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Thread: Want to open new Optical shop, thinking of going with a Franchise

  1. #1
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    Want to open new Optical shop, thinking of going with a Franchise

    I am in an area that has 0 Optical shops for at least a 30 mile radius. I am in the insurance field and have been for 10 years. I am very confident this will work as the area is growing rapidly. The problem is I donít have much money to get started. I have started a business plan but I am not sure if this is necessary if I am considering a Franchise? Two questions, does anyone recommend a Franchise? Does anyway have any good advice to give on getting started? I would like to expedite this, as I am considered someone else will have the same idea soon.

    Thank you!

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    Invest in a pizza shop.............much better use of funds!

    Don't do it unles:

    *You have all of the money up front = don't do debt!!!!!!
    *Have at LEAST three years of your current income saved over and above the opening costs to support you through the lean times and the eventual bankruptcy!
    *Don't do anything until talking with a lawyer and an accountant, and then another lawyer!
    *You don't enjoy any free time!
    *Your dating life is even worse than the optical business.
    *Your liver is in great condition {it won't be after the bankruptcy}!
    *Open a pizza shop instead!

  3. #3
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    Where will your patients/customers come from?

    Who will send you work?

    Why hasn't anybody opened near you? Were they smarter? Could be!


    PS. Pennsylvania is the pits! I know, I live here!

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Java99's Avatar
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    Franchises usually require a large up front investment and take a percentage off the top. Usually a big one.

    A business plan is necessary, no matter what. You need a roadmap. You need to be forced to think about every possible scenario and come up with a strategy. I am so glad I spent the weeks I did working on mine. Without it, I would have had nasty surprises already.

    I opened my own shop in February after running someone else's for far too long, and it's going great, but here's the biggest thing I've learned so far: cash is king, no exceptions. Have lots of cash on hand.

    The second biggest thing I've learned is that if people have a reason to come see you, they will. But you HAVE to give them a reason to choose you over someone else. (see Fezz's post : where will your customers come from?)

    And Fezz is right about time. I have a few free hours each week, usually Saturday nights after about 9pm, and that's it. That will improve over time, but I'm a perfection freak and have to have my hands on every job that goes out the door, so probably not for awhile.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Master OptiBoarder RIMLESS's Avatar
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    I'd open a tire store.
    90% of everything is crap...except for crap, because crap is 100% crap

  6. #6
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Java99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIMLESS View Post
    I'd open a tire store.
    I have a cousin selling one in Colorado if the OP is interested...

  7. #7
    Master OptiBoarder RIMLESS's Avatar
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    Maybe I'll go partners with Fezz.
    Although pizza sounds very tasty.........
    90% of everything is crap...except for crap, because crap is 100% crap

  8. #8
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Java99's Avatar
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    Pizza vs tires vs optical....pizza sure smells better than a tint tank!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Java99 View Post
    Pizza vs tires vs optical....pizza sure smells better than a tint tank!
    noone will complain about the high prices or ask you if you take their insurance either.

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    honestly, never have looked at franchise before, but I would think all they do is get you deals on stuff and help you get setup. My guess is that you're still gonna need the same money and same financial credentials to get a lease, ect..... In otherwords, they are not going to hand you the keys to the place and say enjoy the profits.

  11. #11
    Master OptiBoarder LENNY's Avatar
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    how about FEZZ FRANCHISE?

  12. #12
    Master OptiBoarder RIMLESS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LENNY View Post
    how about FEZZ FRANCHISE?
    Are you pimping Fezz out?
    90% of everything is crap...except for crap, because crap is 100% crap

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana7Wheel View Post
    I am in an area that has 0 Optical shops for at least a 30 mile radius. I am in the insurance field and have been for 10 years. I am very confident this will work as the area is growing rapidly. The problem is I donít have much money to get started. I have started a business plan but I am not sure if this is necessary if I am considering a Franchise? Two questions, does anyone recommend a Franchise? Does anyway have any good advice to give on getting started? I would like to expedite this, as I am considered someone else will have the same idea soon.

    Thank you!

