Hi there... although I'm not a franchisee.. I do work in the franchise industry as part owner of a online franchise directory for 7 years now... In general I've heard only good things about starting up in franchising as it is much more successful than just going solo. My advice is to do your research and check out the franchise company and yes, speak to their franchisees. On the whole if you look for one that is BFA (British Franchise Association) Accredited then you know they have at least been checked out by the BFA and that their offering is kosher at least. Of course no business opportunity comes without risk... but checking out their support structures and knowing you will get the backup and help you need is what will set them aside from others. My Co-partner Nick, wrote a helpful blog article recently on how to choose a franchise which you might find helpful: Recession is presenting new opportunities for franchise start-ups | Franchise Blog at Select Your Franchise
It includes a "10 things to discover before buying a franchise" section which might be of help.
One of our clients (SphereMania) runs a franchise company across the UK with 11 locations, each of them a franchise. They're great guys and I'm sure they'll be willing to help or point you in the right direction and who best to speak too.
Not a franchise as such, but I've bought a license to operate in the North of England providing training courses for PAs, secretaries and administrators to support them in setting up their own Virtual Assistant business.
It's early days and I've got my first course booked for the 16th & 17th October in Leeds.
If so, we'd love to hear your tale. Was it wasy to get going? Expensive? Any disasters along the way?
Does anyone own a franchise? As above!
We are currently looking at franchising each county, put some feelers out and had a fairly good result, looking at making it enough that they need to earn it back (create the drive in their sales) but enough that its very affordable and will not run at a loss (£499)
It may seem daft but our thinking is that we would rather have people buy into it then sales staff, there is so little drive when backed by a basic salary, I started with comms only at 16 and they were the days I wish would return.
...it is usually sink or swim for the buyer. I have seen some disasters...
Its true theres some rogues out there. I'm an avid fan of franchising (been connecting with many different franchise businesses around 7 years now) but I think many can fall into the illusion that the "franchise" label alone gives the business opportunity credibility and can lull the uninformed into a false sense of security. Its an investment and like any investment some good background checking and due dilligence should be carried out to give yourself the confidence to stump up your hard cash.
Theres nothing to stop anyone claiming their opportunity is a 'franchise' but by checking out the background of the company... chatting to their existing franchisees to see what their experiences are... and checking with the British Franchise Association to see if they are members or if there are any known issues with the franchise management team (historic failed businesses etc) can usually give you as much confidence as you can get.
It still doesn't guarantee success but will give you a good fighting chance to make it work if you know you have stable backup and support from the franchisor in conjunction with a well documented and proven model.
I have two clients who run children related franchises but they have a hard job making more than a wage out of them. These are definitely bias towards the franchisor as they take far more out than the people working the franchises and their hands are completely tied about marketing - no doubt in case they cross into another territory - but means their growth possibilities are almost nil. The allowed marketing doesn't work at all either.
I also looked at a courier franchise a few years ago for a client but managed to convince him before he sank £'000's in that he would struggle to make any money at all, let alone recoup the investment and make a living as well.
Finally, I took on a client who was a mobile mechanic. He had spent several years fighting his old franchisor for his money back due to failed promises, non existant vehicle and equipment etc.. He lost around £9k and this is back in the last century. The franchisor went bust - that was the excuse.
I expect there may be some reputable franchises out there but I would need to see some seriously impressive figures and several successful franchisees before I recommended a client put money into one.
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I am thinking about a bookkeeping franchise and found a really unique, funky brand in the shape of Boogles Ltd. They have been around for 7 years now and decided to franchise across the UK. They have some different products and totally different from the typical bookkeepers which attracted me and do books, kids games and songs as well as all things bookkeeping and an even better start up costs...check them out; booglesltd.com
My wife bought in to a franchise and also lost about £40k like MattPoll said, from my experience I would say if you want to buy in to a franchise only do it with a large company that is very well known across the UK, it's the smaller ones that are made to look more attractive than they are are you can get bitten, it's a rock and a hard place though as smaller franchise is cheaper so less to lose but more of a risk where the larger companies are very expensive but are "almost" guaranteed to work and at what level is up to the individual owner.
I personally would never touch one again unless it was the same industry I was in so knew a hell of a lot about it, enough to know if worth while or not or at least to know if a franchise would actually make you more money than if you started on your own.
having done mine on my own I feel much better about myself and am much prouder, yes I know more money is also better but that's were you need to be able to tell the difference. If you have the confidence and belief to make it on your own then you will do as well if not better than with a franchise ......
