How to choose a franchisor
Out of all the franchises you like the look of, which one is right for you?
Choosing the type of franchise you want to run can be tricky – it’s important that you narrow down your options based on both financial and personal considerations.
What are you interested in?
Perhaps most importantly, you should choose a franchise that suits your interests. Like any other type of business start-up, you are more likely to put in the extra time and effort into something you have a passion for.
If cars are your thing, there are plenty of vehicle service franchises that involve everything from rentals to repairing dents, paint jobs or alloy wheels. If you are an outdoor person, you could do household repairs or landscape gardening.
Whatever your interest, you should find a franchise that suits you. Check our list of franchises for your ideal business.
Check your family circumstances
Starting up a conventional business involves working all hours to try and get the venture up and running. Entrepreneurs often miss out on seeing family and friends in the formative days of the business.
Starting up a franchise should take a lot of stress, and time, out of the process. With premises, finance and equipment already provided, you should be able to concentrate on running the business and making money.
With this in mind, it’s important to consider your family when choosing a franchise. Sectors such as retailing and catering involve long hours, often in the evening. If you have childcare concerns, or merely fancy seeing your other half and friends once in a while, you should lean towards franchises that will give you a bit more free time.
Check with the franchisor or speak to a couple of their franchisees to find out what hours are typically involved and what impact it will have on your home life.
The British Franchise Association (BFA) holds various exhibitions across the UK allowing potential franchisees to run the rule over franchisors, while also getting expert advice from banks, accountants and law firms. There are also free seminars run by the BFA about becoming a franchisee, where you can ask questions.
Attending exhibitions is a great way to find out more about individual franchises. It pays to prepare for exhibitions well in advance – get programmes before you do, decide which franchisors and experts you want to meet, prepare lists of questions and give yourself enough time to visit relevant stands.
Finding a franchise that you’re strongly attracted to can be a great buzz, but don’t get carried away and sign a contract there and then. Give yourself time to consider all your options and remember that it’s in the exhibitor’s best interests to paint a rosy picture of their franchises. Check out the franchise itself
Has the franchise you’ve chosen been tried and tested thoroughly and has it got a successful track record? Don’t just ask the franchisor – check with the franchising departments of the big banks and people in the same industry.
There are a few dodgy franchises that are only interested in collecting the initial fees from new franchisees and then abandoning them with no support, with the intention of signing up new franchisees should the incumbents go bust.
Franchisors that belong to the BFA are bound by a code of ethics, so check whether the franchise you’re interested in is a member. However, the code is only voluntary, so you should not take this as a guarantee. Also, some reputable franchises choose not to be affiliated with the BFA.
Bear in mind that your future success depends, in part, to your franchisors, so it’s important that you get on well with them and feel that you can work with them.
Talk to existing franchisees
Do not simply call a list of names given by a franchisor – unscrupulous operators have been known to plant people on the list who give a favourable impression when the opposite is true.
Ask for a list of names and contact details from which you can choose yourself. Talk to them at length about everything from making profits, how they operate and hours to what their relationship is like with the franchisor.