Not So Distant Cousins – The Story of Uber and Supercuts

A late adopter, I recently had my first Uber customer experience. I was actually tagging along with a friend who hailed a ride to the airport in about thirty seconds on his phone. He never took his wallet out. It was impressive. Uber’s current value of $60 Billion is even more impressive.

Trends involving how people work in Washington are evolving quickly. Katy Steinmetz’s Time magazine article describes the gig economy, the on-demand economy and certainly the sharing economy. Consumers who want certain things (products and services) are connected to other individuals who offer them for a price. Rather than an employer like Boeing hiring W-2 employees, technology platforms like Uber have created software that brings people together at a lower cost and greater convenience than through traditional taxi companies. Uber is one of the fasted growing start-ups ever. And, it’s not social relationships and the greater good. It’s about the efficiency that technology can create. So, the sharing economy might be better described, the Access Economy.  Uber isn’t really sharing much. It is providing access.

For those providing services in the Access Economy; flexibility and independence are top reasons to enter the space versus traditional employment. Most of these folks have more than one source of income. Some struggle to make as much money as they did as employees, others thrive with no limit on their income. A low barrier to entry creates lots of competition that further drives the price down.

So, what does all this mean to someone in Washington considering a career re-invention and investment in a proven franchise model like Supercuts? A white collar franchisee candidate wants the same things – financial independence and flexibility. If they can find a franchise investment opportunity where their strengths and experience can be leveraged in a way that creates reasonably predictable results and financial return that can be a very compelling career option! However, the barrier to entry is not only the up-front franchise fee. It’s having the competencies and temperament required to be awarded a franchise in the first place. As a specialist in franchise operations, my work resembles a good executive recruiter looking for the best matches possible. The right fit drives success.

The ongoing royalties in exchange for the rights to use a brand name like Supercuts and for access to proprietary systems and technology bear striking resemblance to the commissions drivers pay to Uber corporate. But the initial and on-going support and training from the franchisor to ensure the brand is protected through consistent consumer experiences is a big difference, among many. If you are considering a different career path, think about control over your own future – do you want it and how much you need to be happy.

I am facilitating a business ownership forum workshop on Tuesday, March 2nd in Mercer Island. To register for this event and learn more about no-cost local expert franchise advice in Washington from Charlie Magee and FranNet of Washington, visit:

Jan 19, 2016