Up sh** creek without a paddle? Need a pedicure but don't want a human touching your feet? Like a bit of porn with your pizza? You're in luck - there's a franchise to meet your needs. If you thought our last two articles on offbeat and sometimes just off franchise concepts were out there, wait till you get a load of this lot - including two New Zealand-based franchises.
We thought we’d seen some oddball franchise concepts, but when we stumbled across the Franworst website and their Most Bizarre Franchises collection, at first we didn't believe it. Pedicures by piranhas on Kardashians? A bounty hunter franchise run by a former beauty queen? A pizza franchise that delivers on three of the deadly sins - sloth, gluttony and lust? A franchise that demonstrates that the grass doesn't always have to be greener on the other side?
But we checked them out, and we did find what appeared to be serious and legitimate websites and news articles on these alleged franchises. In the course of our "research", we even stumbled across a couple of New Zealand-based franchises that were out-of-the-ordinary enough to make the
list. Starting with…
Private Arrangements, New Zealand
If you’re a woman over thirty looking for "safe and secret adventures", or a man needing companionship and perhaps a bit more, Private Arrangements could be for you.
“PA is unique to New Zealand,” says Invercargill-based founder Kate on her website. “Nowhere else can you find a service which brings ordinary people together for a candid exchange of services of all sorts. It is not an escort service or a dating site. It offers commercial companionship, opening the possibility of an exchange of services from mundane to intimate.”
Last we heard, Kate was looking for licensees to help her expand Private Arrangements’ services throughout New Zealand.
Piranha Pedicures, USA and UK
Yes, it’s Kim Kardashian again.
What is it that’s causing her to squeal like a not-famous-for-being-famous girl in these photos? Why, man-eating fish nibbling at her toes, of course. Long available in Turkey and Asia, skin exfoliation using tiny fish is the newest beauty craze to hit the United States and United Kingdom. In what they call “sushi’s revenge”, the Daily Mail reports that the Kensington elite are “queuing up to pay £45 to put their feet into a large tank of warm water and have their dead skin nibbled by the piranha's baby brother, the garra rufa fish.” Not to be outdone, the pregnant Kim Kardashian had herself filmed taking the treatment – see the video here. "Oh my god, oh my god, I don't like it, I don't like it!" she shrieks. "Can I take them out, can I take them out?”
Of course, there are plans to franchise the service, but these may have to be put on hold after fourteen US states banned it due to health warnings and a concern that it may be “inhumane”. Fancy that.
(Photos: Daily Mail, UK)
SnorePro, New Zealand
It seems that men in New Zealand can’t win. If they’re not short of a bit of female companionship, as we mentioned earlier, they’re driving their companions to distraction with their snoring. But never fear, another local franchise comes to the rescue! SnorePro’s solution is a device that will look familiar to many Kiwi blokes because it resembles a sports mouthguard. SnorePro says it has a 98% success rate and has ambitious plans to franchise the concept internationally.
Shit Creek Paddle Stores, USA
Talk about your recession-proof franchise concept! We can’t decide if this is the best franchise brand name ever, or the worst. And if the original business is located anywhere near a creek, we’re pretty sure it’s not named what the store’s named. We’re also sure the business wasn’t established
in 1868, as their coat of arms implies (that’s when their website says the expression “up shit creek without a paddle” was coined.) And we couldn’t find the meaning of their “latin” motto "non adepto captus sine" (the closest we could get was “don’t get caught without one”). Never mind, if the reader comments under Richard Quick’s Franworst article are anything to go by, there’s big demand for the USCWP franchise. “I am 62 years old and can’t tell you how many times I needed one of your paddles,” said Bill. “I saw you on the internet and thought what a great idea for a store in Australia in top end of Queensland, tourist mecca for grey nomads,” enthused Gary Kelsey.
Yard Green Grass Painting Franchise, USA
We really thought Richard Quick, “beloved” multimillionaire and president of Franworst, the satirical website on “franchising’s worst scenarios”, was pulling our chain on this one. But lo and behold, there turned out to be not one but several grass painting franchises in the United States.
This blurb from one of them, Turf Painters, explains the need for the service:
“Who paints there [sic] Lawn any way's?
“Most major sporting events touch up (Paint) there greens. They use the same products we use.
“Realtor's and foreclosure brokers who are looking for that curb appeal call on us to paint there grass and Homeowners who need a perfect looking lawn for that special event, birthday, wedding or graduation party as well as renters who are sick of the maintenance, and the high water bill.”
Grumpy’s Bail Bonds, USA
"Getting busted takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to Grumpy’s Bail Bonds,” says Richard Quick in his own inimitable style. Grumpy’s founder Leah Hulan doesn’t look grumpy but the former Miss Tennesee beauty queen is a bounty hunter, according to her website. And she’s clearly prepared to use any points of difference she may have to stand out from competitors such as Capital Bonds who are working, they say, to become “the Wal-Mart of bail bonds”. If, like us, you’re a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, this franchise concept will make perfect sense to you.
Porno Pizza, Winnepeg, Canada
It’s troubling to see so many franchises that are using sex to sell themselves. There certainly must be a lot of sad lonely guys in Winnepeg,Canada, because we can't imagine too many families or even couples ordering pizza so they can add to their collection of porn photos.
That's Porno Pizza's point of difference in a crowded market – as you gobble up each slice of pizza, more and more of the pornographic image underneath is revealed. Sloth, gluttony and lust combined – some would say it's the perfect business. While we're not sure how well entrepreneur Corey Wildeman’s business is going, or how many franchises he's sold, we do know he has received a load of free publicity and that according to him, young women like the ones pictured with him above are
lining up to be featured in the, er, photography.
Who is Richard Quick?
For more of Richard Quick’s Most Bizarre Franchises, go to www.franchiseworst.com. We’re not sure who he really is (“Rich Quick”, geddit?) or if he’s still actively operating the website, but there you’ll find more madcap and mostly real franchise concepts such as:
1-800-AUTOPSY: A mobile franchise that’s a cut above the rest.
Mobile Pet Cremation: Provide the ultimate Spot remover.
Pooper Scooper Franchise: Mine the brown gold!
Murder Maids: Criminals aren’t the only ones making a killing.
As for “Richard”, here’s how he describes himself:
Interests: Dining with friends in the South of France, diamond mining, collecting Monet and Picasso originals, coaching Olympic swimmers (there really is a Richard Quick who coached the Stanford University female swim team to great success, but we don’t think he was the same person).
Definition of success: Sitting on the veranda of my multimillion-dollar home with my family all close around me. To me, success is not about my Mercedes, Jaguar or Porsche. It’s not about my houses in Aruba or Tahiti or the furnished apartment for my mistress. Success is not about jewels,
and fine suits and boats at all. No, success is about owning those things. And having enough money left over to buy more.
Secret of success: Your people. And I don’t just mean uncovering their most damaging secrets or their inner weaknesses and exploiting them for monetary gain. I also mean discovering their potential, however feeble or noxious, nurturing it and figuring out how to use that for monetary gain.
Will you make your fortune by franchising your business? Got an unusual business concept but not sure if it would make a viable franchise? Take our free Franchise Feasibility Test here and receive a three-page Franchise Feasibility Evaluation Report.
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