Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What are the advantages of investing in a franchise over starting a
business for yourself?
Answered by Pam Bader OBE, CEO of MOLLY MAID (pictured right, top): Franchising is an ideal way for people to enter into business. The facts speak for themselves, more franchise businesses survive than ‘go it alone’ businesses in the first three years and while going into franchising can never guarantee you’ll be 100 per cent successful, it’s a safer route. You stand a far greater chance of building a successful business through the training and support provided by a franchisor and following a proven business format.
MOLLY MAID offers, among other things, a strong brand name, proven systems for marketing, human resource management and operations and you make the decisions within a proven framework that takes away many of the risks of being your own boss leaving you with the rewards.
Question: How will buying a franchise affect my work/life balance?
Answered by Godfrey Lancashire, Managing Director of London House International (pictured right, second from top): Buying a franchise is buying into a business opportunity, not buying a job. It is giving you the opportunity to realise your dreams and, therefore, the time you invest will depend on your own and very individual business and personal goals.
It is not a job and so you can forget Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. Establishing any business is hard work, however much you enjoy it and, especially at the beginning, hours will be long – but flexible – perhaps some time off midweek made up at the weekend or taking a child to school, making time up in the evening.
The choices will be yours but do not underestimate the time you will spend – researching, meeting clients, doing the accounts, ordering, meeting suppliers, time spent on premises issues, perhaps interviewing and training staff and meeting the franchisor’s requirements and targets.
And yet it can be fun, stimulating, exciting, it can make you money, it can free you from the politics of a PAYE job. Running your own business can be the most satisfying opportunity ever and can give you the freedom to manage your own time. A final word of advice – do involve all your close family at the outset and get their support – you will need it. Good luck.
Question: Do I need previous experience in business to buy a franchise?
Answered by Simon Dalziel, Franchise Manager of Bluebird Care (pictured right, centre): The prior experience requirements for each franchise opportunity will vary according to the nature of the business. In general though, one of the main advantages about starting a franchise business is the opportunity to start a business where you are not on your own. Your franchisor will be acting as your ‘business mentor’ in all aspects of the business.
At Bluebird Care the majority of our franchise owners have no experience in the care sector before they join us.
Question: How soon can I expect to make money back from a franchise?
Answered by Geoff Whittle, Managing Director of ProKill (pictured right, second from bottom): Franchise owners should be taking a salary within months and earning back the cost of the franchise within two years. Obviously everyone is different and each franchise owner works according to his own agenda.
Question: How safe is my investment with a franchise?
Answered by Nigel Toplis, Managing Director of Recognition Express (pictured right, bottom): As with anything in life, it is never easy to predict the future and one can never say that any business is ‘guaranteed’. However, there are certain steps one can take to best evaluate the robustness of a franchisor and their business.
Here are 10 things to think about:
- If they are members of the British Franchise Association then the franchise will have undergone rigorous checks.
- If the business has been going for a number of years, there is a better chance that it has been through economic turmoils.
- Look at the level and quality of support from the franchisor – do they proactively cover marketing, training, operations, finance as the key aspects of any business?
- Check that the franchisor has real support people – not just ‘telephone support’.
- Does the business have multiple income streams or is it reliant on one product or service?
- Does the franchisor make most of their money through on-going service fees based on franchise owners performance or mainly through recruiting new franchise owners?
- Does the franchisor have a history and reputation for introducing new products to their network?
- Ask for the last three years’ accounts of the franchisor and speak to a selection of franchise owners.
- Ask the following – do you feel the industry is robust? Is there a big enough market in your territory?
- Can this franchise successfully access the market?