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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    1

    M.A.R.S. International

    Has anybody had any dealing with these folks?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    15

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    nope never heard of um..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    7

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    I heard of them through Careerbuilder.com.. I started filling out their mammoth application over a year ago for the Chicago market. I never finished it and after a while they sent me a few e-mails urging me to continue with it. Last month, they sent a couple basically saying to continue with it still, which I have not done. After reading your inquiry, I checked my app and it is still in their database. Just today, Careerbuilder has a listing for them but it is noted for Gary, Ind which is just into Ind. from Chicagolandland. It sounds like a good opp but when I asked some management level people that I know in the auto dealership field about them, no one had ever heard of them. Now maybe that is just around here as the ones I inquired all use local "Ma and Pa" type outfits for that kind of stuff if their own shops cannot handle the job. Maybe because of the enormity of the market and the number of actual auto stores in this area, a lot them just sell them in the same condition that they take them in trade. That is not to say you couldn't open a store around these parts but their are tons of autorebuilders in the area that also do the major crash work.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    11

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    These guys (MARS International) are being sued by 25% of their franchisees for multiple things including fraud & racketeering. Appox 60% of their franchisees fail within 2 years. They wil buy you out at approx 30% of your initial investment only to sell to the next rube. A common practice by these fellows is to sell franchise on top of other franchises until the market is saturated. Essentially they are in the business of selling franchises.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    would love to know where you got the information??

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    11

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    Quote Originally Posted by hogman View Post
    would love to know where you got the information??
    The info about the lawsuit is matter of public record. There business practices are widely know in the industry. These people have suffered from TWO mass exoduses in their history one in the late 1990's and recently in 2007-08 Both brought on by the constant over saturation of markets. How many franchises have they sold in Pensacola, Fla knowing the market won't support the business. How about the number of franchises sold in sunny California? The all have gone belly up after 18 months or so.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    11

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    MARS INTL is currently involved in litigation in California with a franchise/D.A.D as well as litigation in TX. but not with a franchisee for a change

  8. #8

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    M.A.R.S International is a SCAM!!!

    Run away from these people. I answered an ad on Monster.com to go to work for them making $60.000.00 a year in the Denver, CO market. After spending a couple of hours filling out the application and doing a phone interview I was informed that in order to become an employee making $60,000.00 per yr. I would have to give them a $40,000.00 deposit. They told me that this was to cover the equipment that they would provide and that it was refundable over 3 years.

    Or I could buy a franchise for $49,000.00. I found out that there were already 23 franchisee's within a 30 mile radius of my home as well as 7 "employees".

    If you are interested in owning this kind of business you might want to check out PaintBull in Michigan. They are definitely in the business of selling a business opportunity. They do provide training and equipment but they do not take royalties.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    Quote Originally Posted by hogman View Post
    would love to know where you got the information??
    I was one of the 25% (actually over 30%) and they will not buy back at any % (they have their money). I stopped doing business due to a severe back injury and MARS closed my franchise without any mutual agreement. I’m ok now but am done and can’t restart. They won’t return emails or phone calls. Very erogent people. They seem kind (at first)

    They are only after your 50k – 60k franchise purchases. If you have that amount of money to spend, go ahead. You will get nothing in return!

    Training is “poor” at best. One of the trainers didn’t even know what he was doing?? They will not reveal how many franchise owners they have in your area and in my case added one that lived in my neighborhood. Neither him nor I knew about each other. Go figure.

    A true scam.

    OH!! The 2% advertising fee you will pay is so MARS can run adds on careerbuilder etc. to acquire more franchisees, not to advertise for you.

    They will be caught someday. Untill then, be careful.

