Stratus Building Solutions has been the darling of franchise hype-machine Entrepreneur magazine in recent years.
In the 2012 33rd Annual Franchise 500 list, Entrepreneur ranked the janitorial franchise #12 among ALL franchises.
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Yes, Entrepreneur ranked (what some have called) a thinly veiled Ponzi scheme out of St. Louis right up there with McDonald’s, Hampton Hotels, Pizza Hut and Subway.
It ranked the little-known Stratus higher such household names as KFC, Dairy Queen, Hardee’s, and Papa John’s to name a few.
In fact, in 2012, Entrepreneur positioned Stratus Building Solutions as the only top franchise that most people could afford.
Less than a year later, Stratus Building Solutions no longer appears on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500.
Entrepreneur Has Unashamedly Promoted the Stratus Franchise Scheme
Bad franchise companies like Stratus Building Solutions rely on seemingly legitimate publications like Entrepreneur to provide them with the phony credibility they need to sell lots of franchises.
Here’s the list of accolades Entrepreneur has heaped on Stratus Building Solutions since 2009 [source: Entrepreneur.Com]:
Franchise Ranking History [Stratus Building Solutions]
Franchise 500®: #12 (2012), #20 (2011), #13 (2010), #38 (2009),
Fastest-Growing: #1 (2012), #1 (2011), #3 (2010), #4 (2009),
Low-Cost: #2 (2012), #5 (2011), #5 (2010), #7 (2009),
Top New: #1 (2010), #3 (2009),
Top Home-Based: #2 (2012), #6 (2011), #4 (2010), #6 (2009),
America’s Top Global: #11 (2012), #18 (2011), #11 (2010), #33 (2009),
In addition, Entrepreneur has published the unsubstantiated and highly unlikely claim that Stratus Building Solutions had 5,131 franchises in 2011.
In court documents, Stratus execs didn’t claim anywhere near that number. Where did Entrepreneur get its inflated numbers?
UnhappyFranchisee.Com Protested Stratus’s Franchise 500 Ranking
Since May, 2012, UnhappyFranchisee.com has been urging Entrepreneur to stop promoting the Stratus Building Solutions franchise in their widely publicized rankings.
We sent them a detailed letter documenting the damage Entrepreneur was doing by promoting this troubled and troubling franchise:
We sent them links to the myriad horror stories and lawsuits caused by Stratus Building Solutions:
LA FRANQUICIA DE STRATUS es una Estafa, Acuerdoa Abogado March 6, 2012
STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS Franchise Class Action Lawsuit Filed August 13, 2011
STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS Franchise Lawsuits Ahead? February 1, 2012
STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS: Markeeta Rivera’s Franchise Horror Story February 1, 2012
We tried to appeal to Editor-in-Chief Amy C. Cosper and President Ryan Shea by sharing comments like this one:
Zurab Kvantrishvili Submitted on 2012/06/07 at 9:39 pm
Before I bought this franchise I researched information everywhere, and one of the reason we paid $17 000 for it was that Entrepreneur ranking. If Stratus didn’t had such a high ranking I would never trusted them with all my life savings. When I spoke to John Coleman (one of the master Franchisor in Philadelphia Stratus Building Solution) and asked him to return my money back or I would take him to the court, he laughed at my face and this is his exact words: ”Please, who’s going to believe you? we are ranked as number #1 cleaning franchise by entrepreneur nationwide. You will waste more money on the lawyer” . I really want to believe that Entrepreneur will take Stratus Building Solution out of their ranking. Please, don’t let them scam more hard working people!
None of that swayed Editor Amy Cosper or President Ryan Shea from continuing to promote this toxic franchise opportunity for another 7 months.
Amy Cosper responded:
We have looked into this and until Stratus Building Solutions is found guilty in a court of law, we will not be de-listing them. Also, please note disclaimers throughout the listing.
Thank you for your feedback.
Amy Cosper VP/Editor in chief
Entrepreneur President Ryan Shea wrote:
We publish the franchise 500 Rankings every year in January so we will take the lawsuits against them into account when we calculate and create our 2013 Franchise 500 rankings.
So the collapsing Stratus Building Solutions got to enjoy another 7 months as Entrepreneur’s 12th highest ranked franchise, even as its Master Franchisees fled the system and shed the Stratus name like a snake sheds its skin.
Stratus Building Solutions is MIA From the 2013 Franchise 500.
So did Entrepreneur finally do the responsible thing and remove Stratus Building Solutions from its Franchise 500 rankings?
Or was Stratus Building Solutions too exhausted from fighting lawsuits and waving goodbye to its Master Franchisees to submit the necessary paperwork?
We asked Entrepreneur President Ryan Shea, who replied:
We are not going to comment either way.
Ryan Shea , President, Entrepreneur Media, Inc.
Actually, we don’t blame Ryan for not answering.
If word ever got around that Entrepreneur was starting to penalize franchisors simply because their franchisees were failing, that lawsuits were flying, and their Master Franchisees were de-branding and walking away from their investments in disgust, Mr. Shea might risk offending a very lucrative and highly valued segment of Entrepreneur advertisers.
Without them, he might have to rename his big moneymaker the Entrepreneur Franchise 75.
ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY OR THE ENTREPRENEUR FRANCHISE 500?
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Tags: Entrepreneur magazine, Entrepreneur 500, Franchise 500, Amy Cosper, Ryan Shea, Stratus Building Solutions, Stratus franchise, janitorial franchise, franchise scam, franchise lawsuits, unhappy franchisee