Is GARAGE FORCE Hiding Franchise Failures?

Garage Force CEO Michael Peterson swore, under penalty of law, that only four Garage Force franchises ceased operation between January, 2014 to January, 2018.  Franchisees contend that many Garage Force franchisees failed during that time, and that by September, 2018 30 had gone out of business.  Somebody’s not telling the truth.  Let’s find out who.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Yesterday, we posted Garage Force franchise complaints and allegations about the Onalaska, WI-based franchisor.

Garage Force franchiseGarage Force franchise owners are making some serious accusations, claiming that more than half of Garage Force franchises are no longer operating.  There have been some allegations that Garage Force CEO Michael Peterson intentionally hid franchise failures in order to trick prospective franchisees into investing in the Garage force franchise.

We invite company officials, franchisees, employees and others familiar with the situation to share what they know about the Garage Force franchise and the success rate of its franchisees. You can post your comments below or email us in confidence at UnhappyFranchisee[at]

Franchisees Allege Half of Garage Force Franchises Have Ceased Operation

According to a comment posted at Unhappy Franchisee:

Over 50% of their franchisees have failed, close up, went bankrupt or just quit.

They marketed to American Veterans as “be you own boss” then left them to fail as did others.

They never let new franchisees know the failure rates as the signed more up.

A detailed report compiled by a Garage Force franchise owner states:

…in late 2015 through 2016, there were several franchises that failed during that time, none of which were reported to other owners or incoming owners. In fact, owners purchasing franchises in 2017 related that Mike Peterson claimed the health of the company was great and no owners had left to that point. As of September, 2018, thirty (30) owners both listed and not listed on the company website are no longer operating and an additional eleven (11) are seeking options for exit…

03/14/2019 filed a lawsuit against its Denver franchisee Garage Force of Denver South, LLC (Ilfrich Integrated Solutions, Inc. et al v. Garage Force of Denver South, LLC et al).  The franchisee filed a counter claim and third party claim alleging concealment, misrepresentation, civil conspiracy and intentional interference against Mike Peterson, Patrick Ilfrey, and Ross Cravens.

The counterclaim states:

Mr. Fessenden… affirmatively states that, upon information and belief, approximately 60 percent of the Garage Force franchisees are defunct or no longer in operation.

Garage Force Claims Only Four Franchises Ceased Operation Between January 2015 – January 2018

In July, 2018, the company issued the Garage Force Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) in which it disclosed that in 2017, four Garage Force franchises had ceased operation.  Garage Force disclosed that 1 franchise had ceased operation in Arizona,  1 ceased operation in Nevada and 2 ceased operation in Pennsylvania.

Garage Force Franchise

When the company submitted the FDD to state franchise registration agencies, CEO Mike Peterson attested to its accuracy.  His signature appears on the statement “I certify and swear under penalty of law that I have read and know the contents of this application, including the Franchise Disclosure Document… and that all material facts stated in all those documents are accurate and those documents do not contain any material omissions…”

Read the entire Garage Force Franchise Disclosure Document here.  The franchise location openings and closing data is located in Item 20:

2018 Garage Force Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)

Garage Force Failures are a Cause for Concern

It’s not exactly clear how many Garage Force franchises have ceased operation, nor whether Mike Peterson and Garage Force failed to disclose all of its franchise failures.

Chris Hall of Forney, TX and Greg Raney of Corpus Christi, TX were disclosed as franchisees in 2016, but disappeared from the list in 2017 (in the 2018 FDD).  Yet there are no Texas ceased operations or transfers disclosed for that year, and their locations still are posted on the website.

Wayne Gwyn of Elko, NV, Patrick McMenamy of Henderson, NV, and Dean Shouse of Pahrump, NV also were disclosed as franchisees in 2016 but disappeared from the list in 2017.  Only 1 Nevada franchise was disclosed as having ceased operation that year.

Franchisors are required to disclose a list the names and contact information for franchisees who left the system in the prior 12 months.  However, we saw no such list for any of the Garage Force FDDs from 2015-2018.

A number of Garage Force franchisees may have left the system in the time since the 2018 FDD was issued (July 13, 2018), either through transfers, ceased operations or other reasons.  We’ve marked their names in RED below.

We identified a number of franchisees who were listed as active franchisees in the 2018 FDD, but whose location no longer seems to be displayed on the company website.  We’ve marked their names in BLUE below.

There are Garage Force franchisees who are both listed in the 2018 FDD and have their locations listed as open on the website, but who are reportedly not active or have an unclear status.  Those owners we’ve marked in ORANGE.

Please help us determine the status of these and the other Garage Force franchisees we suspect have ceased operation or otherwise left the system*.

Franchisee Location 2016 FDD 2017 FDD 2018 FDD On website 4/17/19?
Wayne Gwyn Elko, NV Yes Yes No Yes Owner not in FDD but location is listed on website
Chris Hall Forney, TX No Yes No Yes Non-branded VM.  Owner not in FDD but location is listed on website
Greg Raney Corpus Christi, TX Yes Yes No Yes Owner not in FDD but location is listed on website
Patrick McMenamy Henderson, NV Yes Yes No No Owner not in FDD; Henderson, NV no longer on website
Deon Shouse Pahrump, NV Yes Yes No No Owner not in FDD; Pahrump, NV no longer on website
Jeffrey Coleman Fredonia, WI No Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD, Fredonia, WI not on website
Lawrence Kana Smithville, TX No Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD, Smithville, TX not on website
Joe Meeks Kempner, TX Yes Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Kempner, TX not on website;

