It is important to find a franchise that fits around your full-time job schedule and needs
With a survey from Totaljobs finding that 89 per cent of workers in the UK are looking for a new job in 2021, it is clear that many people will be searching for new opportunities in the coming months. However, leaving your current full-time job to start your own business from scratch can be risky. You are essentially leaving your secure job to invest your own capital into a business that has no guarantee of success. Operating a part-time franchise alongside a full-time job can often be the perfect solution for anyone looking to boost their income or do something more fulfilling whilst keeping their full-time job. Rich Elms is the founder and MD of BabyBallers, a multi-skill football franchise with over 50 clubs in the UK. He gives his tips on finding a franchise that will work for you alongside a full-time job, and the benefits that come with operating a part-time franchise.
When it comes to franchising, there are endless opportunities to get involved. Whether you want to use a franchise to transition from full-time work to business ownership or need something flexible that will give your bank account a boost every month, there is a franchise opportunity out there for you. However, finding the ‘right’ franchise is often the hard part. So, here are my five top tips on how to choose a franchise to run alongside a full-time job:
1. Choose a low-cost franchise opportunity
It is fair to say that most part-time franchises have a simple concept behind them. For example, part-time tutoring and domestic cleaning franchises do not require you to invest five-figure sums for equipment, premises and vehicles just to get started. The benefits of this are that you will be able to enjoy the extra income you set out to achieve sooner, as your franchise will be able to fund itself more quickly than other franchise alternatives. Also, I’m sure this will come as no surprise, but with a low-cost franchise opportunity the risk is greatly reduced and the rewards can be greater.
2. Be patient in the early months
You are likely to be extremely busy when you first set up a franchise – never mind if you are doing it alongside a full-time job. I will not sugar-coat it for you; the likelihood is that the first couple of months of getting everything established will require you to be very hands-on. However, do not let this put you off. If you choose a franchise that other people can run for you, the stress will ease. For example, at BabyBallers, franchisees can hire coaches to conduct the sessions and take on the administration roles then. This means they need to invest very little time into the business. So, be patient and you will eventually reap the rewards.
3. Find out how much time you will need to invest
Imagine you have now come through the tricky setting-up period. Now, it is important to picture how a franchise will fit the role you want to take on. Consider how hands-on with the day-to-day operations you want to be, or do you just want to watch it operate from afar? Think about your current work, family and other commitments you may have and decide how many days and hours you are willing to work. Like any business, a franchise often requires owners to put in hard work to achieve success. So, deciding you only want to work weekdays from nine to five, for example, could eliminate many retail and service franchise opportunities.
4. Make sure the business has a strong support system for its franchisees
The most significant benefit of buying into a franchise is that the brand has a concept behind it that is proven to work. However, you need to make sure the franchisor is available to guide you throughout the process. So, before buying into a franchise, ensure that the franchisor will support you with equipment requirements, marketing, opening stock, staffing requirements, and the advertising and promotion relating to the launch of the business. When working a full-time job, these are all things that you do not want to waste your time sourcing yourself. Next, approach current franchisees and ask them how they find the training and ongoing support provided by the franchisor. This way, you will know for sure that you will be able to get a helping hand whenever you need it.
5. Will you work well with the franchisor?
The last thing you need when taking on a part-time franchise is a fractious relationship with a franchisor. Avoid this by making sure you gel well with the people you will be working with. They need to understand your goals and aims. This way, if you are ever stressed, they will be able to understand and lend a helping hand or back off and allow you some space. Your connection should be based on trust and a mutual desire to succeed. When you have your first meeting with a franchisor, take the time to notice the way they talk about your potential future as an investor. It is essential that you can build a strong rapport and work closely together.
Hear from those in the know:
Two BabyBallers franchisees who are experienced in operating franchises alongside their full-time jobs are Matt Piggott and Nihar Vithlani.
Matt Piggott works as a chemistry and PE teacher at a local secondary school in Kent, but despite his work commitments, he also owns seven BabyBallers clubs with his wife, Ruth. “People are often amazed that I have time to work full-time when they hear I run my own BabyBallers business. However, the classes fit in perfectly around my lifestyle,” explained Matt. “We provide three different classes - BabyBallers for toddlers from 16 months to two and a half years old, MiniBallers for children two and a half to three and a half years old, and Ballers for children three and a half to five years old. The head office team always get back to me promptly and are always there whenever I need them. Now, our goal is to open three more clubs, which would take us to 10 in total. Ruth and I hope to one day reach the point where we just have to do the admin and can leave our normal jobs and the coaching behind – but that’s a little way down the line yet!”
Nihar Vithlani, who works in banking, said: “Working as a franchisee alongside my full-time job has certainly been challenging, and there are sacrifices you have to make, but I get a good sense of self-worth and know I’m achieving something. My business partner and I are now looking for people to come in as coaches to take the work off us. They can take on the coaching, marketing and emails, which hopefully will allow us more time to enjoy ourselves. Once we have this in place, we are planning to open more clubs and expand our business. My advice to anyone looking to operate a franchise alongside a full-time job is to do something you’re passionate about otherwise you will struggle. You won’t put in the extra hours if you don’t enjoy it. Also, be prepared to sacrifice some of your social life in the early stages, but just know the results are very rewarding in the long run.”