    Of the 6 I went thru training with I think there a 2 still in business and only 1 doing ok because of his geographic location.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    14

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    This company has ruined many, many lives over the years. They are VERY good at convincing intelligent, professional people that they are a "world class" organization. It starts with the ad on careerbuilders or Monster stating that you can make 60k a year. That is VERY rare. Next they suck you into a 20+ hour long internet interview going through different stages. They make you think this company really has it together and want only the best! When you DO talk to a person, they tell you how they are a family oriented company, a christian company and nothing but your growth and success in mind. Meanwhile, their "internet interview" is nothing but a personality profile that they build on you to be able to hit your hot buttons like "family oriented" or "christian". They then talk to you on the phone and answer questions with, again misleading statements. Even if you do your homework and call other operators, they will tell you how great MARS is because 1) they get a spiff for doing so and 2) they are scared to death that MARS might sue them if they say ANYTHING negative. (It has happened) You send your money, $49k, usually in the form of a Sallie MAE loan and then you have to come up with the rest of the $50k. Home equity, credit cards, etc. You go to training and this is where you usually find out that there are other operators in your area or even one at training with you. THEY DIDN"T TELL YOU! IT has happened countless times. Their answer is that there is no geographic territories, just protected accounts. Meanwhile, they won't give you your money back. You go through training, which is very elementary, but you don't know cause you are new to this business. When you get out of training and go out on your own, you realize in a few months that there are TONS of other guys in the same business charging alot less, making it VERY difficult to make money. After 6 months you are still not generating income, plus MARS is not supporting you. They don't return calls, their monthly statements are always inacurate and sometimes just wrong and ording supplies from them takes almost a week. They also will NEVER call you to see how you are doing. You paid lots of money for a FRANCHISE, but there is no franchise characteristics here. There is no advertising for you, just an obscure dealer related magazine.

    Today, they have let go most of their staff including their president and are not shipping the most popular supply items saying that their suppliers are not stocking because of the economy. BULL, these items are THE most used supplies used by bodyshops and other businesses. Anyway, there are problems here because they aren't selling new franchises. There is no credit out there and also, maybe the word is getting out.

    Again, MARS International has destroyed many lives, wiped out life savings and put many, many good, professional people in huge crushing debt.

    DO NOT do business with MARS International!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    I'm one of those unfortunates who bought a M.A.R.S. franchise. So far everything I've read here rings true. The modus operandum is to portray themselves as an "International" company (I'm not sure how extensive their international reach is) and grab your money. Then, milk you for what they can while you flail away. The money you send in for advertising is spent to place more operators on top of you. They will sell franchises into any market no matter what the saturation is.

    That is the key. This company is in the franchise selling business. They used to have a screening/training system that utilized calls and local visits by new prospects to existing franchise holders in the area the prospects were looking at. But too many of us were telling the truth to the prospects and letting them know the markets in our areas were saturated. So, they stopped using that system and kept control over information at the corporate level. That should tell you something. Also, they will not protect an area for a franchise holder. They only protect accounts.

    When they rolled out a new part of the franchise, they made an offering to existing franchise holders that was, in my opinion, fraudulent. They sent out emails that clearly spelled out the requirements to take advantage of the offering, then after commitment to the offer the terms would change drastically.

    Long and short of it, I've completely lost confidence in the leadership at M.A.R.S. International. I do not believe they operate from a position of honesty or integrity. I think they use an "end justifies the means" philosophy to sell as many franchises as they possibly can. Their business practices are catching up with them and they seem short on resources.

    My advice to those looking for a business opportunity is to steer clear of this company.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    7

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    here's is the latest one I am getting from CBldr. Details excluded so i hope I am not breaking any forum rules. I would guess that this outfit is probably more of the same as discussed. What do you know or think?


    Everyone dreams of starting a business, but few actually follow through with the vision. The Paint Bull team is passionate about making your dream of business ownership come true. We're entrepreneurs ourselves, and our 19 years of experience in mobile service and retail appearance repair sales has led to the development of the most successful business system in the automotive appearance industry available today.

