How to Select the Right Franchise

Most people are familiar with the concept of franchising but they often equate it to large fast-food corporations like McDonalds and Subway.

Many people aren’t aware that there are thousands of franchise opportunities available, encompassing a variety of different industries.

But, with so many franchise opportunities out there, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one? This article will share insight into why franchising is an attractive option, details that potential owners need to think about before joining a franchise, and information about the selection process.

Why Franchising?

Franchising is an attractive option for individuals who want to operate their own business and for those who want access to resources that are going to help them grow their business.

Successful franchises are prosperous for a reason—the franchisors have already done the heavy lifting and have identified a profitable market opportunity. When you choose to join a franchise, you have instant access to a proven business model that is designed to serve a specific market. Franchisors have also built the necessary systems and processes their franchisees need to accelerate growth and get their businesses off the ground. This allows the franchisees to focus on their customers’ experience, employee recruitment, and ongoing employee—rather than on possible setbacks in their business structure.

Joining a franchise also opens the door to an instant network of business professionals within the same industry. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie and frequent knowledge-sharing among franchisees.

Is It Right For You?

Before selecting a franchise, candidates should ask themselves a few questions to determine whether or not they should continue moving forward in the selection process.

1.  “Do I want to be involved in a franchise, or do I want to do this by myself?”

Often times a candidate is experiencing something in their career that’s pushing them to start their own business, or start on a new track. During this time self-reflection is critical. If a candidate does decide they want to join a franchise, they have to understand that there are certain brand standards and processes they must abide by. While the franchisor is there to support their franchisees, it’s also their job to enforce the franchise’s rules and regulations. Candidates need to be able to trust the franchisor’s business model and not have the desire to ‘go rogue.’

On the other hand, if the candidate wants to go into business on their own, they have to understand and accept all of the risks involved. Owning a small business is particularly tough on the owner. Important decisions—like how to create a successful business model, which employees should be hired, how should you run the day-to-day operations, and who will conduct the training—all fall to the owner, which can lead to a higher risk of owner burn out. This increases the risk of the business either plateauing or failing. By joining a franchise, sole business owners have the ability to continue to carry out their passion while creating infrastructure to support a more profitable business.

2.  “Do I want to be the one running the business, or do I want to be the one performing the work?”

Some people want to be hands on and physically carry out the job, while others prefer to manage and oversee the company’s operations. For instance, tradespeople like craftsmen, mechanics, plumbers, and designers, are typically happy with the hands-on nature of their work. Overseeing the operations of a business wouldn’t satisfy their needs.

3.  “Will the revenue and profit generated by the business allow me to achieve my desired lifestyle?”

There are always costs associated with owning your own business, even in franchising. From a financial standpoint, candidates must be able to afford the initial fee to join the franchise. In addition, owning your own business requires an extensive amount of time and energy—particularly in the first two years. Candidates need to consider if they’re willing to invest the time it takes to nurture their business. If they’re committed to growing their business, they will have the opportunity to increase their ROI each year—which leads to accomplishing the candidate’s desired lifestyle goals, whether it be spending more time with friends/family, or taking more time off to travel, etc.

How to Choose the Right Franchise

It’s important to visit the franchisor before your purchase, so you can see if their culture aligns with yours. Candidates should also ask local franchisees about their experience. For instance, do their mission and values match yours? Does their level of customer service support the way you feel about treating customers? Feeling proud to be a part of your franchise is an important factor in choosing the right one.

Likewise, the franchise you buy into must be in an industry that’s sustainable. There has to be a constant need for that product or service in order to achieve sustainable growth. Opportunity for growth is another factor that candidates need to keep in mind. Just like in any business, franchisees constantly need to be thinking about how they’re going to market themselves and attract new customers.

Even though the process can seem overwhelming, if a candidate takes his or her time to do their homework, they will be able to identify which franchise is right for them.

Ken Hutcheson is President of U.S. Lawns, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ValleyCrest Landscape Companies. Mr. Hutcheson joined U.S. Lawns in 1995 and has been instrumental in growing the landscape management franchise organization from a regional 18-franchise network to a national franchise industry leader with over 250 franchises. U.S. Lawns services customers in all 48 continuous states. Based in Orlando, Florida, U.S. Lawns is nourished by the values and passion of family-owned and operated franchise businesses and Mr. Hutcheson is a champion of the entrepreneurial spirit and teamwork that defines its culture.

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