The History of the Aircraft Wash Guys, Part Two
The continuation of the history of a small service franchise business in the aviation sector; whose humble beginnings began in the middle of a recession. This proves that anything is possible and that with enough will and entrepreneurial spirit no matter what the condition of your industry sector, you can succeed in America. Now then to continue the saga; Twelve year old Lance Winslow, the founder is almost twenty years old and is making a name for himself at several local airports. It is still a long road ahead but slowly the journey progresses like it has for countless young entrepreneurs before him. We continue:
One day when Lance sold an aircraft to Dave, who Founded The LA Title Company (A Real Estate and Title Company) The gentleman had worked for California Land and Title Company for ten years prior and he took a interesting in the self motivated young man. Lance and Dave talked about franchising and a possible partnership to franchise the business. Both loved the idea, Lance because it was his dream and Dave because he loved the aircraft washing services, which he contracted through Lance after he bought the plane from him. One day after having lunch in Lance's office they started doodling on a napkin the basic idea for the franchise in aircraft washing. The Founder of LA Title company liked the synergy of aircraft sales and aircraft washing for built in clientele. They also discussed washing cars and trucks, but Lance had barely gotten a driver's license so he could finally drive off the airport onto a public street although he had picked up some juicy accounts already.
Later he changed the name of the business to Aero-Auto Wash to encompass all types of washing, from Aircraft to Cars. At that time we washed for Evergreen Airlines, Evergreen Airspur, Offshore Oil Helicopter Companies, GTE Flight Services, FBOs, Jet Charters, Fractional Jet Companies, Flight Schools, Flying Clubs, Confederate Airforce, Civil Air Patrol, FBI, Military, Air National Guard, US Air Force, FAA Certified Repair Stations, Commuter Airlines, Air Ambulance Services, Air Charter and countless general aviation private owners with everything from EAA Biplanes to Aerostar 601s.
Lance even washed for Mr. Delorean, several movie stars and many founders of large companies; one of the coolest jobs around. Lance found synergies in the different washing businesses. Someone who owned an airplane most likely owned a business, was a farmer, high-ranking executive and if not certainly knew others who were. Thus built in clientele in nearly every industry and after flying around all over California he noticed things on the ground that needed his services. Mr. Winslow still uses aerial pictures and mapping to target accounts to this day.
The business plan on a napkin franchising idea lay dormant from 1985 to until 1993 when Lance went to go re-visit the Founder of LA Title at his Burbank, CA corporate high rise office building. Lance was ready to go for his dream and needed to get some venture capital about 1-2 million. At that time the Founder of LA Title was not interested seeing the enormity of such an undertaking and instead provided Lance with his expertise and advice for free and a confidential copy of the LA Title Business Plan for Lance to review and use to help him devise a winning business plan. Lance searched around for venture capital for about a year and gave up in disgust, venture capitalists were too dumb to understand the incredible opportunity in the marketplace; he thought. To compound things they did not think a guy who left school could handle such an undertaking. Lance had quit college to run the expanding business. He felt college was superficial and that he had more experience and a better sense of reality than the textbooks of yester year being taught by Professors who had never actually run a business of any kind. By that time Lance had been operating in many other industries such as Agriculture Cleaning, Concrete Cleaning, Fleet Washing, Auto Detailing, Car Washing and of course Aviation.
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Lance was looking to take all his knowledge and bring it to the market on a big scale starting in California and then the Sun Belt States and eventually into Europe. Without any success in finding venture capital, Lance continued his business, got into politics and at nights, sometimes all night writing up plans to fulfill his mission. Spending countless sleepless nights writing over 1 million words into manuals, marketing plans, Business Plans, etc. he was convinced that he had to move forward. Lance Winslow's business plan got so big 400 plus pages that he could not even call it a business plan anymore and named it FranPlan. During this time Lance also became involved in motorcycle street racing, the speed did not bother him much, so he did quite well. Lance also got into trouble for flying under a bridge although his friend an FAA Examiner gave him a warning, "If you ever try anything like that again, I'll have you thrown in jail, now get the hell out of here!!"
End Part II