Where would you like to base your business? Three industry experts put the case for working from home, on the road and from bricks and mortar premises
Rebecca Newenham, founder of Get Ahead
With a home-based franchise, you can be in profit right from the beginning
“Having worked from home for over 10 years, I definitely feel the advantages”
Running a business from home has big advantages over investing in a bricks and mortar presence.
For starters, there’s usually a substantial cost saving, as you don’t need to invest in buying or leasing premises. That rent or mortgage payment, along with the associated running costs, insurance, etc, immediately creates a financial barrier to success.
From day one, a portion of what you earn will simply go to paying those bills. It’s likely to take you longer to turn a profit, having to offset profits against start-up costs and ongoing running costs. Yet with a home-based franchise, you can be in profit right from the beginning.
Saving time is also a major benefit. Not only can you save time by not having to find the right premises or wait to turn a profit, but there’s also the time saving of not having to commute to work.
Especially if you plan to run your franchise around other commitments, such as caring for children or older family members, every moment counts.
It’s amazing what you can pack into the six hours a day that children are at school. But less amazing if you have to factor in time to get to your place of work, open up, close up at the end of the day and more.
Being home-based gives you flexibility. To work when you want and where you want.
If you need to attend a client meeting or simply fancy a coworking space for some company, you can pick up your laptop and go. It also reduces your financial risk by not tying you into a long-term lease contract.
It removes the business risk of only being allowed to do what the council and landlord will allow you to. At home, you’re the master of your own destiny and can create the right workspace for you.
Getting the balance right
Of course, there are some things to be aware of when working from home.
Without physically going to work every day, finding the balance between work and home life can be difficult.
You need to be able to ignore the call of household chores and focus on work, maintaining the boundaries between work and home life. A separate workspace like a home office is great for this, as it allows you to shut the door on distractions.
Cathryn Hayes, franchise director, Revive! Auto Innovations
A wide range of businesses operate on a mobile basis across a number of sectors
“Lower start-up costs should enable your business to reach break-even and profit much earlier”
As you research franchising, you’ll come across different terms and classifications, including mobile franchises, where the business or service is carried out on a mobile basis, normally from a van, rather than operating from premises.
At first glance, you may think that going for a van-based operation could limit your choice of franchise, but in fact, a wide range of businesses operate on a mobile basis across a number of industry sectors.
Nor just about parcels
You could look at mobile food or coffee-based franchises, where the franchisee offers food and drinks to local businesses, clients or at events such as festivals.
Delivery services also spring to mind, but it’s not just about parcels. Mobile franchises deliver pet food, dog grooming services, tools and equipment for garages and workshops, as well as vehicle cleaning and hygiene products and delivering and erecting estate agency boards.
And numerous van-based franchises bring all kinds of services to their customers’ doors, from oven cleaning, gardening services and house and window cleaning to changing tyres, and repairing minor paint damage on vehicles, to name a few.
In addition, mobile franchises offer a choice between being an owner-operator, where you will be the ‘man (or woman) in the van’ or taking on a management franchise, where your role is to bring in sales, deal with customers and manage your team of mobile operators.
Staying mobile means your initial and ongoing overheads are likely to be much lower than franchises where you need to set up and maintain premises.
A van can be leased or bought on hire purchase with only a deposit needed, although you’ll also need suitable stock and equipment, depending on the type of franchise you’re buying.
Lower start-up costs should enable your business to reach break-even and profit much earlier.
The convenience you can offer customers with your mobile business will be a strong selling point too.
You may not be able to grow your mobile operation beyond a certain level of turnover though, as it could be restricted to the number of jobs you can complete in a day.
However, with a management franchise, where you can put on additional vans, you’re able to build much higher turnover levels, as you recruit additional mobile operators to deliver your services.
If you’re buying an owner-operator mobile franchise, this can mean lots of time on your own.
You’ll be driving for some of your day as well as doing the work for the service you offer, so think about whether this is something you’ll enjoy.
With a mobile management franchise, you should think about security issues. Will vans need to be in a secure place? What will your insurance need to cover and how will you manage your team of often lone workers?
A good franchisor will help with these issues and your training should cover what you need to know, whether you’re running a fleet of vans or heading out on the road yourself.
James Garner, Jetts Fitness UK director
A bricks and mortar franchise in the right sector has limitless opportunities
“You cannot underestimate the benefits of having a physical presence in a well-chosen location”
Mobile and home-based franchises have their advantages and have been growing in popularity in recent times. They’ll continue to do so, as we adapt to a more agile society post the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the right bricks and mortar franchises still have their place, especially in industries that continue to thrive and where people require a hub or somewhere to go to access the product you’re offering.
In the fitness sector, we’ve seen the impact of everyone wanting to become fitter and healthier and the government putting a greater emphasis on society as a whole becoming more active.
With this heightened interest in leading a more balanced lifestyle, the need for permanent fitness facilities continues to grow alongside the demand for that human connection, despite the influx of new mobile franchise offerings the sector has seen.
As with all bricks and mortar franchises, the impact of the pandemic has meant they’re operating in a property market with better value than ever before as more prime high street locations are becoming available and subsequently lowering some of that initial investment
Despite these higher start-up costs and overheads, from rent and utilities to staffing and fit-out, you cannot underestimate the benefits of having a physical presence in a well-chosen location.
Instantly, you become visible to the local population and benefit from the natural intrigue that comes with a newly established brand opening its doors in the area.
Once open, you’re able to have immediate face-to-face contact with your target audience, removing the middle ground that’s often a problem for mobile or home-based franchises.
Customers are able to better understand the product and service you’re offering from the outset and start to build that all-important personal connection.
For us as a gym franchise, our business owners gain from having a bricks and mortar presence because it allows them to create a loyal community of members who continue to return and visit multiple times per week.
This generates a revenue stream that accumulates through monthly fees, which means they can always increase their income potential and build greater equity in their business.
Bricks and mortar franchises like a gym also allow for multiple revenue streams outside of monthly membership fees, including personal training, merchandise, supplements and, depending on your concept, upgraded memberships or additional class offerings.
So in conclusion, owning a franchise business is the perfect vehicle for achieving financial success in a low-risk manner and a bricks and mortar franchise in the right sector has limitless opportunities.
While there will always be new entrants or concepts to the market, the fundamentals of having a base for your business lays a solid foundation for your financial growth and will provide you with a successful business.
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