Is offering free pay phone calls not your idea of a lucrative venture? Patrick Palmer thinks it is--and he's built a successful business to prove it.
Palmer, founder and president of Houston-based Freefone Development Corp., hit on the idea that you don't have to charge for pay phone calls -- if you find advertisers to buy ads in the booths. When customers make calls from a Freefone booth, they're surrounded by up to nine such advertisements.
Freefone is flexible for franchisees -- you can set up a phone in your area as a sideline to a traditional business or secure advertising with a national company and operate phones nationwide. "The franchisees can pick their level of involvement," says Palmer, 39.
In addition to placing Freefones in typical public venues, the company markets Freefone to groups such as churches and fraternal organizations to use as a fundraising endeavor. A Lions' Club in Huffman, Texas, for example, purchased a phone and is using the proceeds to support the Texas Crippled Children's Camp in Kerville, Texas.
Freefone's franchise fee is $4,995 and each phone unit costs $3,000. The company currently has more than 40 franchisees in three states, and has plans for national expansion.
Freefone Development Corp., (888)FREE-971, http://www.freefone1.com