winston Churchill's Biography after learning he is related to the late Winston Churchill through John Howland an ancestor.
Greg had moved his growing business into a new $250,000 building in the Albuquerque Industrial Area on an acre. His shop had everything including upstairs offices and rooms for training new Oil Change Guys Franchisees. Greg had added other lines to his business, which we had hoped to incorporate into our business model. Greg would have put together our equipment and training our team. We looked into all of these ancillary revenue streams and determined them to be viable. After determining these to be excellent add-on services and we incorporated them into our service list. We then asked Greg to put together some figures as to exact costs to put together an Oil Change Rig. Similar to the ones he had running, but with all the new options that he had determined necessary.
He failed to perform this obligation and we lost two deals we were putting together in Monterrey, Mexico. Lance was getting frustrated, but understood Greg had been through a hell of a lot in his life and let it go.
Later in that year Bob Davis of "Tour de Lube" of Oklahoma City called us after being in business for only six months with two older trailer units, admitting to us that they were not really doing the job and wanting us to help him upgrade his fleet with a van. Bob wanted us to take a used van, which he would buy and retrofit it. Bob wanted to run a debt free business, which is admirable, but wanted us to put equipment in an old van. Bob and his family ran this business after buying it from another gentleman who had run the business for 5 or more years the prior. After discussing this with Bob and finding out that Bob's real ambitions was to do fleet oil changing throughout the Midwest and control that market and sell vans "turn-key" to those wishing to do mobile oil changing for residential and individual car owners, we determined that we could not allow such secrets and proprietary information to leave the company.
Bob told us that he had gone to several neighborhoods and asked customers if they might sign up for residential periodic oil changes, claiming almost all of them said "Yes, they would sign up." It was this revelation that prompted Bob Davis to set up these vans all over the country to change oil in driveways, claiming "that is where the real money is?" Of course with Wal-Mart changing oil for $12.99, we hardly think so. We actually all had a chuckle over his two to three neighborhood marketing survey, because actually signing people up is another issue. Surely if an old guy comes to your door you are going to be cordial. Bob's goal as he explained it on the phone was to set up a van for a customer, new or used that the customer brought them and out fit it for a profit and collect a couple of points on each equipment lease for getting financing. Lance in his lifetime had done enough business with "Sleazy Leasing Companies" to know that was a bad deal for the potential "Biz-Op" buyers or franchisees or whatever it was Bob was going to call them? Not to mention that he believed some how he could help our team in some way because he understood the Equipment Leasing Business and had connections there. Big deal any Equipment Leasing Company would spiff someone a bird dog or finder's fee if you gave them some live flesh to sign a lease at 35-40% interest if you figure out the points, doc fees, non-interest paid deposit and other tricks.
It was determined that Bob was a competitor and Lance told him to "Go to Hell." Bob insisted that Lance was having a bad day and that we should work together? Bob even went out of his way to contact Greg and his wife to tell him what nice guy he was and how Lance was out of line. It appeared that the gathering of intelligence by Bob Davis was a little unnerving to Lance especially as Bob tried to play the "I am a Christian, you can trust me!" game with Lance. Susan, Greg's wife felt sorry for Bob Davis and decided that Lance had been too harsh with Tour de Lube's Bob Davis and that it was not right to tell competitors/inquiries where to stick it.
Mr. Winslow at this point decided he needed to scrap the project with Greg or anyone else because in franchising or any type of rapid roll-out strategy, you must be dedicated to the cause, loyal to the team and play to win. Oil Change Guys, decided to do it the only way they know would really work. Today, Lance and his team of fabricators and vendors from our other systems in Phoenix do the whole thing in-house and have dumped any potential alliance with any other non-team member so they can build the best units and capture the market share without doing business with anyone who is a competitor, might drop the ball or is unworthy of the incredible dedication it takes to build the World's greatest service firm.
We believe that our team is number one and that we are responsible to that team, our families and to the customer and no one else. If you can play by those rules give us a call. And there you have it, the History of the Oil Change Guys, which can serve as an inspiration to your entrepreneurial mission. We wish you well and God's Speed...
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs