YOU MOVE ME moving company franchise was founded by Brian Scudamore, CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK and WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. UnhappyFranchisee.Com asks: After its big initial launch, is Scudamore’s company resorting to illegal earnings claims and financial misrepresentations to sell franchises? Is franchisee poster boy Andrew Wilson’s $1M first year a fraudulent misrepresentation?
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Brian Scudamore pre-sold franchises in 25 cities to 1-800-Got-Junk franchisees before launching his You Move Me local moving concept in 2013. That quick launch enabled the You Move Me franchisor to reportedly generate $5.8 million in system-wide revenue in just its first year.
You Move Me is trying to sell the 2nd wave of franchises with an aggressive public relations and online media push which highlights initial franchisee success stories, such as the powerful story of an Oklahoma franchisee named Andrew Wilson.
Andrew Wilson, who was deployed in Iraq & Afghanistan, allegedly combined his military training and discipline with the innovative You Move Me franchise system to complete nearly 3,000 moves and generate $1.3 million in sales his first year in business. Andrew claims he is on track to hit $2 million in 2015.
A quick Google search reveals that Andrew’s earnings claims are posted on half a dozen websites, and are linked to from the company website. But as great a story as Andrew Wilson’s seems, Unhappy Franchisee is asking two nagging questions:
1) Is it legal for You Move Me to be circulating these earnings claims to prospective franchisees? and,
2) Are the representations being made by and about Andrew Wilson’s first year true?
We are asking Andrew Wilson, Brian Scudamore, The You Move Me franchise team and those familiar with You Move Me to please share your thoughts with a comment below or by emailing us at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.com.
Is You Move Me Making Illegal Financial Performance Representations?
UPDATE: You Move Me legal counsel admits wrongdoing as exposed by UnhappyFranchisee.Com:
As the You Move Me Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) states, the FTC allows franchisors to share financial representations if they provide proper disclosure:
ITEM 19. Financial Performance Representations
The FTC’s Franchise Rule permits a franchisor to provide information about the actual or potential financial performance of its franchised and/or franchisor-owned outlets, if there is a reasonable basis for the information, and if the information is included in the disclosure document.
That means You Move Me COULD legally provide Financial Performance Representations for franchises such as Andrew Wilson’s if they chose to disclose it in Item 19 of their FDD. Unhappy Franchisee reviewed the You Move Me FDDs filed in several states, and the franchisor stated in each:
We do not make any representations about a franchisee’s future financial performance or the past financial performance of company-owned or franchised outlets. We also do not authorize our employees or representatives to make any such representations either orally or in writing.
Since You Move Me chose NOT to provide an Item 19 Financial Performance Representation, the FTC forbids them from making any such representations. The FTC Compliance Guide makes it pretty clear:
Note that franchisors that make no Item 19 financial performance representations are prohibited from making any such representations outside of the confines of the disclosure document. This prohibition encompasses any financial performance representations made in any advertisement or on a website directed at prospective franchisees. The making of any such contradictory representations is itself an independent violation of the amended Rule.
The Story of Andrew Wilson’s Million Dollar First Year is Highly Promoted
Here are a few that turned up in a quick Google search:
“We did close to 3,000 moves in our first year… In 2013, we did close to $1 million in revenue between our locations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City which was a pretty impressive feat given it was our first year. In 2014 we are hoping to surpass $1 million and will then look at possibly expanding to a third location.”
“In our first year, we did almost 3,000 moves and it’s only gone up from there. If we eventually expand to another location, we’ll be even busier! …After doing $1.3 million in revenue in 2014, we’re projected to hit about $2 million in 2015…”
2015 Franchise Business Review Multi Unit Special Report, “Featured Franchisee Andrew Wilson”
“This newest venture, which he has been running for about 18 months, already has earned nearly a million dollars in revenue.”
Military Transition News Sept – Oct 2014 “Finding Success in Franchising”
“Andrew recently launched a moving franchise called You Move Me. In his first year of business he did $1 million in sales.”
VetFran website “Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran Launches Moving Franchise”
“He later purchased a moving franchise You Move Me, which is 1-800-GOT-JUNK’s sister company. After the second year, he reached the million-dollar threshold…”
Military.Com “Veteran Turns Trash into Treasure”
“Andrew and his growing company expect to surpass $1 million in sales in 2014.”
Smart Hustle magazine: “From Service to Startup: Veterans Making Their Way as Small Business Entrepreneurs”
Is Andrew Wilson’s Story Misleading?
In his Entrepreneur interview published March 6, 2014, Andrew Wilson stated that he first researched the moving industry, and then decided to enter the market by buying a franchise:
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I researched independent moving companies and compared their performance to other moving franchises in North America. I started to see that the fastest, most efficient way to build a business in this industry was to join a franchise system that had the infrastructure in place to support me.
However, an earlier news story in the Broken Arrow Ledger, written by Sarah McCallion and entitled “BA Moving Company Goes National” states that Andrew Wilson already had owned and operated an independent moving company called Easy Moves Co.
