My Experience as A Knockerball USA Affiliate
Buying into a franchise can be a smart move. My move with Knockerball USA was not! Read why in case you are planning on joining the franchise.
My experience with Knockerball USA as an affiliate was not very good. Yes, the idea of making the business of bubble soccer flourish sounds quite fun. However, the idea is not as ideal as the company sells it to be. It is a low budget business, as far as starting it, but it will drain your pockets if the person does not get on it right away.
Also, this bubble soccer business in which people pay to participate can work in certain demographics or certain cities. In others, Knockerball USA can be a huge bust. It was for me trying to start it here in Los Angeles, and it was a lesson to learn.
What is Bubble Soccer?
Bubble soccer is a fairly new activity that is becoming popular due to the fact that it is extremely fun to play. It comes with these bubble suits for players to get into and play soccer while knocking each other around. The game is ideally played in a small field. The ideal amount of participants per game is 10, 5 versus 5.
Other games can be played as well like football, bowling, tag, and others. Bubble soccer is perfect for outdoor parties and picnics. Many companies hire these bubble soccer renters to participate in team building. Of course, the list goes on and on. In the end, the fun that comes with this activity is overwhelming.
Bad Experience Right Off the Bat
So, I do my research and find out that Knockerball USA is only situated in Orange County (City of Anaheim) and San Bernardino County (City of Corona). The Corona franchise is only indoors, so they do not travel to parks to meet their customers. Basically, customers go to them. This is great because they have an indoor playing field. The franchise in Anaheim is a traveling company, and it no longer exists just like my company that only lasted a year.
What caught my eye was the buy-in price to start your own franchise with Knockerball USA. That is something that is good, but it is only good if you have the whole amount. I didn’t have the whole amount for a startup package. So, I took the biggest one, KB Pro, and I took a loan. it was a huge mistake!
The loan is more of a lease loan and those can put a giant dent in your pocket. I won’t give out any numbers but the loan comes with the accrued APR, fees, and everything else. In other words, one cannot pay it off early to get a lower number in the end. So basically, I paid almost double what the package cost to buy into this company.
The good thing about the loan was that it paid for my start-up package and a year’s worth of franchise fees. So, I did not have to worry about the latter. Still, the monthly payment was hectic. The company that works with Knockerball USA on loans is TimePayment, and they are absolutely brutal!
So, I bought into it thinking I was going to make a killing. Oh yeah, the company sells the idea that one will make a killing like a used car. Once you buy into it, these other expenses kick in. The insurance on the company is pricey, and they also try to sell you some software service so the owner can keep track of their accounting. Anyway, after thinking about it and running numbers in my head, I got sold into it.
Once my equipment arrived about three weeks later, I kicked in with the insurance, which was another hefty bill. The good thing is that Knockerball USA offers this insurance, and it is the cheapest one in the market. So, that was not bad at all. Then I go to check out my location on their map, on the main Knockerball USA web page, and I see another affiliate a few miles from me. What da…
I call and the company and it tells me that they just started as well and that we have a huge potential of taking over Los Angeles. So, businesswise, I tell them that is a bunch of baloney because I had joined to be the affiliate to run in Los Angeles. In other words, I thought I had the Los Angeles market to myself. Of course, there are other bubble soccer companies operating in LA, but I wanted to be “the” Knockerball USA affiliate.
They didn’t care that they put two affiliates right next to each other to fight it out. Isn’t that messed up? Why would McDonald’s open two restaurants on the same block? I think this was a bad move on them when looking at it from a business perspective. The company straight up took away our chance to expand! Guess what, the other guy is out of business too! Like mine, their company website is no longer.
How it Works
One buys into it and waits for the equipment. This depends on the package the person buys. Mine came with 10 adult bubble suits, 6 kids bubble suits, a pump, a banner, a few t-shirts, flyers, and business cards. I had one year paid for the franchise fee, $149 a month. The fee includes a website, leads, and two videos for advertising.
Not bad, right? Well, everything was fine and dandy, but the business was not coming in. They would send me about one or two leads a month. Of course, I would advertise myself through social media and develop my own leads. Oh yeah, there was a social media course that lasted a week on how to advertise on your own, and it was really helpful.
The prices that the company recommended for the services were not liked here in LA do not like. I had to lower the prices on the packages that I offered for business. That made my numbers go haywire. It also took about three months for the company to start getting business. Still, in the end, I only average about one gig per month in that year that I was an affiliate of Knockerball USA.
One gig a month was not enough to pay for the insurance and the loan that I took. Basically, the business did not even pay for itself. I did all the recommended steps too that were provided in the training class. Trust, I did it all and it did not work.
On top of being pissed about having to share my area with another affiliate, the company did not provide enough leads. I think that affiliates in little towns tend to be more successful. I guess in cities or towns where the coolest spot is the local mall, this business would most likely take off. Here in LA, it is quite a tough thing to start.
Eventually, I had to let go of my affiliation with Knockerball USA after a year. This happened because I could no longer afford the loan bill, the insurance bill, and the affiliation fee. So after 12 months, when my paid affiliation fees ran out, I had to seperate myself from Knockerball USA.
The gig with Knockerball USA could be good, but one has to buy into it with one payment. Please, avoid the loan at all cost. Also, be sure to have money for a few months before things start to shine. Getting the word out can take time. Also, make sure you are not surrounded by other companies that provide the same service.
Here in Los Angeles, I would advise having an indoor soccer arena. The affiliates in Corona are still around because of that. One in Burbank opened as well, which was not there when I was around. I think they saw me there once hosting a gig, and the owner of that arena decided to buy into it. Smart owner, since he has the arena already.
Another option is to start your own company by buying the bubble suits from another company. I replaced one of my suits with another company instead of going with my own franchise. Since I was not making enough money and the other option was cheaper, I had to go with it. It was even cheaper than what Knockerball USA offered with the affiliate discount. Also, the quality of the other manufacturer was just as good.
The only thing about not being in the Knockerball Franchise is that you have to be creative in the sense of making your own videos and advertising. The franchise does help out with advertising, but their output was just not enough for me. I only got like two leads a month from them which, I am sure, I had some lost to the affiliate that was located a few miles from me. However, their fees are too high, and their promise that the company can blow up easily is a bit exaggerated.
Now, I have my own company and it is called LA Knocker Soccer. Yes, after taking a hiatus and leaving Knockerball USA, I decided to run my own show. So, check out the new and improved company called LA Knocker Soccer if you ever visit Los Angeles.