Rejected by the cartel in Ecuador

“This isn’t exactly how I pictured it would be.” I thought to myself, as I sat on an uncomfy couch in an office with all white undecorated walls.  The receptionist seemed to be going through the motions of her job.

I expected a scene with hot women in bikinis serving cocktails while men in all white suits sat around a pool smoking cigars, and of course dudes with machine guns in the corner.

Finally, a young guy came out and waved me into the next office.

I sat down, waited some more.

And in came another guy, also young, younger than I expected and in casual attire.

“So why do you want to join our organization?” He asked pointedly.

“Well, it just seems profitable.” I continued.  “I mean, to have a monopoly on a certain business type within a certain area.”

“You know, once you’re in there’s no way out.” He said.

“Yea, I figured as much.” I said.

“So how much?” I asked.

He said, “$2500 a month rent plus 30% of all sales.”

“Top line, not after taking out expenses.”

“And you need someone there 24 hrs a day.  And they have to be certified persons only.” He finished.

Wow, I thought, no way I can make money like that.

I said thanks for the interview and excused myself.  I could tell they weren’t all that interested in me, and nor was I in the opportunity.

You see, I was interviewing for a space in the new Quito airport based off a proposal I had sent prior about putting a lugagge storage center.

I referred to the airport administration people as a ‘cartel’, cause to me it kind of felt like one, and I felt on the outside although they are not a ‘cartel’ as you or Hollywood would probably define it.

Sure enough, they took my proposal of a luggage storage center/locker area and gave it to someone else, probably one of their cronies at a discounted price, and they’ll be opening any day now.

You see, things sometimes work different in Ecuador.  People aren’t always motivated by money.  Sometimes its more of a who-you-know or even rich people putting trophy businesses that don’t actually make money, but serve as a place to stash their cash.

I know, it’s wierd.

But they can’t stop me from getting into the business in a different way, a way that would have scared the sh!t out of me if I would have opened paying the high rent in the airport.  From my hotel near the airport, for several months now successfully, I’ve been offering bag storage pick up and drop off service for a fee of $5 per pick up(total) and $1 per bag per day for storage.

You see, paying the airport rent, they are probably going to charge around what they do in the Guayaquil airport, $7 per day per bag, and more for bigger pieces like surf boards.

Of course, there will be people who will pay it for the convenience if leaving bags for 1 or 2 days, but for storage 3 days or longer as long as I provide a reliable service I think I have them beat if I can offer the same thing for less than half the price.

But hey, you know, there’s a reason for everything and this newsletter is not just about my successes as an expat and entrepreneur in Ecuador, but also my failures.
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