Oklahoma corporate documents show that Andrew Wilson first registered the Easy Moves Co. in 2011:
EASY MOVES TULSA
AW PATRIOT ENTERPRISES, INC
Filing Number: 1912335829
Corp type: Domestic For Profit Business Corporation
Formation Date: 15 Nov 2011
Registered Agent Information:
Name: ANDREW WILSON, 8350 N 68TH E AVE, OWASSO, OK, 74055
Effective: 15 Nov 2011
In the Entrepreneur interview, Wilson claims that when Scudamore decided to start a moving franchise, he jumped at the chance to buy in:
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
When the founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Brian Scudamore decided to start a moving franchise, I jumped at the chance to get in on the ground-floor. I believed in his vision to bring professionalism and exceptional customer service to an industry that has been lacking both. I loved the fact that You Move Me set out to make the painful experience of moving almost fun.
However, the BA Journal article states that Wilson already had an established moving company, called Easy Moves, and Scudamore actually decided to franchise Wilson’s concept using the name You Move Me:
When Andrew Wilson, Josh Herron and Tyler Staszak – Easy Moves Co. co-founders – decided to expand, they consulted the founder and CEO of the 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Brian Scudamore.
Scudamore was so impressed by Easy Moves Co., he chose to franchise the company.
In the Entrepreneur interview, Wilson doesn’t mention that he already had two established Easy Moves businesses he converted to You Move Me franchises. He states that his first year in the business was as a You Move Me franchisee:
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Keeping up with how busy we were! The first year for a franchise is always tough and we figured that since we were a new brand that no one had heard of, it would be especially difficult to gain market share. Through a combination of marketing and leveraging our relationships in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, word spread quickly about our service and the response was overwhelming. We did close to 3,000 moves in our first year…
Andrew Wilson claims that 2013 was his first year in business and implies that, as a You Move Me franchisee, he went from $0, starting from scratch, to nearly $1M in his first 12 months
What’s next for you and your business?
In 2013, we did close to $1 million in revenue between our locations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City which was a pretty impressive feat given it was our first year. In 2014 we are hoping to surpass $1 million and will then look at possibly expanding to a third location.
However, the BA Ledger article states that 2013 wasn’t Wilson’s first year in business and he did not start from scratch with You Move Me.
In fact, the article, dated Wednesday, April 17, 2013, states that the business Wilson converted to You Move Me was already doing nearly half a million in sales before the franchise was launched:
“You Move Me,” currently Easy Moves Co. on 1115 S. Aspen St., will expand this year throughout North America.
Easy Moves began with locations in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Kan.
In their first year, the two Oklahoma locations recorded combined revenues of $450,000 and completed 1,500 jobs.
Local “Meet the Team” sections of the You Move Me website seem to confirm the suspicion that Andrew Wilson’s supposed start-up $1.3 million franchise was actually a successful, established moving company that was simply converted to the You Move Me name. The bio of Wilson’s partner Josh Herron states:
…Easy Moves was a highly successful, and fast growing business, and for two years and over 3,000 moves we provided exceptional moving services to Kansas City, and the surrounding areas.
In the summer of 2012 we received the opportunity to become part of You Move Me, and advise other You Move Me franchises on how to operate as successful movers. After months of preparation we launched You Move Me in February of 2013.
In both the Entrepreneur interview and the Franchise Business Review “Special Report,” Andrew Wilson is quoted as saying he did 3,000 moves and $1.3M his first year as a start-up You Move Me franchisee.
Yet the BA Ledger story and Josh Herron’s bio seem to indicate that Wilson was already an experienced moving company owner whose company was doing thousands of moves before converting it to the YMM franchise.
Is this why You Move Me has decided not to disclose Mr. Wilson’s amazing first year in its FDD? Because it’s not true?
Are Andrew Wilson, Brian Scudamore & You Move Me LYING to Military Veterans & Prospective Franchisees?
Franchise Business Review and Entrepreneur provide paid advertising opportunities to franchisors who want to recruit prospective franchise investors.
The You Move Me public relations team seems to have promoted Andrew Wilson’s story there and across the Internet to entice trusting franchise prospects with the proposition that they, too, could achieve those results as first-time franchisees with no prior experience.
Andrew Wilson seems to have no problem with You Move Me using him to recruit fellow military veterans with this amazing but questionable claim.
Perhaps there are perfectly valid and defensible explanations for why You Move Me is promoting a success story that appears to include illegal earnings claims and some major inconsistencies.
Or maybe Wilson, Scudamore and the PR team cooked up this whopper of a success story in order to sell franchises under false pretenses.
If the latter is true – and we hope it’s not – it’s a pretty sad situation and this is a group of individuals franchise buyers would do well to avoid.
ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE YOU MOVE ME FRANCHISE, ANDREW WILSON OR BRIAN SCUDAMORE? SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.
TAGS: Brian Scudamore, Andrew Wilson, You Move Me franchise, 1-800-GOT-JUNK franchise, Franchise Business Review, FBR, Illegal earnings claims, franchise earnings claims, Franchise Performance Representations, FDD Item 19, Franchise Disclosure Document, franchise complaints, franchise, franchise opportunity, franchise complaints, unhappy franchisee