    Paint Bull is not just a licensed training school, we also operate a fleet of mobile repair vans and a retail store called Paint Bull Express. You will find we truly practice what we preach - it is through this hands on real world experience that we are able to provide our students with the most realistic comprehensive training available today. We have over 19 years of experience in this industry; our success and the success of our students sets Paint Bull apart from any other training program in the country.

    If your goal is to start a new business and are looking for a proven turn key opportunity with a huge market, then the Paint Bull Automotive Restoration Business might be right for you!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    15

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    For anyone who is seriously considering using MARS International I would strongly urge against it. As many of the other posters have identified this company takes your money and then runs with it.

    The investment is large and you expect that they will honor their committment in the contract. Over 30 percent of the current franchise operators have successfully sued the company. Many others have lost everything due to the greedy nature of those involved in the business:zx11pissed:

    They promise that you will get phone support for questions that might arise while you are working. Frequently when you would call you would find that only a secretary was available and could not properly assist. The techs that were supposed to be there had left early were not there on Friday etc..

    When a product fails, you have purchased the item that has been supplied by MARS, but they refuse to refund any of your purchase price. For example if you are installing a spray in bedliner, you take several hours to prep the bed, mask it off and then spray by the directions of the product supplied by Mars. As the bed is setting up you start to find problems that it is not setting up properly. You investigate and find that there is a shelf life on the product and that Mars has given you outdated material. You are then forced to remove the bad liner, purchase another kit and hope that the current kit is not past what is recommended by the MFG. You have now purchased two liners, put your efforts into spraying two and removing one. By the time that you are done you are in the hole severely. Mars response is typical, they did not know anything about shelf life. Then you have to contend with the upset owner of the truck and explain what the real problem is.

    You will also find as many have described that they oversell an area. You will be competing with other MARS reps instead of other companies. They have repeatedly failed to disclose this until after you have signed all of your papers and received your gear.

    You will be paying top dollar for the equipment that you need and they require you to obtain all of the kits when you go through training. Many of these kits are outdated and depending on the area that you work might not be worth using. IN other words you might use 5 or 6 of the kits while the other 10 or 15 have no use.

    WHen you check with other Reps who are in the business, they only provide those who are happy with the business and have been recognized by Corporate as doing good. They never provide you with the guys and gals who worked hard at the business only to find it fail in a short time due to lack of support from Corporate.

    The training is a joke. If you expect to spend 3 weeks in training and have some idea on how to fix and match colors along with the numerous other things they claim they will teach you, do not expect that you will get much hands on time to really practice. They might offer that you can come back and retrain at no cost, but then you are responsible for the air fare, lodging, food and so forth at additional expense.

    When you get in the field you will have many, many questions and even more problems that were never addressed in the training. When you call and if you are lucky enough to get a tech support person, imagine trying to explain the problem from several thousand miles away over the phone. They cannot see the problem that you are having and they cannot evaluate what the conditions are that caused the problem.

    Also expect that most of the touch-ups that you will be doing will be outside. For anyone who has worked around Automotive Painting you can understand the numerous problems that you will encounter with temp, dust, wind and many other elements when you cannot paint in a controlled environment.

    You will be paying a large franchise fee and part of that will be for advertising. They fail to explain that this advertising is for recruting more people to compete against you, instead of helping you establish your business by flyers, billboards and other forms. :nervouss:

    When it is all said and done you are better off not taking a loan, removing your retirement or paying any money to this company. If you truly like doing this kind of work you can purchase the kits that you need at a substantial amount less than MARS provides. You can obtain training through reputable firms and put together your own program without paying these guys for all of the excesses that they will claim that you need.

    Remember 30% of ACTIVE reps successfully sued the company due to a myraid of problems. There are many more that failed due to the problems with MARS that are totally out their entire investment. This includes all of the gear that they purchased that had to be returned along with Trailers, trucks or vans.

