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Advice much needed

(9 Posts)
CallMeBubblesEverybodyDoes Sun 05-Jun-11 17:05:24

About 4 months ago, my DH and I bought a franchise. It wasn't a huge amount of money buy any standards (well under 5k, less than most holidays really), but it used up a fair bit of our savings.

We thought the service the franchise offers was good and would be popular, and there doesn't seem to be anyone in our area offering the service on a mobile basis as we are. The franchise company assured us that other franchisees are doing extremely well and having lots of clients each week. After much thought we decided to go for it. The franchise company assured us that they would provide artwork mastercopies, and provide help and support and help us get going.

Well it took 6 weeks before the designer would send over the artwork master copy for us to get started (we could have designed our own but didn't want to as their artwork was designed by a graphic designer and was much more official and professional than we could have designed ourselves, and in any case it was part of the deal that they would provide this). We got 6000 leaflets printed and delivered by a leaflet delivery company and have had not one single response. Not even an enquiry phonecall or email. In addition to this, the franchise company don't return phonecalls, reply to emails or respond at all. I've tried phoning and leaving messages, and also sent emails to enquire about how we can take things forward, but have not had any acknowledgment or replies.

I have also made phone call after phone call to beauty and hairdressing salons (it isn't a beauty treatment as such more a cosmetic treatment) to see if they would like to offer the service to clients and not one is interested. Well actually I tell a lie, one was interested, but said that in order for me to offer the treatment in their salon (for which they would receive a 40% share per treatment so they would benefit well financially from it), they wanted me to spend £500+ on advertisements and extra leaflet drops advertising their salon, which obviously I was not prepared to do when we had no response to 6000 leaflets.

I really don't know where to go from here. I have run a business before previously, which I stopped when I had my 6 year old, and it went well. I've also worked in telesales before and again did well. I really am at a loss as to where to take things now, and like I said, I can't get a response from the company.

Thanks for reading, any advice would be much appreciated.

Thornykate Sun 05-Jun-11 19:29:47

Apart from leafleting what other marketing have you tried?

I have had some success from letters to salon managers but am leaning more towards social media & networking to build opportunities.

What area are you in?

CallMeBubblesEverybodyDoes Sun 05-Jun-11 19:58:17

I've phoned loads of salons and also sent emails to salons. Am thinking of starting a FB group and inviting everyone local on my friends list. I don't want any friends to feel obliged to buy a treatment from me though, although I guess they'll add friends who might be interested.

I'm in the East Anglia area

Thornykate Sun 05-Jun-11 20:05:33

I found that calling the salons got nowhere; they seem to think I am selling something & just switch off!

Don't Want to teach you to suck eggs as you have more business exPerience than I but I went on free social media course & am using twitter & fbook as much as poss as it's free! Also trying to use the contacts I already have, most of my friends know or attend salons so I am trying to get in there as I think salons are more inclined to give me an audience if I have a connection with them via a friend or client.

Are you offering cellulite/ fat treatments?

TracyK Sun 05-Jun-11 21:43:16

What about groupon or itison etc to get your name out there and pick up repeat full price business?

MrsDime Fri 10-Jun-11 18:17:40

Is it something that would be 'sociable' to do? If so, you could offer to do it as a 'girlie night in' party night - provide a bottle of bubbly to get things started?!

Cretaceous Sun 12-Jun-11 17:36:39

There're two separate issues.

a) What should the franchise company be offering you for your money? What's in your contract? etc

Have you contacted any of the other franchisees to see how they are doing? Is the franchise company still advertising to take on new people? Is it a scam, whereby they take your money but don't fulfill their side of the contract? Or are they just inefficient?

b) Lack of interest from customers.

Are you sure that the leaflets were delivered? It is strange not to get any response. Are the contact details on the leaflets correct?

CallMeBubblesEverybodyDoes Wed 15-Jun-11 13:04:23

Thank you for the replies everyone.

TracyK, we enquired with companies like that but because we need to offer the treatment between 50 and 70% discount, and it's a one off treatment and not something customers would have done on a regular basis, we would end up losing a lot of money on each treatment and with travelling costs it just wouldn't be worth it.

MrsDime, yes it's definitely something that I could hold as a party, I'm actually planning on having a party at my house next month and 2 friends want it done, woohoo!

Cretaceous, the contract says that we would be given full, ongoing support, artwork mastercopies, and advice whenever we need it. They are still advertising for new people. I am going to try to get in contact with some other franchisees to speak to them, I don't think it is a scam I think it is just inefficiency and a "can't be arsed" attitude. They've had our money so they're no longer bothered about us.

Regarding the leaflets, after many many calls and emails to the distribution company, we have eventually got hold of someone today and he says that the distribution hasn't gone out yet. I thought this must be the case. We paid in good faith and they were going to do the drop almost a month ago, they had emailed us with dates etc. DH has spoken to the company owner and said that unless the leaflets are delivered by the end of the week, or our leaflets are returned to us together with a full refund, we will be taking them to the small claims court. He is waiting for the company owner to call him back now, to ascertain what's going to happen from here but TBH i would rather have the leaflets back and find someone else to do it or deliver the bloomin things myself at weekends or something. I really am quite cross and it just seems we're dealing with a load of cowboys right now with every direction.

CallMeBubblesEverybodyDoes Thu 23-Jun-11 18:37:57

Thought I'd pop on and update;

We're still no further forward with the leaflet distribution. the company keep saying they've done it but won't/haven't emailed us the summary of where they were delivered to, and no one we know locally that we have asked has received one (about 20 different people living in all different parts of town). However I did manage to get a couple of jobs from a FB networking group I started so at least that's something I guess.

I still can't get hold of anyone from the franchise company, they're not answering calls or emails :/

think I might have to just write this off as a bad experience and try and sell as many of the treatments as I can to recoup as much as possible....

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