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    5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 24, 2008 12:56 AM by PiperE

    Play it Again Sports -

    looking2learn Newbie
      I have been seriously pursuing a small biz in the Sporting Goods realm(specialty), when I cam across this opportunity. I have contacted their business development department and they have been very helpful. The franchise option is very interesting! I am planning on calling some existing franchises and asking questions... but in the meantime thought that there was possibly someone here that might know a little about them and would like to share their thoughts or experiences.

      Thank you in advance!
        • Re: Play it Again Sports -
          mademan24 Adventurer
          Hello Looking to 2 learn and welcome to the forum ! I have heard mixed stories on this particular franchise. Both good and bad, that has been the story in most franchises. You are doing what I would do by calling on existing franchises and asking questions about this business model. Best of Luck to you..

           


          Cheers,

          T.Michael
          • Re: Play it Again Sports -
            LUCKIEST Guide
            Play it Again Sports, Welcome

            Life is a learning experience and the more research you do the more you learn.
            It is the job of the business development dept to be helpful. They are selling their company.
            You ask for my thoughts. Contact SCORE. SCORE is FREE both in person or online.
            *SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" is a nonprofit
            association dedicated to educating*
            *entrepreneurs and the formation,
            growth and success of small business nationwide.*
            *SCORE is a resource
            partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).*

            Good luck, let us know how you make out, LUCKIEST
            • Re: Play it Again Sports -
              Lighthouse24 Ranger

              As Mademan noted, the benefits and problems associated with this franchise are similar to most others -- but there's nothing I'm aware of about the franchise itself that would make you run away.

              My concern would be the business model and where it fits in the market. You have chain retailers on one side on you, on-line options like eBay on the other side of you, and you are squeezed in between along with local shops that sell quality used equipment on consignment. Consider the following:

              Your "target customer" (if he or she is a beginner) will find a wide selection of new equipment at a chain sporting goods retailer (or even the sporting goods department of a regular retailer, for some sports) -- and that selection will include several new options that may be adequate and less expensive than your lowest priced used alternative (plus the chain store will have a sales person in that department who may have more knowledge and formal training about that sport/product than you or your sales person do).

              When your "target customer" is an enthusiast, he or she will have low-end equipment to trade up -- which sounds good on paper, but with the overhead of a brick-and-mortar store, you can't afford to offer top dollar on trade-ins (plus there's a glut of low-end equipment anyway). Also you have to have something in the store that he or she would want to trade up to (which is difficult, since taking in and keeping a wide variety of used equipment drives up your expenses and strains your cash flow). So those customers very often use eBay or a consignment shop to sell the old equipment, and then upgrade to new equipment from a specialty shop or chain retailer.

              Once the beginner or enthusiast really gets serious about the sport, he or she is not in your target market anymore (they buy almost exclusively from specialty stores, pro shops, etc.) -- so the type of customer and type of equipment that carries the biggest profit margin is not even in your market.

              That's not a very positive picture, but that's how I'd analyze the opportunity in general. Even so, the franchise obviously exists and stores are operating at a profit -- so what you want to learn during your planning and research is HOW they are doing that in spite of the general market and business model challenges outlined above. I think that will be a key to developing a successful plan and moving forward.

              Hope that helps you. Best wishes.
              • Re: Play it Again Sports -
                PiperE Wayfarer
                looking2learn,

                Talking to franchisees is a great start. One problem I have found as a former franchise consultant is, existing franchisees do not always tell you what is REALLY going on when things aren't so great. Maybe they are in denial, or maybe it is the misery loves company concept.

                One of the lenders I work with lends to franchisees only. They must approve a concept before they will finance a franchisee. One of the points they look at is success rate. As I mentioned in another post (and probably will again) take a look at the franchises UFOC. There will be a section, a chart, covering the last three years showing how many franchise units existed and how many franchisees left. If the number of franchisees that left in a given year is more than 5%, find another franchise concept.

                Paula
                Franchise and Small Business Loans