...... and maybe turn your company in to a franchise yourself one day
I was recently enticed to visit the 'Grow your own business' exhibition on the grounds that it provided networking opportunities.
When I got there I discovered that it was happening 'in association' with a franchise exhibition - and the 'grow your own business' section was four fairly useless stands. The whole event was really about promoting franchises. The only networking was talking to people wanting to sell a franchise.
While I found the event interesting, I was also disappointed that the marketing for the event had been, in my opinion, somewhat underhand. Reading this thread only increases my feelings that taking on franchise is fraught with risk and the world of franchising is quite murky.
I'm sure there are plenty of legitimate and successful franchisors and franchisees out there. But I'm guessing there are also those hoping to take large chunks of cash off the recently-redundant in return for vague promises of a future income stream.
I have worked for printing.com for ten years and performed a MBO in 2005 to become the Territory Franchisee for South Yorkshire & South Humber.
As well being an extremely successful franchisee myself, I also licence out to creative businesses in the area. I then provide ongoing support and mentoring to help them operate the business model and systems. So far I look after eight other businesses, all of whom are growing.
In my experience, people entering into a franchise make the following mistakes:
1) They think that having a franchise is 'sales on a plate'. Wrong. A franchisee will still have to work hard on the normal business development activities. The franchise provides a recognised brand, a business model, tried and tested processes, an approach to delivering the product/service and experience and support. But sales will not neccesarily come to you and it still stands that our most proactive and charismatic franchisees are our most successful. No different to the rest of the business world!
2) Trying to 'reinvent the wheel'. As I've said above, when buying a franchised business you are accessing sometimes years and years of experience, trials and tribulations, testing and development. Certainly with printing.com, what we do works and it works at it's best when it is taken as a whole. Where things fall down is when the franchisee picks and chooses the elements they most like/agree with/are most comfortable with. A franchise is a 'business model' and should be utilise in this way to get the most from it. There is simply no point investing in that model if you have no intention of doing it in exactly the prescribed way!
As you'll probably gather, I'm a dedicated, fully paid-up printing.com-er! I'm very passionate about my business and the franchise model and I think if a franchise is a good one, this is what you should get from it.
Hope my insight helps others - I'd welcome any comments you might have
I recently published an article by Philip Wylie, who is the author of two successful business books. It's a three parter and includes the advantages and disadvantages of franchising, as well as an evaluation checklist to go through if you're contemplating going into such a business.
Franchising is another form of licensing agreement whereby, as the franchiser, you transfer to the franchisee a total business concept which he exploits within a given territory in return for royalties for the IPRs licensed. There is also commonly a supply arrangement whereby the franchisee is committed to buying his requirements from you.
A franchising agreement would normally involve the supply to the franchisee of expertise, branding, corporate image and management support. In return you would hope to receive an initial sum, payment for goods supplied and sales-based royalties.
Other key provisions would include the following:
The duration and territory of the franchise;
the franchisee's obligations and minimum performance requirements;
price and payment for supplies of stock; royalty levels and payment;
records that the franchisee must keep for your inspection;
your obligations to support the franchisee;
confidentiality issues; termination arrangements and your respective rights on termination;
and applicable law and dispute resolution. Franchising is equally applicable for UK only or overseas use. Overseas, it may be appropriate to appoint a national head-franchisee to monitor and police local sub-franchisees.
Competition law must also be taken into account in developing collaborative arrangements such as Manufacturing Licences and Franchising. EU competition law prohibits agreements or concerted practices which prevent, restrict or distort competition and affect UK and/or EU trade
Hope these points would help any of you how is thinking to go into franchising. Also - have a look at this franchise directory it might give you some ideas.
I recently started a franchise.... I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.
I did have a little bit of marketing exprience but had never been able to make these things work. I had spent several thousand on the last failed attempt and had nothing to lose. But nothing prepared me for what happened next.
Now I was getting much different results. which was shocking as I didn't have a massive marketing budget... infact I wasn't spending a penny on advertising. It was the amazingly well planned system that was converting. At least 1 in every 3 people that came to my site left their details asking for more information.
so fastforward a few weeks: I now have people in my business Im making sales for the 1st time.... but there is more.
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Last edited by danieldarmody; 30-08-2010 at 12:53 AM..