How did you get into the industry?
The story is simple…. I was an electrician by trade, that’s how I made my living. However, I always had a passion for gaming…I love the game of blackjack. I read a few books on how to play (count cards) and I would find myself driving up to Lake Tahoe, through the Sierras, listening to John Denver, Boston or the Sound Track of Rudy….For me half the fun was the journey getting there.
Anyway, I would go up every other week or so, and spend a night or two on my own. The Lake Tahoe experience was like no other. For the most part, I’d check into a hotel or sometimes a little cabin on the Lake. I’d practice my Card Counting drills, freshen up on my books, and prepare myself for an entertaining experience…Soon these experiences were more favorable than not. I actually was on onto something. All this hard work, studying the game and challenging myself, I realized that these trips were lucrative. I was on top of the world. Work hard during the week, and heading to Tahoe on the weekends making money playing blackjack.
As they say, all good things come to an end. And so, it did with my Blackjack playing getaways. I was banned from Harrah’s. Simply said, while I was playing one night, I was approached by game security, and was told, “By the State of Nevada, you’re considered professional card counter, and no longer allowed to play Blackjack at Harrah’s”. Within a month, I was banned from all casinos in Lake Tahoe (they circulated my picture to other casinos). Actually, it was pretty cool to say you have been banned. Always makes for a good story.
That’s actually how I got into this business. Since I couldn’t go up to Tahoe and play as I once did, and still having the passion for the game, I bought a blackjack table. I hired a former professional dealer to teach me how to deal cards. Soon I started a small business going around the neighborhood doing little Blackjack Casino Parties. I’d not only teach people how to play the game, I’d share my passion of the game, and teach them ways to make their money last longer, if they were planning a trip to Lake Tahoe or Las Vegas. I made a name for myself as the “Blackjack Guy.”
Soon, I was approached about other games. What about Craps, Roulette and Poker Parties? I didn’t know there was such a demand for Casino Party Entertainment. Since I was asked all the time about other games for these parties, I did a little research and found a guy who actually at the time, had been doing Casino Parties for 35 years. I met up with him and after learning more about this business, convinced him to let me hire him, to teach me the business.
My wife and I spent time with him and we were ready. We wanted to get creative choosing the name of the business and the brand. Since my passion was still with Blackjack I wanted to have some hint of the game in the name, but at the same time not make it obvious, since we knew now we would be offering other games, too…The whole idea of having a business is to love what you do and have fun while you are doing it. So we created 21 FUN. . We spent weeks coming up with the brand, and the Logo.
Our Logo is the brand. With McDonalds, it wasn’t just great hamburgers and quick service that made them who they are today. Anyone could have just opened a burger shop and try to do their best. However, with McDonald’s it was the name and the Golden Arches. For 21 FUN, we feel the same way. Over the last 17 years, we have established ourselves as the leader in Casino Parties. Our Logo is catchy, recognized and our name is creative and FUN. 21 FUN is everything you want and can trust.
What’s New in the Business or in the Franchise Model?
First of we are unique. So “We” are new to the Franchise scene. I think though, if you ask us what’s new, it’s more than just Casino Entertainment. 21 FUN has brought on a full time Web master. Dave, has been getting creative with Marketing Videos, Lead Generation Sites and thinking outside the box for our potential franchisees. Also added to the team, is Mark. He runs the 21 FUN market in Las Vegas. Mark and I have been collaborating with a local Casino Dealing School to provide a new series of training videos. So, check it out…A Marketing Webmaster in Lake Tahoe, and a seasoned professional dealer (and a dealing school) in Las Vegas to help our franchisees…Seriously. That’s is awesome.
Where do you See Opportunities or Challenges for the Franchise/Business Moving Forward?
At first, we thought the COIVD-19 virus would set us back, and for a while. Of course, during the Shelter in Place orders, we are at a standstill. I’m optimistic though because there are literally thousands of Event, Party and Wedding Planners that ,for a while, need to focus on smaller gatherings. Event planners are hired to entertain as we know. Without having the ability for large productions like Live Bands, Circus Olé type of entertainment, planners will be looking for other forms of entertainment and experiences. So, guess what…21 FUN will be booking MANY events. 21 Fun has a great reputation and we will be assisting our Franchisees to reach out to Party & Event Planners.
What is your Goal for the Business Moving Forward?
