These are the five key areas first-time franchisees need to consider, according to Safeclean product manager Jennifer Chapman
So you’ve made the decision. Investing in a franchise is something that appeals. Who can blame you?
Becoming a franchisee offers the best of both worlds, as you benefit from the expertise of a successful organisation, while enjoying the freedom that comes with being your own boss.
However, finding your perfect match can be a tall order. Investing in the wrong franchise is an all too present risk and one that can end up costing both you and your franchisor a lot of money and time.
We know a fair bit about cultivating a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship between franchisee and franchisor. Some of our franchisees have been with us for over 30 years and are still reaping the rewards that a good relationship can bring.
Figure out what you want
Joining a franchise is not a decision to make on a whim.
Take the opportunity to sit down and figure out what you’re looking to gain from the experience. This is a long-term personal and professional investment, so making sure you’re going to be happy in your new line of work is not just recommended, it’s essential to its long-term viability.
Take a look at your skill set and try to balance this with what you actually enjoy doing.
Whichever franchise you become a part of, there will be a large amount of administrative, business and sales tasks involved. This workload may even take up more of your time than providing the company’s services.
To this end, taking the time to speak to existing franchisees, or attending a discovery day, will be an important part of your decision making process.
Do you fit the bill?
There’s no golden rule that says you have to have several years of experience in the sector your franchisor is operating in.
Although many of our franchisees are hands on by nature, all we ask of them is commitment, enthusiasm and personability. After all, being the right person is about more than just your CV - it’s the whole package that counts.
Your prospective franchisor will have a similar tick list of character traits that go beyond previous work and it’s not difficult to argue that being honest with yourself about whether you’re the person they’re looking for is even more important than your experience.
Make sure you can afford it
This is a big one. Again, don’t let yourself get carried away with the excitement and potential that the franchise model can off er new franchisees.
Like any new business, with a franchise there’s an initial investment to be made before you start making a profit and you will be paying your franchisor an ongoing royalty fee. You may also need to fund equipment, training or stock before you see any revenue.
Don’t ‘guesstimate’ these types of costs, particularly as you won’t be the only one losing out if it goes wrong. Your franchisor will want to know you’ve accurately forecasted and budgeted several months in advance. Working with them to establish initial expenses and long-term budgets will be to the advantage of both parties.
For many people, franchising is a route out of full-time employment working for somebody else.
While this is clearly liberating, being self-employed is an entirely different model of work that requires dedication and self discipline. It’s not just the tried and true business model and insider expertise that gets handed down to you, but a world of responsibility for the success or failure of your franchise too.
To feel the benefits of entrepreneurship through franchising, you need to be prepared to throw yourself into the business head first, assuming the roles of marketing director, head of finance, HR manager and more all at once.
The reward you feel when you start to see success is unlike anything else, but it requires a committed individual to make that happen.
The lifestyle of a franchisee is one of freedom and control over your world. However, this is the result of careful decision making, meticulous planning and daily, proactive persistence.
Steering clear of the associated risks of setting up a business while benefiting from all the advantages doesn’t just come from the security of the franchise business model, but from the attitude and application of both the franchisee and franchisor. When these two parties work well together, it’s a match made in heaven sure to be professionally satisfying.
Is it viable?
While there’s something quite admirable about investing in an emerging sector or taking a punt on a franchise you believe in, don’t let yourself get swept up in the more romantic notions of franchising.
Make sure you’re joining not just a viable business, but becoming a part of an equally viable market. If you’re not familiar with the inner workings of that sector, ask questions and do your research. Don’t just take your prospective franchisor’s word for it.
Also, consider whether being a franchisee is a more appealing opportunity in this sector than starting up on your own.
We would argue that the entry costs and risk factor is significantly lower when joining a franchise, but the answer to this question does differ depending on what service you’re providing.