Joe Meeks Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed 04/30/2017

Chas Zech Rock Rapids, IA Yes Yes Yes Yes Phone number no longer working. Owner listed in FDD, Location on website
Jason Knight Autryville, NC Yes Yes Yes Yes Owner listed in FDD; Location on website, Reportedly Not operating but listed
Israel Jackson Fayetteville, NC Yes Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website,

Israel Jackson Chapter 13 bankruptcy filed 03/14/2018

Scott Metzdorf Justin, TX No No Yes Yes Owner listed in FDD; Location on website, status unclear
Barry Urich Enola, PA Yes Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website
Doug Verbsky Frisco, TX Yes Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website
Matthew Martinez Harrah, OK No Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website
David Whitten Ardmore, AL No No Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website

Yelp reports closed

Vincent Haro Goodyear, AZ Yes Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website

Yelp reports closed

Patrick Faulkner Atlanta, GA No Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website
Paul Williams Emmett, ID Yes Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website
David Price /

Howard Barnett

Midwest City, OK No No Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website
Karl Hackman La Crosse, WI No No Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Location not on website
Dave Fessenden Parker, CO Yes Yes Yes No Owner listed in FDD; Parker, CO address not on website

Franchisee is currently in litigation with the franchisor

* This information is pieced together from public sources and private tips and is posted for discussion purposes.  Please independently verify.  Franchise businesses should be assumed to be open and operating.  Support Garage Force and other franchisees with your business!



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TAGS: Garage Force, Garage Force franchise, floor coating franchise, Ilfrich Integrated Solutions, Michael J. Peterson, Patrick J. Ilfrey, Citadel Floor Finishing Systems, Rust-Oleum, Mike Ilfrey,  Garage Force International, attorney Ryan R. Palmer, Gray Plant Mooty, Roger Hackman, Sam Peterson, Garage Force franchise opportunity

5 thoughts on “Is GARAGE FORCE Hiding Franchise Failures?

  • Rob Gabrielson

    I have been trying to get out for the last year. I have been an owner since 2015, about the 5th one to be exact. I have talked to most of the owners and previous owners at one point or another. I own Houston and we have not operated for almost a year.

  • I was currently interested in purchasing this franchise. After reading these article I looked at the current list of owners and as of 10/12/20 one 1 of those listed on this article are currently listed. But there are now 55 currently listed franchise locations. I cross referenced by the location not the owner name so I am not 100% positive these owners are no longer owners. I have recently started communication, they sent me a new video explaining there company and did mention that they have had resent company restructuring over the past year. They are calling it Garage Force 2.0. They mentioned “lazy owners” being weeded out. (Their words not mine) Does anyone have any other information that could help me to avoid a mistake? I have a meeting with them on Friday 10/16/20. I would really like more ammo for my questions. I am not super confident about sale of the patented product to a major company like Rust-Oleum.

  • Scihte

    International Franchise Professionals Group heavily promotes this franchise. As with the bulk of the franchises in their portfolio of brands this is another that they likely have not vetted nor understand much about. Proceed with extensive caution on any franchise promoted by this broker group and others who in large part out of desperation are joining these broker groups due to poor franchise sales. For a few hundred dollars it pays to have a franchise attorney who works on behalf of potential franchisees and franchisees to help with the due diligence necessary to fully understand the churning if any and the FDD.

  • I am evaluating GF, and based on what I’m seeing I should stop. Derek – your last post in October states you were looking, can you contact me and let me know what you ended up doing?

  • Dont do it

    If you are thinking about buying a franchise from this franchisor, RUN~ Mike is a liar. He calls himself a Godly man, but this is just a Ponzi scheme that only benefits Mike. He will tell you are getting product at reduced prices, and you WONT. Get a lawyer to look over the contract and ask for the FDD before you even do discovery day. Get a lawyer who has the guts to go after Mike for every person he has hurt over the last 14 years. Once a person signs the contract they have signed a deal with the devil. If you’re a lawyer and you’re reading this, have some courage and put aside your retainer fee and pursue this man with everything you have.

    Many of these people have gone bankrupt. Sometimes Mike will sell territory that people cannot get a license to do business in that state then they are stuck. Mike has it set so if you finally figure out that you will never make money that he will rotate another owner in and do it all over again. Mike has sold territory that the former owners have not released to new owners. He has let owners who have been unable to sell their business sit for many years without helping them. This man doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

    The contract is an arbitrator. Which means you have one time to pursue legal action in the courts. It’s a panel of 3 which triples the cost. It exempts the corporate officers. Which means Pat or Mike cannot be sued. Judgement can only be against the entity. If someone does win in the arbitration, they are legally bound to not share information with other owners. Hence, why no failed franchises show up on the FDD. Even if it shows systematic wrongdoing to others. Think about that, purposefully sitting across the table from new potential owners and lying to them about if they will make money. Knowing that they won’t. SICK! People handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars to this man not knowing he has screwed so many owners before them. He prays on people believing he thinks like them. He doesn’t. Sociopaths have no empathy for others.

    Take what has been written on this page seriously! Each owner faces terrible financial situations while Mike and Pat sit in comfort. They will tell you the owners are lazy and blame them for the failure. He will tell them to send their financials to him so he can help them knowing it’s a bad business model. These men deserve to be found out and a good attorney who is rich enough and doesn’t care about the cost needs to take these men on. Please find orange jumpsuits for them! Do these hidden owners justice. Bring them down.

    Mike you need help! How do you sleep at night? You will be held accountable for your actions one day. If not here in the next when you stand before Almighty God.

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