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Entrepreneurship Story; Over Regulation in Franchising Final Chapter

Sally and Jim have launched their automotive franchise business and are now selling franchises; problems arise as lawyers and over regulation threaten to ruin their life's work, see how it ends; tragedy or success. A realistic story of modern day franchising. . .

Sally says "well we do not need to do site selection because we were going to go to that shop it is a great location, besides since Joe is a long time employee we are giving him a discount." The S2D2 is so smiling now seeing as they have been on the phone nearly 45 minutes at his billing price of $150 per hour and he loves to round up, over billing may not be his middle name, but definitely in his family tree are the family names of White and Waters, he continues smiling. The S2D2 says "you cannot give him a discount if his parent partners are from IL and you have to offer the same exact deal to everyone in IL and it will severely jeopardize your future franchising in IL." Sally enraged starts to say something, "This is b-," but doesn't she just is thinking how much she wants to kill the adulter'ing, over charging, scum and S2D2 (Sally thought this not the author of this truly purely fiction story) for not explaining all this ahead of time, they promised Joe. Jim and I honor our word and besides we are about to open the new shop and Joe has waited for this and we are over loaded with business as it is, even if we opened the shop ourselves either way, it must be opened to meet customer demand, we just cannot wait, no way.

The S2D2 feeling the tension, which usually brings him his best money clientele, says quickly. "Okay, I think I can work through this, we will figure it out, why not come in tomorrow to talk about it?" Jim says "We can't, we are stacked with cars at all three shops, down two mechanics and Joe will be gone to MI to talk to his soon to be partner. They are going fishing, Joe needs some time off." The S2D2 says "well tell you what let's get your bill paid current and we can meet, I have time next Wednesday, (six days away) meanwhile tell Joe to hold tight on the meeting, wait on the disclosures, see if Joe can get out of the lease deposit or transfer the deal to your name. Tell Joe to alert his parents that he will not be cashing the check until I can call the states of Illinois and Michigan and get those documents in there." The attorney knows some folks in Michigan from college to drop names so he figures he can easily get the exemption for making an offer but not selling yet, as he remembers reading something in the regs on that a few years ago. Illinois will be a different issue, he has to think on this and be careful not to get himself in trouble.

Jim says "we have to wait another week?" Jim thinks to himself, do I have to call you when I need to use the restroom too, you would probably like that to hold me and help me aim, he decides he will just be quiet and listen? The S2D2 says "Yes, Jim, I am afraid to say yes. And meanwhile contact an Accounting firm and make sure they do audits." Sally says "but, you said we did not need audits for two-years?" The S2D2 says, "Well yes that is true but you are franchising in IL now, they require audits. Unless Joe has another way to do this business on his own?" Sally says "I'll ask him, but I think he has no credit, especially after his divorce two-years ago, his wife ran off with an attorney." The S2D2 sensing some hostility being aimed his way says "I am sorry to here that, but maybe you can figure something out, maybe there is another way, meanwhile. It is 5:30 pm and I have to take my daughter to Harp Lessons and then to the Batmitzvah rehearsal, we are so proud of her. Besides we have been in high time billing for 30 minutes. Tell you what I will work on this first thing tomorrow, get your bill caught up, check on the CPA firm, I have a friend who does a little of that if you want a name?" Sally says, "NO, we will find one." Jim says, "thanks for your time, we will do what we need to do." The S2D2 says "Don't thank me, you are paying for it." Then he turns to his secretary and says, my wife can take the kid to piano lessons or whatever it is she is doing, would you like to have drink Liz and they roar off in a BMW paid for with a little tricky accounting and double billing to clients and a few thousand copies at $.50 a page.

The next day Sally calls to find an accountant to do the audit, she calls the entire yellow pages and even uses the new South Bell owned online yellow pages, no one wants to do it. Most tell her it will be tough with the new Sarbaines Oxley law all the accountants are busy and most no longer do audits, too high errors and omissions insurance costs, due to too much litigation, too much liability and getting peer reviews is now triple the time to complete, along with their costs.

