The right franchise can offer some very real benefits when it comes to starting and owning your own business. Quality franchises come with an established reputation, documented systems and procedures and clear set-up costs.
But with 1200 franchises currently in operation throughout Australia, selecting the right one for you can soon become a daunting task. If you’re considering buying into a brand here’s a guide to what to look for in a franchise.
The biggest potential benefit of a franchise is that the essential groundwork has been laid when it comes to building a brand. In other words, people have heard of the enterprise that you are buying into.
When weighing the pros and cons of each operation, conduct a little research into the general perception of this brand, asking yourself:
- Is it well-regarded?
- Is it nationally known?
- Does it evolve with the times?
- What do clients say about this brand? Is their perception of it positive?
A good franchise operation will have clear systems, procedures and training in place, and franchise management will be there to guide you every step of the way.
Consider the type of initial training and support provided, any licences that you might require, and the ongoing support that is offered after set-up.
Are there dedicated staff available at head office to assist with any questions you may have? Will you receive on-the-job training? What about operations manuals and procedural documents to guide you through the day-to day?
Although this training should not be onerous, support should be available, and not just at the start of your franchise relationship but throughout the business journey.
There are generally three sets of costs involved with owning a franchise:
- Initial buy-in
- Ongoing fees
Although these three types of costs are fairly standard, the outlay of each varies markedly, depending on the industry, the type of operation, the premises required and the structure of commissions or the marketing fees involved.
You should be fully aware of both initial and ongoing costs before deciding which franchise is right for you.
For example, some franchises have fixed premises and the expectation that not only will you fit them out to standard during set-up, you will upgrade them when required.
You should also be fully cognisant of exactly what plant and equipment is covered when you first buy into a franchise, how far your territory extends, and whether marketing is covered in the ongoing fees.
Meanwhile, are there any hidden costs or extras that might incur a financial outlay in the long term? Does the franchise have a 13 or 1300 number you will be required to contribute to, or will you have your own mobile number and fixed phone lines that need to be maintained?
A good franchise operator will be crystal clear on exactly who is responsible for the payment and upkeep of all components of the franchise operation.
Likelihood is a portion of your ongoing fees will go to marketing. That might be in the form of advertising locally and nationally, branding, and perhaps a central website.
But how good is that marketing? Does it look and feel current and contemporary? Is it kept up to date? Who maintains these assets? And what are their standard marketing styles?
A point of difference
In pure business terms, what point of difference does the franchise in question offer? Is it based on a current fad or is it an industry where growth and customer demand are likely to continue indefinitely?
As part of your due diligence you should investigate the operation’s Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats (SWOT).
A good franchise operator will offer this analysis to you, allowing you to understand the current competition, customer demand, and unique market position.
Some key tips
When considering any franchise, due diligence is imperative and that includes investigating both the financial and operational structures of the operation.
Meanwhile, in addition to the tips above, consider:
- Talking to other franchisees within the operation to gauge their perspective of the operation
- Whether you can envisage yourself working within this business everyday
- How approachable and transparent the franchise management team is
Gutter-Vac is an established brand with more than 20 years’ experience in the home services and maintenance industry. We’re proud to work in a service industry that continues to expand as more housing stock is built to meet Australia’s growing population needs.
Meanwhile, we’ve developed a proven system to clean gutters and water tanks using proprietary technology that is second to none. We also pride ourselves on the consistent support and training we offer our ever-growing family of franchisees.
If you’re looking to learn more about our exciting franchise opportunities, download our brochure here.