Boat Cleaning Business Case Study: Entrepreneurship 101

How do marine type businesses start? Have you ever thought of turning a hobby into a business? Let me tell you a story of how I got into the Boat Detailing Business when I started our in the car cleaning business which grew into a franchise system. So often we read in business books to study markets and develop business plans when in reality it does not exactly work that way. Let me tell you a story of how sometimes the entrepreneur just falls into opportunity.

I met a guy who came to our web site to buy a Car Wash Guys franchise who had been detailing boats for ten years in Redding CA and later in Coeur D' Alene, ID. At the time we were getting about 600,000 hits on our website per month so that wasn't too surprising judging from the odds. He didn't have the money but we talked about the industry a lot for our franchisee fee or the equipment needed. www.carwashguys.com . He had some fabulous Ideas about boat washing however. I then was marketing up in WA state and ran across another Boat Detailing in Everett WA, who also detailed cars, really sharp Mormon kid previously from Salt Lake. Also really knew his stuff, attends boat shows and has established himself as a marine cleaning products guy. We hit is off and all decided to work together. I then met a guy in Newport Beach who details the interiors of Boats and designed the original equipment for Nauticare, an onsite, pontoon mounted oil change and bilge cleaning franchise. WOW. This would round out the knowledge I needed to put together The Boat Wash Guys.

http://www.carwashguys.com/boatlaunch.shtml

We sank the first pontoon prototype in Lake Mead; entrepreneurial disaster, total loss. o add insult to injury the local lake enforcement wanted to investigate and it cost $4,000 to recover the damn boat; back to the drawing board with safety in mind. We could not sell a franchise if the boats sank and that was our intention to set up franchises for boat cleaning. A sure way to sink any franchise. So we remembered that one of our franchisees in Lewiston ID has a brother who build boats and also jet boats and customized landing craft to haul cattle. The puzzle was coming together, but we had to figure a way to lower the weight of the boat so we could still carry 1800 Lbs of water without capsizing or tipping in big waves especially in ocean marinas. We put all of our heads together and our prototype now works. We knew the business worked since we had three independents who all made well over 150K per year and I have the marketing because people who get cars washed may own a boat and everyone calls in under one 1-800 number so we could use my existing customer base to also get boat customers. We decided to start by offering these boat franchises to existing franchisees of any other system we had to grow very fast very quick. Our goal was to set up and add 100 units the next year.

And here is the kicker, the pontoon manufacturer has a deal with a pleasure craft loan company and can finance the equipment, 1/2 franchise fee and boat for 15 years and the payments? $333.00 per month. Ha, that was all we needed to make it available for all of our team and anyone who really wants one. All this happened from a back burner project in less than a year. Then I wrote a 500+ page manual using all of our expertise. Nathan one of our friends in WA State washed Craig Mc Caws Boat; a 106-foot Yacht.

Sounds great right? Well not exactly, turns out insurance was tougher than we thought and the government regulators had attacked our companies based on competitor complaints and the whole thing got put on hold. No jobs were created, very few boats ever got cleaned and the whole project sank. This does not mean we could not start it up anytime we changed our minds, it just shows you that no matter how good you plans are as an entrepreneur you always have to watch out for the Tsunami of brain dead regulators in Washington DC. This project today sits on the back burner once again, with all the pieces ready to go. Entrepreneurs should be well advised to watch all the details before sinking $100,000 dollars into an idea without looking at all the details. Think about it.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

In The News:

How to Go from Burnout to Balance  Small Business Trends
25 Business Gifts for Under $100  Small Business Trends
Seven easy ways to improve your small business  Business MattersBusiness Matters
businessrecord.com  Business Record

Survival Tips For Your Small Business

No matter type of business you operate you've got to... Read More

How Most Business Owners Sabotage Their Success

Owning a business is a challenging endeavor. If you're like... Read More

Where To Get Money For a Franchise Idea

How often have you thumbed through a business opportunity magazine,... Read More

Postcard Marketing Your Small Business

One of the best marketing strategies a business or organization... Read More

In Home Daycare Businesses for Profit

To have one of the popular in home daycare businesses.... Read More

Get In Touch With Your Competition!

We all know that competition is an ugly word but... Read More

When to Say NO!

When is it a good thing to say no to... Read More

7 Cash Flow Secrets Your Accountant Never Told You

Looking for ways to boost your cash flow? As a... Read More

Do You Want Your Own Fully Programmable ERP? - Part 2

In the first article we mentioned the main characteristics that... Read More

Firing Underperforming Employees in Your Small Business

Here are a few tips on how to hand out... Read More

Boston Market; Mobile Auto Detailing

Boston itself covers 50 square miles of concrete and traffic,... Read More

Is Your Business Legally Prepared?

It is imperative to have your business legally prepared. How... Read More

Looking into the Future for Profits

How to identify future solutions and opportunities?Your power page, if... Read More

Retail Customer Opportunities for Pressure Washing Companies

Pressure washing companies must look for customers in the retail... Read More

Pressure Washing Business and Post Fire Cleanups

Many have not experienced a fire up close. One year... Read More

The Perilous Franchise Agreement: What Did You Sign?

Purchasing a franchise has become one of the most popular... Read More

Pressure Washing Business Case Study, Tractor Cleaning

So often small service businesses fail to exploit niches, which... Read More

Drivng Home the Point - An Outsourcing Story in China

A few years ago, I visited Beijing for the first... Read More

Breaking The Chains!

Everyday, customers and business owners are bombarded with billboards, logos,... Read More

11 Things Small Business Owners Can Learn From Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

1. Everyone Makes A Difference ? Despite not letting him... Read More

11 Things Small Business Owners Can Learn From The Miracle On Ice

1. Know Where You're Going ? Coach Herb Brooks had... Read More

Trailblazer Interview with Diane J. Levin, Partnering Solutions

Today is a Red Letter Day! It's special because today... Read More

Hard Money Lenders -- No Money Down The Easy Way

Would it help you as a real estate investor to... Read More

Create a Win Win for Your Small Business

Discover How Specialized Cost Containment Creates A New Win-Win Position... Read More

3.5 Million People And A Possible UK Home Business Opportunity

Has this ever happened to you... 'John, you have a... Read More