The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Franchise
With unemployment figures at a high and more reputable franchises available at affordable prices, buying a franchise is becoming an increasingly popular option for those looking to secure their futures by becoming their own boss.
To help you decide whether or not franchising is the right route into self-employment for you, here are some of the pros and cons of franchising.
- Established brand – one of the main benefits of investing in a franchise is being able to operate your own businesses and be your own boss while receiving support and guidance from an experienced and recognised brand. This offers a huge advantage when launching your business because potential customers are likely to recognise the name and logo and should understand the values that these represent.
- Training and support – along with the brand name comes the brands work ethic and methodologies. Most franchisors will provide new owners with comprehensive training, support and any business materials that may be required. Some franchisors offer new owners ongoing support, ensuring that staff is kept up-to-date with any developments and is able to seek help when needed.
- Lower risk – when buying into a franchise, owners have the reassurance of knowing that they are investing into a tried and tested business model, resulting in lower failure rate and financial risk. With the majority of independent companies going out of business within the first three years of trading, a proven track-record and successful business model is essential when recruiting potential franchise owners.
- Flexibility – the franchise industry has a wide range of investment opportunities on offer, which can be run on a full-time or part-time basis from home or a commercial premise at hours to suit the needs of the business and franchise owner. With such diversity on offer, there is a franchise out there to suit everyone.
- Supportive network – a much-quoted catchphrase in franchising is “be in business for yourself, not by yourself”. The franchisor will offer training and the benefits of its experience, offering advice every step of the way. Franchise owners also benefit from the peer network which franchising creates, where colleagues can support one another and offer each other advice and guidance.
- Easier to finance – the 2010 NatWest and British Franchise Association (bfa) survey found that estimated start-up costs have declined slightly and new entrants can expect to pay £46,700 in franchise fees and other associated costs to their franchisor. Today, many high street banks have specially trained Franchise Managers to assist new and existing franchise owners with financing their businesses and with 90 per cent success rate of applications for franchise loans it is becoming much easier and affordable to buy a franchise.
- Growth opportunities – with many successful franchises, if the product or service is in demand, it will continue to expand its network. The opportunity for franchise owners to invest in multiple franchises is quite common in this sector, enabling individuals to widen their market and progress the franchise.
- Job satisfaction and security – when entering into a franchise, individuals have to consider their own personal skills and interests. In most cases, franchise owners invest in a franchise which they feel passionate about. It may be hard work running a business but when it’s for a company and brand that you believe in it makes the effort worthwhile. By owning their own business, franchise owners have the reassurance of financial security and can take control of their career – you can’t be made redundant if you’re the boss.
While franchising may offer many benefits, you must still thoroughly research your chosen opportunity before signing on the dotted line, as there will be some aspects of franchising that will not suit everyone’s work ethic. Below you will find some elements of franchising that may be considered disadvantages of franchising.
- Restrictions – When you start your own business as an independent sole trader, you're in control over every detail, large and small, but with a franchise business, you sign an agreement to follow the rules laid out by the franchisor. Yes, you control your franchise unit in terms of the culture and values you set but you must follow the franchisor's operating system. Some people will find the amount of restrictions over their business frustrating and you should be completely honest with yourself if you feel comfortable with this before signing a Franchise Agreement.
- Initial layout – when entering into a franchised business you pay your initial investment, which in some cases – especially if the franchise requires business premises – working capital may be needed as well as additional franchise fees.
- Additional costs – prior to investing in a franchise, it is important to realise that as well as the initial franchise fees, you will be required to pay ongoing fees to the franchisor. These are usually paid either as a percentage of your turnover or as a specific annual sum. Normally this money will go towards ongoing training and support programmes, such as a national marketing campaigns or training courses to ensure you have the latest skills and information needed to run your business successfully.
No business is risk-free, so when considering franchising as your future venture, be sure to thoroughly research the industry, seek professional advice and be honest with yourself with regards to what you really want from a business – franchising isn’t for everyone.