The current economy may be tough for many individuals who are looking, without much luck, for work that will get some money coming in again. But for franchisors who offer an alternative to the headaches and insecurities of corporate employment, business is on the rise.
And buying into a franchise system can be a smart investment for someone who doesn’t feel secure about a future working for someone else. An auto service, fast food outlet, mailing center or other kind of franchised business can provide a solid and predictable income.
But that choice has some dangers and drawbacks that the franchisors don’t always mention when they’re signing up new franchisees and collecting substantial fees from people who want to buy a business.
For those wondering whether to leave--or have been pushed off the corporate ladder, and are considering a career as a franchisee, here are some of the primary arguments for and against that choice.
A proven system is one of the key advantages offered by franchisors. They’ll tell you, when selling a business--and it’s somewhat true--that they’ve already made the mistakes in perfecting the model, so you don’t have to. They’ve established a brand that is recognized in their market, and they’ve learned what works to promote sales.
Buying a franchise often is easier than getting an independent business for sale because a potential purchaser has plenty of people--other franchisees--who can help with the due diligence by discussing their own success and problems. Besides, there often is better financing available when setting up or acquiring a franchise, compared to the challenge of raising the funds needed to acquire a non-franchised enterprise.
Once in business, many franchisees appreciate the practical and experienced advice they get about building sales and avoiding problems from the franchisor. And they benefit from pricing and service advantages when purchasing products and supplies that they can acquire with other franchisees at group rates.
But buyer candidates are advised not to get swept away by the franchisor’s assurances and enthusiasm, because franchises fail more frequently than the parent companies admit. And there are some negatives to this business strategy that the franchisor won’t reveal.
The first drawback, of course, is the need to pay a fee of several thousand dollars, maybe tens or hundreds of thousands, just for the privilege in investing in the business. That chunk of cash is required in addition to the money a buyer has to produce for build-out of a new franchise or acquisition of an existing business for sale. Then there’s working capital and marketing money that must go into the pot. Yes there may be financing through the company, but supporting that debt can take much or all of the profit of the business.
And while there is benefit to a system that is proven to work in producing and selling products and services, it also means limitations. The franchisee usually can’t expand the business by addition of say, ice cream cones at the sandwich shop, or by performing brake jobs along with transmission repairs. Violation of the franchise agreement by breaking the rules can have dire consequences, such as losing the business and all that was invested.
Also to be considered is how quickly the asset of a well-recognized brand name can become a liability. Just ask fast food franchise owners who suffered a big drop in business, not their fault, because of bad publicity when another franchisee sold contaminated french fries.
As in any business decision, the best approach to determining whether a franchise purchase is a good idea, starts with common sense and includes some research and knowledge of, or a quick education about the industry in which the company is involved.
About The Author - Peter Siegel is the founder and President of BizBen.com - Businesses For Sale In California. A nationally recognized author (3 books and a syndicated small business blog) and expert consultant. If you are selling a business and need professional assistance utilizing high performance advertising, marketing, and highly effective strategies, or individual customization with your BizBen Power Search options in buying a California business, you can reach him at 866-270-6278.
|Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses|
|Joe Sandbank, Esq. - Legal Services
I have provided legal counsel to business buyers, sellers and brokers for over 17 years. With prior experience as a business broker and SBA loan officer, Joe brings both a practical and legal approach to all aspects of the business acquisition process.
|Brad Steinberg, Broker - Laundromat Specialists
PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.
|Mark Chatow, Esq.: Legal Services For Buying, Selling Businesses
Mark has a broad range of small business purchase & sale experience from analyzing potential acquisition targets to successfully guiding buyers and sellers through the purchase & sale of small businesses. Mark can assist with contracts, negotiations, legal matters, etc. Reach Mark at 949-478-8393.
|Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF Bay Area
McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.
|Janet Carrera - Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - SF Bay Area
Redwood Escrow Services, Inc. is a full service, licensed independent escrow company. We are EAFC Fidelity bonded, fully insured & licensed with the Department of Corporations. Committed to offering our clients the most comprehensive variety of escrow services available. Phone Janet at 510-247-0741.
|Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence Services
Willard Michlin, CPA #106752, offers buyers step by step training & assistance in doing Due Diligence Services when they are thinking of making an offer, or are in process of investigating a business purchase. He helps to determine the actual net profit even when there is cash. Call 805-428-2063.
|Ranvir S. Sandhu, Esq. - Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers
I've worked at top Bay Area law firms and have extensive experience with business entity formation, mergers, dissolutions, conversions, employment matters, including experience in reviewing and negotiating transactional documents such as leases and purchase agreements.
|Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow And Bulk Sale Services
California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.
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