    1. If nobody has put an optical there yet, there's a good chance your idea is safe.

    2. I've highlighted the reasons why a franchiser would look at you as a wolf looks at a limping fawn. If you are asking if a business plan is necessary, then you are not ready.

    3. Have you been successful selling insurance? Most corps. selling franchises want to sell to someone that has proven themselves in business before. This is for two reasons...the first being that they want someone that will succeed. Secondly, they want someone with a stash of cash.

    4. As many here can tell you, this is a BRUTAL business, and getting more so by the day. Unlike days of old, your chances of success are less contingent on your abilities, and more so on outside forces such as third party plans, competition (they don't need to have a storefront anymore), availability of qualified staff, and your ability to attract a source of prescriptions; be it in house, or a referring source.

    5. I am not joking when I say that I would definitely consider pizza before optical.

    6. Examine at your motivations for wanting to get into optical. If it's for the money, reconsider. If it's because you enjoy working with glasses and people, get a job at a chain store and see what it's like (if you buy a franchise, that's EXACTLY what it will be like, minus the budget). Talk to some optical store managers/owners.


    To answer you're main question: NO, I do NOT recommend buying a franchise.

    Am I against anyone opening an optical? Heck no, I think everyone and their brother should try it (especially if the brother has money!) Just do ALL of your homework, and DON'T rush into it.
    Ophthalmic Optician, Society to Advance Opticianry

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    Get a Chic-Fila. Dey stays busy and don't work on Sunday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fezz View Post
    Invest in a pizza shop.............much better use of funds!

    Don't do it unles:

    *You have all of the money up front = don't do debt!!!!!!
    *Have at LEAST three years of your current income saved over and above the opening costs to support you through the lean times and the eventual bankruptcy!
    *Don't do anything until talking with a lawyer and an accountant, and then another lawyer!
    *You don't enjoy any free time!
    *Your dating life is even worse than the optical business.
    *Your liver is in great condition {it won't be after the bankruptcy}!
    *Open a pizza shop instead!

    Wrong !

    Open a french fry stand !!

    A pizza place requires drivers and cars for delivery and they work late nights and require Credit Cards and many employees.

    A french fry stand is closed at night, does not require delivery cars and it is an all cash busines with very few employees.

    A french fry stand has customers lined up and waiting all day in the right location and does not require a brick and mortar plaza .

    Unlike optics , you will never have to offer a 3 or 4 for 1 deal and you won't have to fill out ridiculous amounts of insurance paper work , there are no doctors redos , no thefts of stock and no crazy useless organisations to join and about nothing in licensing requirements and the internet is not going to bother you .


    A fellow I went to school with went bankrupt in the opticians business and in desperation he started washing windows . he retired several years ago and consitently made a six digit income with no CE credits required and no pressure and no receivables.

  16. #16
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    I have gone the french fry route, and have to say, for what we put into it, it was very lucrative. We rented all the equipment for an Octoberfest event. It rained the ENTIRE time, the turnout was sparse, and my friend and I still netted $1800+ for 2 days!! We then bought airline tickets, flew to Miami, met some co-eds and spent another weekend drinking.

    Ah, those were the PMS (Pre-marriage/servitude) days!
    Ophthalmic Optician, Society to Advance Opticianry

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Java99's Avatar
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    Was talking to the neighboring business today, which is a franchise. She gives away 30% off the top for the privilege of being a franchise. I also know she has to have approval on all ads, promotional material, signage, and buys most of the same from the mother company, probably not at cost. She also has to use their business systems, honors ads and specials, etc.

    To me, that's more like managing a business for a percentage of the profit than really running your own business. But hey, it works for her, and I might be bankrupt in a year.

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    Sure. It's been done. There is a potential fortune to ba made off franchises. They finance the 100 Gs to open(made money there on finance charges). Provided advertising (buy one get one free. The stores did not get the second one free so they doubled the sales and made money there). You must buy everything from them, regardless if you can get the same thing cheaper. Then you had to give him a cut% based on your stores intake based on gross(plus a "gross up", gross X 1.10. Took me a while to understand that one. I finally figured out that that clause was to increase corporate profits. Oh yea. (Made profits from this.) Heck yea! Franchising has much potential for profits. You just got to be willing to put in the hours edging all that product, half of which you are giving away.

