Carol Stewart-Gill, founder and owner of Dublcheck, answers your franchise questions
Why do you think franchising works so well?
I’ve been franchising for 22 years and been told many times that people wished they had become franchisees sooner. I have seen many people flourish both financially and in their work-life balance as a result.
How much do I need to invest in a franchise?
This can vary enormously, but my advice is try not to invest a huge amount. Dip your toe in the water and see if you like the industry you have chosen, as often you can reinvest in the knowledge you are making a success of the business.
What sort of industry should I go into?
It does not necessarily have to be something you are familiar with. Often a change is good, but choose a trusted industry you believe can be recession proof.
Do I need expensive premises to run my franchise?
No. I know of many successful management franchisees who operate from home, which keeps their overheads low.
I am a business executive tired of working and making money for someone else. have you got any career advice?
Franchising is probably the way forward for you. Many executives have brought their expertise to their franchise and have not only benefited financially, but also have lots of flexibility to work the hours they choose.
I’m considering investing in a franchise, but the company I’m looking at has only been franchising its business for a couple of years. I like the service it offers, but can’t find any concrete evidence of success. what do you suggest?
I would invest in an established franchise that allows you to speak to existing franchisees, who can tell you about the experiences they’ve had with the franchisor and how their businesses have evolved.
How much support should I expect when investing in a franchise?
When buying a franchise, the idea is that you are not on your own. Check with other franchisees to see how supportive head office staff are, because when you start your new venture you’re going to need advice from people with experience, knowledge and an interest in your success.
Do I have to be an experienced business person to run a franchise?
No. You need to understand how a business works to run a franchise successfully, but don’t necessarily require direct experience of the industry you want to enter.
Is there a minimum period a company needs to be trading for before it starts franchising?
It’s helpful if a franchise company has a sound operational base, so you can, for example, visit the business to see how it operates and meet the staff.
What sort of financial information should I get from a franchise company i’m considering investing in?
It should be able to show you up-to-date, recently filed, healthy accounts, as well as the accounts of some of its current franchisees.
As a franchisee, how much time will I have to spend on administrative work?
This can vary from franchise to franchise. However, you should satisfy yourself that it won’t be too onerous and that help is available should you need it.
Are there typical profit margins for a franchise?
These depend on the product or service you’re selling, but the franchise company should be able to provide information on this. You should make sure profits provide you with a good return on your investment.