Franchises are among the most profitable business options available, but potential franchisees often have no idea what they should know or ask themselves before they get started in franchising. We've talked to franchisors and franchisees to compile this list (In a two-part series) of the 18 questions you must ask yourself as you explore getting in to franchising.
- Where will the business be LOCATED? In the city, suburbs, the countryside? This is an important item to consider as some franchise concepts make more sense in dense metropolitan areas whereas others may have a higher likelihood of success in less dense areas where real estate costs aren't as high. In addition, certain franchise concepts only allow midwest franchising, or west coast franchising, so that would be something to explore.
- Do I want to COMMUTE? If so, what are the time limits? You shouldn't stretch yourself to the absolute maximum your body can perform, as you will need all the energy you have for running your franchise and making sure it succeeds. If a commute is something you can't stand, don't let it become part of your new life.
- Do I want a HOME BASED FRANCHISE? If you feel you work best from the comfort of your own home, it may be easier for you to work with franchise concepts that have a clear system in place to run the business from home. But do your research: home-based franchises may turn out to be a terrible choice for you (read up on how to determine if you're right for a home-based franchise).
- How many DAYS OF THE WEEK do I want to work? Six or seven? How many hours per day? Often, different franchisors will requires different levels of involvement, so owning a Pinkberry franchise may differ significantly from running a UPS Store franchise.
- Do I want to be an ABSENTEE FRANCHISE OWNER? Do you want to really be involved in the growth of your business, or would you rather let someone else manage your franchise? Many franchise concepts require the franchisee to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the franchise, whereas some franchisors allow for passive ownership.
- Is there a SPECIFIC INDUSTRY I want to work in? This does not always have to be an industry that you have previous experience in. Many fast food franchises do not want to work with people who have previous experience in the restaurant business because they want to work with people they can train who will work within the existing system. Other industries (for example, some tax preparation franchises) may require previous experience or even a professional certification (e.g., a CPA).
- Are there any industries, products, or services that I will NOT WORK WITH under any circumstances? If you have religious or moral restrictions against eating or selling meat, for example, you may want to steer clear of the Arby's franchise opportunity. On the other hand, if you feel hesitation about the franchise you're interested in buying because you're not sure you've got what it takes, it really helps to go visit with and talk to other franchise owners to understand their experiences.
- Are there ANY SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES that you are most passionate about? For example, health nuts may have a deep interest in health/wellness franchises or a person that is interested in the environment may be best served pursuing a green franchise. Combining your personal interests with a franchise that matches often goes a long way towards achieving success.
- Do I want a PRODUCT or SERVICE FRANCHISE? Is this important to you?