TBI #3 Panhandle Pro

Company Name

Panhandle Pro

Tagline or catch-phrase

Don’t beg harder, beg smarter!

Quick summary of terrible business idea

PHP is a network marketing company that provides a “tried and true” system for people like you and me, who want to earn a full-time income on a part-time basis in the massively expanding industry of panhandling.

Products and Services

Describe in detail your product or service

Panhandle Pro has two products serving two different groups of people:

1. Donors receive satisfaction and joy when they give money to our panhandlers.

2. For panhandlers, PHP provides an opportunity to earn money by helping other panhandlers. Introduce others to the PHP opportunity and training system, and as their income increases, you earn a percentage!

Training topics include:

  • Attire and make-up
  • Location
  • Time of day
  • Facial expressions
  • Posture
  • Sign construction and copywriting (font, content, length, etc)
  • Displaying your unique talents
  • Companions (animals, children, toys etc)

Is this a seasonal product? Will sales be affected by certain holidays?

We expect seasonal fluctuations, primarily during Christmas and Thanksgiving.


Who will your customers be?

Donors: Middle class men, traveling by foot or vehicle. They will be located in congested areas of middle-large sized cities.

Panhandlers: Current male and female panhandlers between 25 and 45 who are coherent and ambitious. This also includes people who have been unemployed for a while but do not qualify for unemployment compensation.

(This strategy is based on a Harvard University study of panhandlers)


What products and companies will compete with you?

Depending on the city, PHP could have problems with organized crime organizations (aka, “the mob”).

How will your products or services compare with the competition?

Network marketing has yet to break into this booming industry. This bacon is all for the taking!


What is your marketing strategy?

Network marketing is built on word-of-mouth. As panhandlers and homeless individuals congregate, PHPers will pique their interest and invite them to a “PHP Party” (not to be confused with a “PCP party”)

At the PHP Party, prospects will be enticed by free food, which will be provided after the PHP opportunity is presented.

Industry & Distribution Channels

Describe your industry.

In today’s economic climate, the panhandling industry is growing rapidly. More and more people are doing it… but they don’t know how.

To accomplish more, panhandlers must unite.

How do you sell your products or services?

Independent representatives.


Pay structure (salary, hourly, how much)

For recruiting and training new panhandlers, PHPer will receive a percentage of their trainees’ daily earnings. Depending on how many panhandlers are in your team, you could earn a 5-10% residual.

Growing your PHP team will also earn you promotions and bonuses.

Why is this a Terrible Business Idea?

Tracking revenue would be a nightmare. Since donations are usually in cash, I assume most panhandlers would rather pocket their money than give a share of it to their trainers and to Panhandle Pro. As a result, the people who recruit and train new panhandlers would not be compensated. Soon after, they would stop recruiting.

When people stop getting paid, they stop working.

When people stop working, companies fail.


  1. Fred
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Hmm I wonder if the acronym PHP was chosen on purpose? 😉 It makes it all the better if it was, especially the mob part.

  2. Ryan Rotz
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Yup, it was definitely intentional. I just can’t help but let my geekiness ooze out sometimes. Glad someone caught it :)

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