Sally is very upset. Joe was upset because he cancelled his fishing trip wonders if his investor friend will be angry. He is also upset since Sally asked him if he could do the business without his parents, now wants to reverse the lease and thinks that Sally and Jim are going to try to open that new shop without him. Joe can't wait, wants to start. His partner wants to move from MI before winter sets in, the delay will mean he will come and want to get a paycheck before the business is ready to pay for two owners salaries. Joe needs both his parents and partner to make his dream, of owning his own shop a reality. So far the attorney is the only one who is making any money. Sally is on everyone's bad list and Jim is having ulcers again. So stressed out he actually yelled at a customer again today, he never use to do that, that was way out of character, Jim loves his customers. Sally is determined to work this thru, she will call more accountants on Monday, but from the word she has gotten it will be another $35,000 to do the audit and take minimum of three months, that is if someone will agree to do it and if the costs do not go up again, as most accountants are really not interested in this type of work for anything but Fortune 500s. Sally knows three months is unworkable for Jim, Joe or even her, they need the new shop now. Joe is pissed at Sally, even though he knows it is not her fault. Jim is mad that Joe will not be patient and Jim is mad at Sally too and now he hates attorneys even more, he thinks they should all be killed, but also knows, it really isn't even the attorney's fault, it is the regulations he thinks, all these stupid rules. Joe thinks of all the rules he has to deal with already, all the agencies all believing they are so important and all the possible ways he can get sued, he runs a quick list in his head as he thinks knowing he cannot possibly remember them all and knowing that anyone of them can shut down his business. The constant stress, let's see in my auto shops, I have to deal with OSHA, EPA, DOT, IRS and things like SARA, RCRA, HazCom, VOC, MSDS. There are more than 100 different agencies that the owner of an auto shop has to deal with. Just some of the necessary permits needed; Burglar Alarm Permit, Building and construction Permit, Occupation Permit, Conditional Use Permit, fire Protection Permit, Hazardous Materials Permit, Generator treatment permit, Underground storage tank permit, Accidental release prevention permit, Above ground tank permits, Land-use permit, Storage Tank Permit, Underground tank monitoring plan, SB198 Safety Plan, Zoning Approval, Landscape Authorization permit, noise Permit, Industrial water discharge permit, Business Personal Property County license, Fictitious name Filing, Public Health Permit, Weights and Measures permit if gas is sold, Cradle to grave form on all chemicals that are classifiable, Waste management Plan, Certificate of Disclosure of hazardous Substances and Plan, as well as other things like a Corporations number, Tax ID Number, OSHA plan, I'll stop here, but they don't. Oh crap the phone is ringing, damn lawyers, damn regulators, we ought to bury them upside down for those new bicycle racks the city put in next to the bus stop in front of my shop while imminent domain'ing my much needed parking area. Damn government. Urrrrrrr!

Note: Jim is a fictional character he thought this, the author of this story on the other hand loves wonderful government agencies, adores lawyers, and likes to participate in government rule making, because it is a worthy use of time and is extremely pleasurable?

Jim settles down he thinks the S2D2 is just doing what all attorneys do, that is their job description, it merely justifies all the jokes he and his crew tell in the shop, but everyone already knows this anyway he decides. Who thought of all these stupid laws anyway? It just makes no sense, it is just like being stuck in his four-wheel drive as a kid in the MUD.

Meanwhile the attorney is at a franchise convention (wink, wink). The franchise attorney has no clue what to do and gets on the ABA forum online system and describes the situation and asks what to do, hoping someone else on the board has worked thru such a mess before, knowing every deal is gray and nothing is black and white and if no answer comes back by his return over the email, he will figure something out, after all that is why they pay him the big bucks?

Liz rolls down the window cruising down the strip in Paradise City, the wind blown hair and a glance towards the S2D2 and he knows this is going to be one hell of a night. The S2D2 thanks his lucky stars and thinks a little thanks goes to Jim and Sally and that Joe character, whoever he is. Oh and thanks to the over regulation and miss-coordination of the Federal Trade Commission and states like IL. He thinks also may be one day he might just actually go to one of those Franchise Rule making meetings, maybe he will rifle off a letter, or have his paralegal write it while he takes dictation? (no pun intended). He wonders who ever goes to these meetings, after all Jim and Sally are too busy and the Federal Trade Commission has them in the stupidest places anyway. Just then Liz turns again and says lets go here, lets get a room with a Jacuzzi over looking NY, I love green. The S2P2 thinks, well I love green to, even if this one is only a building. He pulls in all smiles knowing there is a lot more money for more trips like this where that came from. Jim and Sally are becoming quite good customer, a couple more like them and he can go into semi-retirement, maybe become a wine collector on the side. He flips the valet the keys, a ten spot and off to the suite they go. He follows Liz in, what a body he thinks, he has totally forgotten he is married.

Too be continued. . .

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;

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