Deciding to purchase a franchise is a serious decision that should be made only after arming yourself with the facts. Franchising is going into business for yourself but not by yourself. There is a ton of research you need to do to find the perfect franchise opportunity for you. You should decide if you want a food franchise, service based franchise, or even a brick and mortar option. There are thousands of franchise opportunities to choose from. If you want an established brand you will likely pay more and never get to know the founder. If you choose a startup you won’t have the sophisticated systems that more established brands have but you will likely get the territory of your choice and get in on the ground before it explodes.
There are many things you need to look at when evaluating a brand that is best for you. You should look at the overall culture of the company. Is the culture in line with your beliefs? As a franchisor, we look at the person who will be running the franchise and make sure their beliefs are in line with our companies. As a franchisee candidate, you must remember that you are not only buying a franchise, you must be awarded the franchise from the franchisor. At Spaulding Decon we do not sell franchises. We award franchises to candidates who we feel have the best opportunity to be successful.
As an emerging franchisor, we made mistakes in vetting franchisee candidates. I remember my first franchisee training class. I knew the very first day of training that I had made a grave mistake in choosing the two candidates as franchisees. One franchisee paid little attention in training and acted like he was on vacation instead of starting a new business. The other guy flew to Orlando instead of Tampa so he could save $40 on a flight. Then when he arrived to Tampa for training he stayed in a $40 a night hotel room that was riddled with drugs and prostitutes. As a franchisor, we learn lessons too. I know everything about running a Spaulding Decon business but I was also learning how to be a franchisor.
To decide which opportunity is best for you; decide what kind of life you would like to have. Do you want to be hands on or an absentee owner? If the opportunity gives you a range of $200K-$250K you should have access to $300K. Think of franchising like remodeling your home. If the contractor says your kitchen will cost $50K to remodel it will likely cost $75-$100K. Always plan on having more money than you need. Over estimate on everything. Throw the excess money into marketing if there is any.
Consider the lifestyle the franchise provides. Spaulding Decon franchisees have to be ready at a moment’s notice for an emergency cleanup. If emergency response cleanup service is not for you then you should consider a 9-5 like a staffing company. One of the things we look for as a franchisor is individuals who are looking to buy a job. We are not awarding jobs. We are awarding business ownership in our system to those who qualify and have the right temperament and mind set to be successful. We provide personality tests for all candidates who are considering a franchise with us. We weight this test very heavily. If the candidate does not score well that just means they are not a good fit for our system. This does not mean you are not a good fit for another system.
Attend a Discovery Day. Attending a discovery day is mandatory for our brand. If you do not attend that shows us that you are making little effort and you don’t really care about the system or the people that operate it. Many brands will allow you to skip a discovery day. I believe this is a fatal error. You must discover whether the company is a good fit for you. This is likely going to be a 10-year marriage. If you do not like the founder or what the company stands for then you just saved yourself a 10-year mistake. Always attend the Discovery Day process and meet everyone.
Finally, do not buy a franchise because you think it’s easier than starting your own business and you don’t want to work hard. Owning a franchise is just as hard as starting your own business. You will receive training and support however this does not alleviate you from working to build your business. Some franchisees require a lot more hand holding than others. A good franchisor will assign a franchise development person that matches your personality best.