PLANET BEACH Franchise Warning

Planet Beach Franchise Warning has been issued by

Planet Beach Franchising Corporation has issed a response to our franchise warning here: 

PLANET BEACH Responds to UnhappyFranchisee.Com Franchise Warning.
[Originally published July 9, 2012)

Are you considering investing in a Planet Beach Contempo Spa franchise? urges you to investigate fully and proceed with caution.  Please hire a competent and unbiased industry attorney or professional to assist with your due diligence.

Are you familiar with the Planet Beach franchise opportunity or do you own a Planet Beach franchise?  Please share your opinion and experiences – good or bad – with a comment below.

Why has issued a Franchise Warning for the Planet Beach franchise?  There are several reasons.

Planet Beach Franchise Owners Have an Unacceptably High SBA Loan Default Rate of 57%.

The Planet Beach franchise has one of the worst SBA loan default rates in the industry.

A report released in 2012 by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) indicated that 57% of the Planet Beach franchise owners who were granted SBA guaranteed loans were unable to repay those loans.  The actual failure rate of Planet Beach franchises may be higher than 57%, as it could be assumed that those with SBA loans were better better qualified and better financed than those without SBA financing.

Tanning salon franchises as a group demonstrated alarmingly high SBA franchise loan default rates on the 2012 list, including the Planet Beach franchise (57%), Image Sun franchise (70%), Executive Tans franchise (81% ) and Hollywood Tans franchise (37%).

The Planet Beach Franchise Chain is Closing Centers at an Alarming Rate

According to the Planet Beach’s listing in Entrepreneur magazine, the number of Planet Beach franchises operating in the U.S. has declined by 34% since 2008.  While this reflects an overall decline of 128 Planet Beach franchises, it is likely that more than 128 franchises have ceased operation.

[CHART] The Shrinking Planet Beach Franchise Chain

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
# of Planet Beach US Franchises 375 361 302 267 247
Difference from prior year -14 -59 -35 -20

Source: Entrepreneur

Planet Beach Franchise Marketing is Misleading has reviewed the Planet Beach franchise marketing literature and the Planet Beach Franchise Disclosure Document.

The Planet Beach “Franchise Report 2012” states:

The first tanning spa — and the spas that followed — were an overnight success. The Planet Beach franchise system grew to several hundred locations and many foreign countries. Today, there are over 340 franchise units in 38 states and 9 foreign countries. The company is still based in New Orleans and the original uptown location is still posting great numbers.

Planet Beach is attempting to paint a picture of steady growth, when the reality is that their system has been in decline since 2008.  It is a bright red flag that the Planet Beach FDD lists 272 US and foreign locations, yet the Planet Beach digital brochure (which can be easily updated) claims there are 340 total franchise units.

Industry statistics in the brochure are outdated, reflecting industry sales numbers and growth from before the economic downturn.

In the past year, the Planet Beach stopped providing average gross sales in its Item 19 Financial Performance section of the FDD, and now only provides sales data on its top grossing salons.  In its “Franchise Report 2012,” it’s pretty obvious that Planet Beach is trying to feed franchise buyers’ inclinations to focus on unrealistic, best-case scenarios:

How Much Can I Make?

Quite frankly, it’s up to you.

Nobody wakes up in the morning and says to themselves “I want to be average today,” yet

most people focus on averages when they research buying a franchise.

Average is average…

We want people who see themselves as potential top-producers and can’t wait to break our records.

If you want to be above average, we can tell you how.

In other words, Planet Beach wants unrealistic dreamers who will not be prepared for average or below-average sales.

Planet Beach Franchise Lawsuits

Perhaps as a result of the warning factors stated above, the Planet Beach Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) lists quite a bit of franchise litigation it is required to disclose.

It’s important to note that if your franchise fails before the end of your contract, the franchisor may sue you for future royalties you would have paid had you remained open.  Failing franchisees often sue their franchisor.  It seems Planet Beach has had lawsuits of both kinds.

Here are some excerpts:

Pending Litigation

Planet Beach Franchising Corporation v. David and Rachel Marsh (No. 12-cv-0045l, United Slates

District for the Eastern District of Louisiana).On February 17. 2012. Planet Beach Franchising

Corporation filed suit against David and Rachel Marsh seeking damages arising out of a Single Unit

Franchise Agreement. PBFC alleged, inter alia, that David and Rachel Marsh breached their obligation to

make monthly royalty payments. PBFC also alleged that David and Rachel Marsh abandoned their Spa

and opened a new spa in the same territory, in direct violation of the covenant not to compete. Finally.

