Do you have access to empty space on a golf course, bowling alley, tennis club, or some other sport related location? You may have just enough space to set up your own franchise.
Tim McCormack had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. After spending 12 years in the education industry, he felt it was time to make that leap. That is when he decided to launch a batting cage business. Unfortunately, the business did not take off in the way that he had hoped.
It was the 4th of July when he had his next inspiring moment. He noticed people playing sand volley ball and his mind began to work. How could he turn that into a business? After doing the necessary research, he created Thunder Beach.
Wherever there is an interest in volley ball, there is the potential for business success. With the franchise opportunity, the right entrepreneur could bring this to his or her own neighborhood.
I recently spoke with Tim about his business and the inspiration behind it.
Tell us a little about Thunder Beach.
Ever since I was a paper boy slinging newspapers on peoples porches, I have always wanted to own my own business. It wasnâ€™t until much later in life after I taught school for 4 years and an elementary principal for 8 years that I actually made the decision to go into business for myself. Like most entrepreneurs, I wanted to a lot of the toys that many of my students parents had, new cars, a larger home in a beautiful neighborhood and the opportunity to earn a big salary and have only myself to answer too.
Like most entrepreneurs that start a business, I thought that just because I was a customer of a business, I could be an owner of a similar business, run it better, make more money and grow that business into a chain of businesses. So after 12 years in the education business I left and started my first business, a batting cage business.
Educators do not make a lot of money, so like most entrepreneurs, I borrowed money from my family, earned an additional bank loan, and soon realized that I was going to have to cut down my original plans due to a lack of funding. So instead of buying a pre engineered batting cage facility, I bought the rights to the sprinkler pipe in the ceiling from a 5 story building that was being torn down. I would through a rope over the pipe in the ceiling , wrapped the rope around my waist and then jump up and down until I broke the strap holding the pipe and the weight on the remaining row of pipe would cause the pipe to break and fall to the floor. Everything was great until the fifths floor. I jumped up and down again and again the strap didnâ€™t break, so I started to move around the room to change directions and get a better angle. Suddenly, I fell through the floor and dangles between the 4th and 5th floor, being squeezed like a ketchup bottle. My trucker friend on the first floor ran up five flights of stairs and he pulled me back up through the floor until I was safe. This should have forewarned me of what was to come, lack of planning and lack of capital to implement your business plan can kill both you and your business.
After building out my batting cage business, I opened the doors with a lot of hoopla.
Business was descent, but not producing the revenue that the batting cage sales materials said that it would. I began to panic. Overhead and labor costs were killing me. What is an entrepreneur supposed to do? Find a way to increase sales! Looking around my business, I realized I had property just north of my batting cages that I was paying for, but not using. I decided to look into what business I could add on to this property to help shore up revenues. I didnâ€™t want to make the same mistakes I had made previously, so I went out to find more capital and to get ideas from friends on what to add. I was out at a friends cabin on the 4th of July and people where down on the beach playing sand volleyball and everyone was having a great time. I wondered what it would cost to put in a few courts and do sand volleyball leagues? No one in Nebraska was doing anything like that. I did my due diligence, talked with the high schools and college coaches, the singles clubs and churches and of course, everyone thought it was a great idea, so I put in 6 sand volleyball courts. I did it exactly like people told me to. I had referees, great lighting, deep sand, picnic tables, etc. No one showed up to play!!! At least not enough people. Once again I was faced with the dilemma. What to do?
This wasnâ€™t what I had experienced out at the cabin, there wasnâ€™t a lot of fun and people were constantly arguing with the refs about a ball being in or out of the lines. I thought to myself, if I am going to go broke, at least I going to have a little fun. I got rid of the refs, wrote up my own rule book, changed the names of the levels of play, went door to door recruiting teams, talked to my friends who owned bars and suddenly I went from 50 teams to three hundred teams. The beginning the second year I had 300 teams and in summer I had 500 teams. And so the story goes. Over the next 24 years I built 10 sand volleyball complexes in 3 states. Going back to my paper boy days, and my dream to own my own business, I now set my sites a little higher. I wanted to franchise my business and so I began selling off my business to get enough money to franchise my business.
What inspired it?
Necessity! The need to find an additional profit center that I could put in that would not cost me an arm and a leg and that had great potential for a significant ROI (return on investment).
When did you first launch the company? When did you begin franchising?
After 24 years in the out door sand volleyball business I started to plan my Thunder Beach Franchise in 2005 and I launched the Thunder Beach Franchise Business in 2010.
What are your requirements?
Pass background check. Have the will to succeed. Decent credit references. Join our Family of entrepreneurs and operate the programs by our operations manual. Costs, depends upon how large a complex a location can handle. A small complex can be as little as $34,000 with a larger complex costing as much as $180,000
Do you have any goals that you’d like to accomplish over the next year or so?
I would like to sell 10 franchises in 2010 and after that it is Katie bar the door.
What are some lessons that your business has taught you?
Buy a franchise! Get someone who has been there and done that and who can help you avoid a lot of the mistakes.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
You do not need to have ever played volleyball or soccer to become a great franchisee. A great franchisee can be anyone who want to earn a good living and control their own destiny. You must be willing to work and you must be able to sell using our proven marketing materials.
Do you know of a driving range, bowling center, golf course, tennis club, indoor soccer center, gym, health club, roller skating rink, water park, miniature golf course, family fun center, softball complex, sports bar, restaurant, or any other business in your neighborhood that has land in front of, behind, or next to it that they are not using, or that they are under utilizing? If you do, it just might be the perfect place for you to add on a Thunder Beach franchise. You ought to check it out to see how much land is available at 402-932-8882
What sets Thunder Beach apart from everyone else is the Thunder Beach franchise structure, discipline and standardization of operating procedures.
Canâ€™t Anyone Build a Sports Complex?
While it is true that anyone can build a complex, no one does it like Thunder Beach. From our layout and design team to our project engineer and construction manager, from our complex and game rules to the way we recruit and run our programs, Thunder Beach is an up to date, software driven, innovative and trend-setting franchise.
Our call center will take all registrations for each franchisee and provide them proposed league and tournament schedules to run their programs. Thunder Beach Is A â€œTurn Key” Franchise with tremendous ongoing support
Do you have any advice that you’d like to offer potential franchisees?
Donâ€™t procrastinate! Round up some friends and bring them in as a partner, they can keep their day jobs and you can run the franchise. A couple of years from no you can hire someone to run the complex or expand.