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Slick Idea

No-risk franchising.

Franchising may be a great way to get into business, but like starting any business, it has its risks. There's the dreaded "what if" factor: What if, after all the sacrifice it takes to get the franchise up and running, you discover the business isn't for you?

David Heddleson, president and owner of Mister Mobile, may have found the solution to such misgivings. The St. Petersburg, Florida-based on-site oil-change franchise now offers a trial lease program to ease potential franchisees into the business.

For an initial investment of $8,000, plus $1,000 per month for a trial run of six months, lessees receive a Mister Mobile service truck and the equipment necessary to perform on-site oil changes. If lessees wish to end the relationship after the trial period, they keep the money they made during the six months and move on. If they decide to stay with Mister Mobile, they pay another $8,000 to satisfy the franchise fee, as well as 4 percent ongoing royalties (which aren't paid the first six months), and with the company's help, they must arrange financing for the truck.

Says Heddleson, "It's a win-win situation."

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This article was originally published in the November 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Slick Idea.

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