Moving forward, our goal is to not only continue to build our brand, but as we bring on more franchisees, we are looking at expanding some FUN money-making ideas. We have partnered with The Novel Donut company (Mini Donuts) out of the Bay Area. We are trying to work on a model, see if it is successful, and then offer to our franchisees as well. We are a Casino Themed event company. That’s what we excel at. However, we are never closed to new ideas suggested from our team or our Franchise family.
Another thing that we are already working on is making it easy for an existing Franchisee to have the ability of opening up a second location. Once you have mastered location 1, we have a plan to hep you expand =)
Talk to us About Training and Support, How Do You Deliver?
This is exciting. First of all, years ago I used to spend countless hours helping entrepreneurs getting into this space. Every once in a while, I would give advice, talk about the business and give pointers. I love this business. That’s why I want to franchise. I love to train, teach, and support. Mark and Dave are the same way. I mean if you get on the phone with us. You can’t get us off…. Now imagine that kind of passion helping a franchisee. We don’t want to see anyone unhappy or feel they were left alone to figure stuff out on their own. Believe me, in this business, you need support. We never turn off our phones.
We can train in your hometown, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe or San Francisco Bay Area (our Headquarters). There is definitely a need to have hands on experience at first. Handing equipment, training new dealers, running a party, talking to clients, etc. this is FUN stuff!! Could you imagine traveling to location to learn how to kill mosquitos, build shelves in a garage or learn how to do taxes? No thanks. We are a FUN business and the training is FUN too. Tahoe, Vegas, San Fran, or your home? Yep.
I’m confident our ongoing training and support will dazzle you. I’ll spend as much time as you need helping you. After a few days with us, you’ll be heading home. But if you want to call us from the airport , I’ll chat with you until you board that plane. Have a video idea? Call Dave or myself and we will work on it with you. Have a Dealer Training question, Call Mark and we will answer your questions and probably make a video about it. Oh, I forgot, if we can help our franchisee open a second location, we will also support your lead guy in Location 2. After all, we are all a team and part of the 21 FUN family.
Your most difficult moment at the Franchise Business?
For us it was just jumping in and getting our feet wet. At first you want to have everything absolutely perfect. But the more you think about it, you will always be perfecting and making it better than it was last month. Thankfully we just said, let’s do it. We know we have what it takes and I’m excited for our franchisees to jump in. When we have our annual Franchisee meetings in Lake Tahoe or Las Vegas, I want everyone saying that they an input or idea that make this Franchise the most successful and most popular Entertainment Franchise.
Define your Franchise Model:
Casino Theme Party Rentals
- Casino Tables & Dealers for Parties and Events – Including our support with Marketing, Videos, Lead Generation and Casino Dealer Training.
- For entertainment purposes only, 21 Fun delivers to our client, their favorite Casino Games for all events. Most parties, 21 Fun provides dealers for the games. Parties are generally 3 to 4 hours. Start with some Funny Money, Play for fun, Cash in chips for Raffle tickets (or High Tally) for prizes.
A. Training and Support Model? Training will be FUN and something any franchisee should be looking forward to. No stress, not complicated or intense. Franchisee chooses location. Mark (Las Vegas Market) and myself will do the training with you. If you choose Lake Tahoe San Francisco, or Las Vegas, we will have Dave (Our webmaster) join us. We will train you on Operations, Sales, Dealer Training, and Marketing. If Dave is at location, we will do an introduction video, a welcome message (video). We will have round table discussions / Q & A with dealers and sales staff who work for 21 Fun. We will discuss Dealers, Staffing and Managing Parties. In Lake Tahoe, San Francisco or Las Vegas, we will actually work a party together (start to finish). We will introduce you to Event Planners who work with 21 FUN. They will share with you what ALL event planners look for in a Casino Party Rental company, and what they are turned off by. We will teach you how we inventory our Tables & Equipment, Set up Trucks and Vans, Setting up parties, running the event (show), breaking down and analyze the experience. Every party is different. That’s what makes this business so much FUN!!
B. What is the Fee Structure? Our structure is $25K Franchise Fee and a 5% Royalty. We kept the Franchise Fee low so we can get you started in this business for less than 50K investment. Casino Table packages start at about 13k to 24k. It’s a great opportunity to get into this business for less than 50K (38K to 49K investment)
C. Territory Definition? You will have the rights to your territory. 21 FUN will take a look at where you are for your 1st location and together work on the areas covered. We want you to succeed!! 21 Fun will not sell additional franchises in your market.