PBFC alleged that the Marshes had misappropriated confidential customer data and other proprietary

business information owned by PBFC- PBFC sought $221.894.31 in monetary damages, in addition to

attorney’s fees and costs due under the contract. PBFC also sought a preliminary and permanent

injunction, barring the Marshes from operating a competing spa or misappropriating PBFC’s confidential

or proprietary information. As of the date this summary was prepared, the Marshes had been served with

a copy of the complaint but had not filied responsive pleadings.


Planet Beach Franchising Corporation v. Michael Daubney lAAA AAA-No. 69 114 54 12). On March 7.

2012. Planet Beach Franchising Corporation sent a Demand for Arbitration to Michael Daubnev pursuant

to an arbitration agreement contained in a Single Unit Franchise Agreement- PBFC alleged in its demand

that Mr. Daubnev had failed to remit monthly royalties and fees due under the contract. PBFC sought an

award of monetary damages, in addition to attomey’s fees and costs. As of the time this summary was

prepared, no file number had been assigned by the American Arbitration Association, and Mr. Daubney

had not responded to PBFC’s arbitration demand.
Past Litigation

Planet Beach Franchising Corporation v. Domenick and Allison Siciliano (No, ll-cv-02634. United

States District Couit for the Eastern District of Louisiana). On November 20. 2011. Planet Beach

Franchising Corporation filed suit against Domenick and Allison Siciliano seeking damages for breach of

a Single Unit Franchise Agreement. PBFC alleged, inter alia, that the Sicilianos’ had failed to

honor their obligation to make monthly royalty payments. PBFC later learned that the Sicilianos had

illegally transferred their salon/spa to a third party with the assistance of a national broker known as R.D.

Cessna and Associates. PBFC sought a judgment equal to the amount of all past and future royalties due

through the end of the contractual term, in addition to attorney’s fees and costs. On March 3. 2012. The

Sicilianos agreed to enter into a consent judgment and pay PBFC S35,0O0.
James R. Barnhill and Lara Bamhill v. Planet Beach Franchising Corporation (No. 04 CVS 011235,

Superior Court Division in Wake County, State of North Carolina). On August 12, 2004, our franchisees,

Mr. and Mrs. Bamhill filed an action in which they alleged breach of contract and specific performance

arising from a purported award by PBFC of an Area Representative Agreement to the Bamhills. On

November 24, 2004, Mr. and Mrs. Bamhill dismissed the action without prejudice. Thereafter, on or

about December 7 of 2004, the parties reached an amicable resolution in which PBFC awarded Mr. and

Mrs. Bamhill an Area Representative Agreement and granted them an option to acquire an additional

franchise at a discoimted price.

Other actions (See FDD for details and many more lawsuits):
Planet Beach Franchising Corporation v. James Barnhill et. ux.. (No. 68909-5-N in the 24ih Judicial

District Court. Parish of Jefferson. State of Louisiana).

Steadman Concepts. Inc. v. Planet Beach Franchising Corporation (No. 2:09-cv-07008-CJB-JC\V In the

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana).


James and Lara Barnhill v. Planet Beach Franchising Corporation (AAA No. 69 114 00132 10).
Michael and Sukie Chappuis v. Planet Beach Franchising Corporation; (No. 689880-G in the 24th judicial

District Court. Parish of Jefferson. State of Louisiana).
Seller and Associates, L.L.C. and Michelle Seller, individually and d/b/a Planet Beach West Esplanade v.

Stephen P. Smith. Nancy Price, Richard L. Juka, Planet Beach Franchising Corporation.
Bryce and Neda Burk v. Planet Beach Franchising Corporatiom (No. 017-190429-01, 17th District Court,

Tarrant County, Texas).
Melissa Smith. Bumell Smith and Vita Amoure. L.L.C. v. Planet Beach Franchising Corporation? (No.

366-02108-01, 366th District Court, Collin County, Texas).
Jeffrey A. Brewer, individually. Bert R. Struck, individually. Robert F. Struck, individually and Sun

King. L.L.C. v. Planet Beach Franchising Corporation and Planet Beach Tanning Salon Inc., Stephen P.

Smith and Ronald Simmons (No.CV0406488, Circuit Court of Jefferson County, State of Alabama).



Also read: 

PLANET BEACH Responds to UnhappyFranchisee.Com Franchise Warning

Tanning Salon Franchises Among Riskiest Franchise Investments

PLANET BEACH Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDD) UPDATED

11 thoughts on “PLANET BEACH Franchise Warning

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  • Donna Chissell

    I purchased an unlimited hydration and tanning package for a month on January 23, 2014 from the Planet Beach Franchise at 14221 – 23 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta Canada – for approx.. $199.00 cdn. I have been going to this salon off and on for 5 years. They knew my short time frame prior to leaving on vacation and guaranteed me I could use up the rest of my package upon my return to keep my tan “fresh” looking, knowing I would be away for 2 weeks the time frame I was gone would be taken into consideration.

