I wanted to open a business that made money and really helped people. Inches a Weigh seemed to be the perfect opportunity. I left a 6 figure sales job and sunk everything I had into the business. I asked all the right questions but fell for slick answers.
I purchased an Inches A Weigh Licensing AGreement in 2001. I opened in June 2001 and closed in February of 2003, less than 2 years. If you are considering entering into this business venture, I urge you to please read this information.
The reason that IAW is a Licensing Agreement and not a Franchise is because franchises are required by law to disclose information on number of units, past litigation, and recently closed units. Since that information would end any future sales of IAW agreements, the licensing agreement provides a great way to avoid disclosure. Since Inches A Weigh was a troubled franchise previously, offering it as a franchise again would possibly raise questions from the FTC. No matter what you are told, THAT is the reason for a licensing agreement.
I recently learned of an Inches a Weigh in metro Atlanta that had been open a few months. They were never told of my center that had closed 4 years earlier and another center that closed 3 years earlier. When I contacted them, they were already struggling and had figured out that they needed to make drastic changes in the business model to survive. I figured that out too but I had been open 18 months, had never paid myself a penny insalary and had burned up over $100,000.
Don't trust my story. Ask for the real information you need. Tell them that you want a list of centers open less than 1 year, a list of those open 3-5 years and those open 5-10 years. Most importantly, ask for a list of centers that have closed in the last 10 years. Get contact information and CALL THEM. No matter what excuse or slick answer you get, do not give them your money without that information. I personally have names and contact information for former owners in NJ,MA,NC,FL,OH,MI,GA,VA,OR,AZ,MN and often more than 1 in each state. So if they tell you they don't have any closures, don't believe it. The vast majority of these people are smart, previously successful, hard working and people of great integrity who really did want to find a business that would help people. My equipment was sold to 2 different new owners and both have already closed.
The Directors of Training, Marketing and Operations and the Grand Opening Trainer may be long time members of the organization but do not offer the level of professionalism, education or experience you will find in cutting edge operations. Ask yourself why there are not links to centers around the country or a "find the center nearest you" from the main web site. I pushed for this in 2001. Whether it is that the company is way behind the times or that they don't want you to know that the number of units doesn't increase substantially from year to year because they close almost as many as they open or that removing the clsoed centers would be a full time position, it is an indication of a problem. The web site has essentially been the same since 2001. How many progressive national companies positioned for future growth have the same web presence today as they did in 2001? Oh, they did add "7 Reasons why IAW is the Starbucks of the weight loss industry." I can give you 100 why IAW isn't!
Don't make the mistake I and many others have made. Do not fall for the smooth talk and evasive answers. Get everything in wiriting and get the info on those centers, both open and closed. Even if you are sure you are smarter, and more creative and a better business person than all the previous owners, you can't go wrong getting black and white facts and figures to back up the slick sales pitch.