D. Day in the life of a Franchisee?
First thing a Franchisee should do in the am is check phone messages and check emails. Emails for Leads, emails from Corporate etc. At first, I would suggest all Franchisees schedule a call with me so we can discuss the previous day or questions you were thinking about before going to sleep. Of course, you probably already texted me (which I encourage). Franchisees should return all calls, and respond to all emails. Sometimes the information requested, will be interesting and require ongoing support. Things like can you have a party doing this? Or Can you offer this as well? All these things we can help you with. Keep in mind, our on-location training covers as much as we can offer when you are with us. We know you will need more day after day with certain scenarios. We are here to guide you.
Franchisees should join networking groups, train (recruit dealers), communicate with potential clients…Down the road, chat with existing clients and work on a blog or newsletter. In the beginning, there won’t be a need to maintain equipment or do extensive inventory, so you can focus on your reach out programs, that we help you with, to get out there. If you have a fulltime job and want to start this business off as part-time (weekend) business, great! As you grow, 21 FUN will be available to help handle the phones for you (at our Corporate Office). We will also help you quote parties. Whatever you need. We’re here to help!
What does Your Franchisee Do in the Business Every Day?
Talks to Corporate for advice or assistance, communicates with potential clients, properly prepares for parties by staffing parties, orchestrating deliveries and equipment prep.
Who is the Ideal Franchise Candidate?
The ideal Franchisee is the person who LOVES people and has a passion to create wonderful memories for them. So picture this scenario. You just ran a successful Casino Party . Now your client comes over to you to thank you and tell you how much fun they had and how their guests were impressed…If this makes you feel good, and proud, you are an ideal Franchise Candidate.
The ideal Franchisee is organized. Enjoys keeping equipment and supplies nicely arranged and ready to go to the next event. You should take pride in your space and in your van. Successful Casino Party Operators should take their time and have an attention to detail. You don’t want have to rush and certainly don’t want to damage equipment by just throwing in a garage or van.
The ideal Franchisee must be able to communicate. It’s important for the Franchisee to always return calls and emails. If you don’t have the answers, let clients and dealers know you have acknowledged their request and let them know when you can reach out. Same goes for dealers and staff. Dealers look for leadership. Communicate with them.
The ideal Franchisee must be professional. If you are attending a mixer, event or meeting with a client. You should feel comfortable dressing up nice and conducting yourself in a professional manner. Always listen without interrupting, tactfully suggest ideas without downplaying theirs.
The ideal Franchisee checks their ego at the door. What separates a 21 Fun Franchisee from most Casino Party Operators, we are kind, and NEVER give the impression we are know-it-alls. We don’t go out of our way to prove someone wrong. If you want to vent and/or make a point, call me. We get it =)
Success Stories and Failures with Franchisees?
We are new to the Franchise world and I’ll be ready to answer this question, on behalf of Franchisees soon!! Every Franchise has to start somewhere. What I can promise any Franchisee is that with all my heart, I will make sure we make the deepest commitment to make you succeed so we can share our success story.
What I can tell you is my story. In a nutshell, I was a Union Electrician in San Francisco doing very well for myself. For me, it wasn’t all about the money. I wanted to be happy and if I can find a way doing something I just absolutely love to do, and have FUN while doing it, it was worth the effort. I took a 1 Blackjack Table gig as a hobby to where we are today (Operating in 2 States with over 750K in Sales).
Like Pete said (in the movie Rudy), Having Dreams is what makes life tolerable. I’ll help you with your dreams. Or better off, your goals of running your successful Casino Party Rental business.
What Goals Do You Have for the Franchise Model in the Future?
I’m excited about the opportunities we have in the future. I felt we have accomplished so much over the years as a family-owned business. I can hardly imagine what we can all to together with Franchisees. In regards to specifics, we are going to be working on a series of Videos and Marketing ideas for our Franchisees. I would love to share with Franchisees…
One final thought…. There are so many successful Franchises, with a wide range of entry levels. Google them. Look at the categories. The successful ones are obviously easily recognized. One thing they all have in common… They started small, and built it up. For 21 FUN, we are unique establishes Niche business with endless opportunities. We are going to take our success and create one of the most desirable Event Planning Franchises Available…Let’s do this together =)
For more information on the 21 Fun Franchise, visit the franchise site here: http://21funfranchise.com