    I was able to use 3 sessions of the hydration bed for 20 min and 8 min stand up tanning sessions (January 23, 26 & 27), when I went to my appointment on January 30 the doors were locked with a sign stating we were to go to a different location (under no circumstances does it stat each company is independently owned and DO NOT honor store to store services!!!!) We were leaving on vacation so I could not look into anything until I returned.

    Upon returning from vacation I called to make an appointment for Hydration as I had ALREADY PAID, the phone number is no longer in service so I called another Planet Beach Salon in Edmonton (one that the franchise listed on their door we should go to as they are closed), this is when I found out each store in independently owned and do not honour store to store services, I was told sorry nothing they can do. Very very angry, no notice was given to any of their loyal customers they were permanently closing their doors.

    My husband is a long time business owner in Edmonton, I have worked in very large & small corporations – never in my life time have I seen or received such poor, uncaring, disrespectful customer service.

    Planet Beach Mission and Values………
    We want to change the way the world rejuvenates!
    For the benefit of our customers and the communities we serve, we will remain dedicated to the continued success of each Planet Beach® franchise.
    Our franchise locations will provide superior customer service an inspiring, alternative atmosphere.
    Planet Beach® will deliver premier wellness, relaxation, UV therapy, sunless and skin rejuvenation services. At the push of a button, our members will enjoy a private spa experience at the fraction of the cost…and in far less time than a day spa.
    We believe in five core values that shape everything we do at Planet Beach® and we strive to follow them each and every day.
    Good PEOPLE who BELIEVE in the system that work with INTEGRITY and have the FOCUS to accomplish GOALS.

    You have let down many customers at this franchise, especially myself.
    Planet Beach
    14221 – 23 Avenue,
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Donna Chissell

  • Ted Unseth

    I have been with Planet Beach for 10 years as an employee, Franchisee, and now a Regional Developer. I’m invested a lot into this brand. Some of the stuff I have read is absolute ridiculous.

    My spa was ranked 286 when I was hired. This is what I accomplished with this business model. I owned multiple locations and was the only franchisee to have the top 2 performing spas for almost 5 years. Planet Beach never stopped me from going to work everyday, Planet Beach never stopped me from Hiring the staff I wanted. Planet Beach never stopped me from selling or transferring my locations.

    Today I’m a Regional Developer. Not everyday as a business owner is sunshine and rainbows. I would love to talk to any current franchisees to understand where the disconnect is. Anytime I ever needed anything I can’t think of ONE TIME Planet Beach didn’t try to help me.

    This concept offers a unique selling point where customers can do spa services as much as they want. The goal is to put the client on a regime that helps them with there personal goals. You have to learn the concept. That is any business you start. Nobody is going to care more about your business than You. What I accomplished is not luck. I got in my car and drove to my spas and wanted to learn.

    The key to this model is staffing and training. If that is not your strength then HIRE SOMEONE TO DO IT. Planet Beach offers online education before anybody starts. I take 2 hours a week to interview. I’m always looking for the best people. I always have people taking the online courses. I do that because life happens. If I have a list of resumes and they have completed our courses then I pick up the phone and call them.

    I have looked at other concepts. Planet Beach has the systems in place. I would say they have to much before not enough to help a Franchisee. If I was to start over I would have invested in Planet Beach. The Franchisor is always looking into the way the market evolves. They are always looking for the next big thing to help us current franchisees. This Brand started as a tanning salon franchise. Today there a full out spa concept that offers UV if you want to provide it.

    I honestly feel Planet Beach’s best days are ahead.

  • Laura ****

    Planet Beach Fails to properly register as selling franchises in Utah. Consumer Protection Complaints flying off about now… Hmm… This should prove to be interesting …

  • Franchise Executive

    Franchisors are exempt from Business Opportunity registration in Utah if they have complied with the FTC Franchise Rule.

  • Franchise Executive

    Franchisors do need to file a notice of exemption with the State of Utah.

    There is no fee to file.

  • Ted Unseth: Could you please get in contact with me. Several years ago I inquired about a franchise in Chino Hills. Life events kept me from pursuing. I know find my self both a consumer of “tanning” and the spa treatments/therapy Planet if offering. However, I had to leave that area and start over and there are no Planet Beach anywhere near, and there are many businesses (tanning/spa) that try. None of them have captured my business and none of them are like PB. Anyway I can get ahold of information for new locations? Thank you.. SB

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