Sometimes Spouse is a Waco, TX-based franchise company whose franchisees offer residential handyman, cleaning, pet & related services. Founded by husband & wife team Max & Christy Ogle and friend Crystal Stewart, Sometimes Spouse has franchise locations in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico & Missouri & is offering franchises nationwide. In numerous promotional YouTube videos, company spokesperson Christy Ogle promises first-year earnings of $40K to $150K with just a $5,000 investment, and touts Sometimes Spouse as the “try before you buy” franchise. We’ve identified several key questions we believe prospective franchisees or Managing Partners should ask before investing in the Sometimes Spouse franchise.
UPDATE: After confronting Sometimes Spouse with a number of critical questions, CEO Christy Spouse claimed that Sometimes Spouse is not franchised – all work is done through the company (using subcontractors). Questions and contradictions remain. See the update post: SOMETIMES SPOUSE No Longer Franchising Says CEO Christy Ogle
Q. Have you heard of a franchise opportunity named “Sometimes Spouse”? It’s a home-based handyman, cleaning, pet sitting, etc. service. They claim that the initial investment is only $5,000 and that first year earnings range between $40K to $150K. In her Sometimes Spouse YouTube videos, Christy Ogle that after a trial period you can start a franchise for just $5,000. Is Sometimes Spouse a legit franchise opportunity?
The Sometimes Spouse website lists 41 locations in 5 states and claims to be the “fastest growing handyman & household franchise in the world.”
Our review of the website and promotional YouTube videos prompted a number of critical questions about the Sometimes Spouse franchise opportunity, which we’ve submitted to the company. We will update the blog post below when we receive their answers (and FDD).
Questions Prospective Sometimes Spouse Franchise Owners (and Managing Partners) Should Ask
1. Does Sometimes Spouse provide an up-to-date, FTC-compliant Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)?
Under the Franchise Rule, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a prospective franchisee must receive the franchisor’s FDD franchise disclosure document at least 14 days before they are asked to sign any contract or pay any money to the franchisor.
As stated on the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Wikipedia page, the FDD
discloses extensive information about the franchisor and the franchise organization which is intended to give the potential franchisee enough information to make educated decisions about their investments. The information is divided into a cover page, table of contents and 23 categories called “Items”:
Twenty one of the items contain information primarily pertaining to the franchisor, but only two of the items contain information pertaining to the performance of the franchise itself that is being offered for sale. Item 19, “Earnings Claims”, is an optional disclosure under the FTC Rule and State FDDs. Item 20 provides a current accounting of the number of units that comprise the systems and reports the terminations and sale-transfers which have been applied to report the total number of units that comprise the system. Item 20 also provides the names and contact information of franchisees, current and ex-franchisees, who may be contacted for information in the due diligence process to be conducted by prospective buyers of the franchises offered for sale.”
The franchisor may provide a copy of its franchise disclosure documents on paper, via email, through a web page, or on a disc.
UnhappyFranchisee.Com has requested a copy of the current Sometimes Spouse Franchise Disclosure Document.
2. Does the Sometimes Spouse FDD list franchise-related litigation?
How many legal disputes has Sometimes Spouse had with its franchise owners? The FTC requires franchisors to disclose certain information about pending and completed franchise-related litigation.
We have identified at least one civil lawsuit that appears to be related to the Sometimes Spouse franchise, though there could be others.
20171708CV2 12/27/2017 ROSS LARSON AND TONYA LARSON vs CHRISTINA OGLE, INDIVIDUALLY AND DBA SOMETIMES SPOUSE , A GENERAL PARTNERSHIP |
MAX OGLE, INDIVIDUALLY AND DBA SOMETIMES SPOUSE, A GENERAL PARTNERSHIP ; CRYSTAL SHERRARD, INDIVIDUALLY AND DBA SOMETIMES SPOUSE,
A GENERAL PARTNERSHIP, OTHR
3. Does the Sometimes Spouse FDD include an Item 19 Financial Performance Representation that substantiates its widely posted earnings claims?
Franchisors are not required to disclose information about potential income or sales, but if they do, the law requires that they have a reasonable basis for their claims and that they disclose the basis for their claims as a Financial Performance Representation in Item 19 of the FDD.
The claim that Sometimes Spouse franchisees and Managing Partners can expect first-year earnings of $40,000 to $150,000 is widespread in the company’s advertising and videos. The company also makes the representation that the founders earned enough to quit their full-time jobs within 6-12 months after starting the company. These claims should likely be disclosed and substantiated in the Sometimes Spouse FDD under Item 19.
4. Do “Managing Partners” sign a Sometimes Spouse franchise agreement? Is the Managing Partner program terms and statistics disclosed in the Sometimes Spouse FDD?
We are curious to see if there is a detailed description of the “Managing Partner” program in the FDD or Franchise Agreement (FA), and whether the “Managing Partner” could be deemed an illegal franchise.
Our reading of the “Managing Partner” program description seems to indicate that individuals are offered the right to operate as a franchisee (under the name Managing Partner) for a year in exchange for a low monthly fee of $97 per month. At the end of that year, they may opt to become a franchisee for just $5,000 down. However, the payment of a fee in exchange for the same services as the franchise would indicate that Managing Partners should be considered the same as franchisees for legal and disclosure considerations.
5. How Many Sometimes Spouse Franchises Have Been Sold in the Previous 3 Years? How Many Franchisees Have Left the System? How Many Franchises Have Been Transferred or Reacquired?
Franchise turnover is a key consideration in assessing any franchise opportunity. For that reason, the required disclosures in the Sometimes Spouse Item 20 should be up-to-date and carefully reviewed.
For example, the Springfield, MO franchise appears to have been closed for 6 mo. then reopened by new franchise owners. Whether the original owners resold or whether the Springfield, MO franchise was terminated and/or reacquired by the franchisor and resold should be disclosed in the FDD Item 20.
Franchise “churning” is a practice wherein some franchisors regularly reacquire failed franchises and sell them for a profit or to hide franchise failures. Item 20 should be reviewed to detect troubling turnover whenever considering a franchise investment.
The Item 20 should also detail the number of fees paid for franchises that were sold but have not yet opened.
6. Does the FDD list contact information for current & former Sometimes Spouse franchise owners (and Managing Partners), including those who paid a fee but never opened?
A key part of pre-investment due diligence is speaking to current and former franchise owners. For this reason, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires franchisors to provide accurate, up-to-date contact information for all current franchise owners as well as all franchise owners who left the system within the past year.
This information should be included as an addendum to the Sometimes Spouse Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and provided to all serious franchise prospects.
Note to Sometimes Spouse LLC, Sometimes Partners, LLC Max Ogle, Christy Ogle, Crystal Stewart: All companies and individuals discussed on UnhappyFranchisee.Com are invited to provide rebuttals, clarifications, corrections or other statements for publication. Email us at UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com or leave a comment below. We have emailed you a link and a request for FDD through corporate email & your website. We value honest, open and respectful dialogue.
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