    The Attorney Generals Office in Texas should investigate this company for its fraudulent activity. Also the State has stated that they are in good standing for teaching, but no one has ever monitored any of the instruction given at the company. They are listed at a BBB company and many of the former Reps need to notify each of these entities that there is fraudulent activity within the company so others are not vicitmized.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    2

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    Shortly in to the online interview I came upon this question:
    Would you be more interested in either working independently or are you applying for the Sales and Service Operator position?

    Yes

    No

    That made no sense and that was when I decided to do a search to check out this company. I figured something was wrong with that kind of a question, and apparently I was right.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    As a disenfranchised ex owner-operator, I agree with almost everything said in this thread, I don't understand your post Jasmot. What Mars wants to know in the recruiting process is if you are more interested in owning a franchise (spending $49,500 up front) or working for someone who owns a franchise ($5,000 - $20,000 up front).

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Re: M.A.R.S. International

    I am copying my post about MARS International on another site just to add my experiences here:

    I bought a franchise several years ago and did not join the last group in litigation although at the time I was very unhappy with MARS. I initially was going to invest as a Director of Area Development (DAD), but after looking at the numbers decided to buy a franchise and grow it using their DAD formula.

    I made my rapid growth intentions well known at MARS corporate. No one there discouraged me. As a matter of fact they found me my first team leader who ponied up his own franchise fee and went to work for me for $50K a year. Less than one year after starting my business, MARS plopped another franchisee right in the middle of my area without any prior heads up or notice. Regardless of the 100,000 population noted by a previous poster (and I'm pretty positive they don't pay attention to that), does this sound like a company that is looking out for their current franchisees best interest? This may be ok to some individuals whose intention is a one or two man business, but it absolutley limits growth opportunities for a DAD.

    Add to that criminally incompetent accounting regarding the tracking of "SUPPLY CREDITS". I had to spend several full business days on more than one occasion correcting horrible spreadsheets they'd send me hoping I would tire of them and give up. I'm willing to guess most franchisees are not Excel whizzes. Warning to current operators....better double check your credits. It's a mess. Had I not dug into the problem I would have lost in excess of $8K in supply credits. From my back and forth, it became very clear that accounting was clueless.

    Add to that, MARS requires franchisees to franchise each and every one of your employees. In other words, if I wanted to get into detailing and hire a detailer, I had to have him sign up with MARS as a franchise working for me and then either he or I pay MARS a significant fee every 5 years. Can you imagine having a number of hourly, non-exempt employees either they or you have to pay for every 5 year anniversary? MARS says the employee should pay! Yeah, an $8.00/hr guy is going to fork over $2500 or $5000 to work for you every 5 years! MARS will tell you this is to protect you, the franchisee, against that employee bolting and competing with you. Thanks, but no thanks...not for that price! And what happens to those franchisees who work for you when your agreement is up and you don't renew? A big mess that's what.

    Here is my bottom line: MARS is a slickly marketed franchisor that is the perverbial "business in a box". Their absolute #1 priority is signing up new franchisees. Once you are in, you become secondary to #1. That doesn't mean you are totally ignored. Know the priorities. MARS accounting is (add negative adjective here) and I hope for everyone's sake they clean it up. Franchising all employees of a Franchisee is great work if you can get it :>)

    IMO the MARS mobile model is not growable in the North. When beset by Winter, it is almost impossible to maintain a large employee base as the business and conditions are not suitable for sustanence much less growth. If you could keep the 12% MARS gets you could possibly afford a building, but how efficient can you be shuttling cars from dealerships to your building and back? Single operators seem to be able to scratch by. I am doing very well, but not by driving around from dealer to dealer. For a large operation servicing individual dealers is too inefficient and dynamic to sustain profitablility. I had to find another market to succeed.

    They told me there'd be no math: Figure this regarding the 2% ad fee. If 400 operators is correct, figure 100K avg in gross sales per. That's $40,000,000. 2% of that is $800,000 for advertising. Cut that number in half just to be conservative. If those goofy ads cost more than $5K a year I'll sign back up. What does cost that much is recruiting. I've got more, but for now...nuff said.

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