Wrapping it up, fast | nnbw.com

Wrapping it up, fast

John Seelmeyer

Mike Enos and Ken Cassas figure they have a year, maybe a year and a half, before their Reno-based Fast Wrap LLC faces the emergence of significant competition.

Their strategy: Be so far along with their plan to sell 500 franchises nationwide within the next 60 months that potential competitors simply can’t catch up.

It’s a big goal for a company that so far has sold four franchises one of them in Reno and has eight licensed locations ready to convert to franchises.

Fast Wrap’s franchise owners take vans filled with rolls of shrink-wrap and related equipment to customers’ locations, where they shrink-wrap anything from boats and patio furniture to industrial equipment to provide protection against the elements.

While shrink-wrapping has been undertaken by manufacturers to protect boats and other products during shipping, and while the service is available at some marinas, Enos says Fast Wrap’s van are the first to provide mobile service.

In fact, the sight of a truck loaded with shrink-wrapped boats got Enos thinking about the business a few years ago, but he was busy building a portable restroom business in Reno.

He sold the porta-potty business in mid-2006 and tried retirement for about nine months. Bored with retirement, he got in touch with Cassas, who’d built and sold a temporary fencing business.

Cassas and Enos personally bankrolled the company’s development.

Together, the two nailed down a strategic partnership with Dr. Shrink Inc., a Michigan manufacturer of shrink-wrap materials and tools. The manufacturer agreed to make a special green-colored wrap exclusively for Fast Wrap.

Next, Enos and Cassas turned to The iFranchise Group of Homewood, Ill., for guidance through the torturous process of developing franchise-sales documents that meet the standards of the Federal Trade Commission.

“We call it ‘buying the learning curve,'” says Enos. Even with the experts’ help, Fast Wrap’s owners needed more than a year to get the franchise groundwork in place.

In the meantime, they set up eight licensed sales operations from Denver to Spokane to iron out the system and provide solid data for potential franchisees. Now that the franchise-disclosure documentation is in place, those stores will be converted to franchisees.

Franchises, which will require an average investment of $141,000, will be targeted toward owner-operators, says Enos.

They’ll get marketing support and training from the company’s Reno headquarters, as well the ability to tap into the experience of other franchisees.

Potential franchisees learn about Fast Wrap from one of the Web sites that list franchise opportunities or through company-sponsored “Opportunity Days.” In its sales pitch, the company says sales shouldn’t be affected by economic downturns because many of the items protected by shrink-wrapping boats, RVs and the like are toys purchased by high-end consumers.

Fast Wrap LLC plans to sell 120 franchises by 2010, and it’s building a staff currently 10 people in Reno along with a half dozen at field locations to support the growth. The company is headquartered at 4690 Longley Lane.

Cassas says the entrepreneurs aren’t concerned that the company will grow too quickly.

“It’s never too fast,” he says.