Seasonal franchises

Come rain or shine, seasonal franchises continue to weather the economic storm but do they offer the same benefits as all year round business opportunities?

If you’re looking for a franchise opportunity that offers flexibility and variety, a seasonal franchise may be what you have been looking for.

Seasonal franchises include a vast range of business models including ice cream parlours, caravan clubs, gardening services and Christmas and Hallowe’en outlets. However, opting for a business that does not often have a regular monthly turnover can present a number of problems and, therefore, may only be suitable for those with excellent management skills and budgeting sense.

So, when your peak selling season lasts only a few months, how do you keep your business going, especially when there’s rent to pay, supplies to purchase and a payroll to meet?

The Christmas Decorators Managing Director, Nick Bolton, assures that, as long as you’re willing to put in the work, there is no reason why a seasonal franchise should not achieve the same profit as a year round business.

“One of the biggest benefits of a seasonal franchise, like The Christmas Decorators, is that it allows you to make a full year’s profit in a very short, concentrated time,” he reveals. “In our case, many of our new franchise owners tell us that they have earned the equivalent of a year’s salary in just two to three months.”

“It does mean a few very busy and sometimes pressurised months with some fairly long working days involved, but that does create certain luxuries too. It means that for the rest of the year, you can focus on sales and marketing activities to ensure that you expand and grow the business year-on-year.”

Owning a seasonal franchise can also have some real business advantages. For example, seasonal staff can be hired rather than employing a large work force all year round, which means that you can keep overheads to a minimum for the rest of the year.

Budgeting and forward planning are the keys to success. It is vital you don’t have a shortage of materials or products when the main season of business begins so that you can provide the very best service for all of your customers. A successful seasonal franchise is created in the off-season, through preparation and proper financing.

“Planning ahead and arranging leafleting and marketing strategies for the following year is very important,” says TruGreen Network Manager, Steve Welch. “It is vital these are planned to coincide with the seasonal nature of the business to maximise your income.”

While seasonal franchises can offer full-time benefits for part of the year, it’s important to realise that they may not produce sufficient income for weeks and sometimes months at a time, which is why it is important for franchise owners to utilise their services and skills to their full advantage.

Steve adds: “At TruGreen we recommend that our franchise owners look to sell additional supplementary services for the lawn, including winter fungicide applications in combating winter seasonal diseases.”

Nick Bolton confirms that while seasonal franchises have their peak selling times, it doesn’t mean the work just stops.

“We always say ‘Christmas doesn’t just happen’ – it takes a full year in the planning. While the months leading up to Christmas certainly are the most busy in terms of actually taking orders and installing our products for customers, we still have plenty of work to do at other times of the year too – creating new products and testing out new ideas, marketing the company and developing our customer base.”

New franchise owners also need to place strong importance on how much support they will receive from their franchisor, as it could be vital to ensuring maximum returns and long-term success.

However, no matter how much training and support is given, franchise owners must realise that a lot of hard work and business flair is the key to success within the seasonal franchise market.

Potential franchise owners are reminded that before committing to any franchise they must make sure they do adequate market research and undertake sufficient preparation before signing on the dotted line.

Written by Tiffany Brooking