  19. #19
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    I have managed for two sucessful franchisees. You generally have to pay around 30% of your net (bank deposits) for the month. Some franchise agreements are more lenient than others in that you can open your own accounts with vendors, carry stock the corporate stores don't and make your own rules regarding office procedures. What you are paying for is the use of a known name and advertising, otherwise you are often on your own.

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    Thank you all for your advice even the Pizza and FF bloggers. I am considering different routes, and will take my time deciding. Even though I am in the insurance business I have proven to be successful, but would like to expand my career and service the community. If I were to say I wasnít in it for the money I would be lying but only partially. As I live in a rural area and I am focused on the needs of the community. If you are signed in to this site the rules are that you should be in the optical community, in saying that I have probably spoken or assisted you with an issue at one time or another throughout my career. Whatís my point you ask? Well my point is that I have developed many relationships and a very good understanding of the Optical field. All though I have never owned an office I do speak with labs, OD's, MD's, and office staff daily...and have been for years, its all I know. I have always wanted to be proud of my performance, and have been in insurance, but my personality type and goal in life was not to stay in insurance forever. So the bottom line is keep the info coming I have a lot to learn, and I am very passionate about proceeding with my goal. I am confident that with your help, the help of my current business relationships, and the business plan this will work for the community and me ( : Just holding on to faith that the funds will work themselves out....holding holding holding. No...I know it will it always does somehow some way.
    Thanks again!

  21. #21
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    Thank you all for your advice even the Pizza and FF bloggers. I am considering different routes, and will take my time deciding. Even though I am in the insurance business I have proven to be successful, but would like to expand my career and service the community. If I were to say I wasnít in it for the money I would be lying but only partially. As I live in a rural area and I am focused on the needs of the community. If you are signed in to this site the rules are that you should be in the optical community, in saying that I have probably spoken or assisted you with an issue at one time or another throughout my career. Whatís my point you ask? Well my point is that I have developed many relationships and a very good understanding of the Optical field. All though I have never owned an office I do speak with labs, OD's, MD's, and office staff daily...and have been for years, its all I know. I have always wanted to be proud of my performance, and have been in insurance, but my personality type and goal in life was not to stay in insurance forever. So the bottom line is keep the info coming I have a lot to learn, and I am very passionate about proceeding with my goal. I am confident that with your help, the help of my current business relationships, and the business plan this will work for the community and me ( : Just holding on to faith that the funds will work themselves out....holding holding holding. No...I know it will it always does somehow some way.
    Thanks again!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cocoisland58 View Post
    I have managed for two sucessful franchisees. You generally have to pay around 30% of your net (bank deposits) for the month.
    What a depressing thought, when after you've "learned" the business side of it after about 6 months, you look forward to a lifetime of 30% of your income going out the window?

    PT Barnum must have invented franchises!
    Last edited by Johns; 03-27-2012 at 10:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cocoisland58 View Post
    I have managed for two sucessful franchisees. You generally have to pay around 30% of your net (bank deposits) for the month.
    I am sure no accountant, and I may be mis-understanding this statement, but my net is no where near my bank deposits. I do have a few other expenses to pay...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by obxeyeguy View Post
    I am sure no accountant, and I may be mis-understanding this statement, but my net is no where near my bank deposits. I do have a few other expenses to pay...
    I'm sure they referring to "gross". The only people stupid enough to negotiate contracts based on net were musicians that died broke. When a contract is based on net, there never seems to be any when it's time to divvy it up.

    That would be a fun check to write every month. I'm sure those guys do a lot of "side" jobs.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johns View Post
    I'm sure they referring to "gross". The only people stupid enough to negotiate contracts based on net were musicians that died broke. When a contract is based on net, there never seems to be any when it's time to divvy it up.

    That would be a fun check to write every month. I'm sure those guys do a lot of "side" jobs.
    It was a percentage of the monthly store deposits whatever that might be called. Both of these businesses were owned by opticians and franchising was a way to get started. They both ended up going private in the end. One still exists and is doing well.

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