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Franchise Financing - Finding the Money

The cost of buying a franchise can be substantial, but you don't have to be a trust fund baby to get into the franchise of your dreams. Where is the funding going to come from? That's the number one question franchise buyers ask. There are numerous sources of capital, but start with these basic steps first.

  1. Talk to the franchisor. About one in three franchisors provide franchise financing directly or have arrangements with third party lenders. You will find any financing arrangements spelled out in Item 10 of the FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document). Even if the franchisor doesn't have money to offer, it is still the best source of information about your financing options.
  2. Look within. It is a common misconception that you can or should borrow all the money to open a franchise. Be prepared to come up with at least 25 to 30 percent of the total start-up costs. To assess personal resources, start by preparing a personal financial statement (you'll need one to present to lenders anyway).
  3. Ask family and friends. This is one of the most common ways to finance a franchise. After all, who knows your dreams and capabilities better? Plus, they want to help you succeed.
  4. Call your accountant. Ask your accountant to recommend a banker. A good accountant - one with small business experience - is usually a great source of leads.
  5. Find a specialist. You should start at the bank where you do your personal banking, but there's a good chance you won't get what you need there. Local banks are often unable to fund franchise projects. Your chances will be much better with independent lenders like GE Capital Franchise Finance that specialize in franchise lending.
  6. Search the SBA Franchise Registry (www.franchiseregistry.com). The SBA's small business lending guarantee program is a key source of loans. This program for new franchise buyers is much easier to access since the creation of the Franchise Registry, a central database of information about franchisors that have been certified by the SBA.

Desperate Times Means Desperate Franchise Buyers

Early in my career, I encountered a franchise buyer who had made a rash decision that turned sour quickly. The funny thing was that he was intelligent, experienced and had a great deal of corporate knowledge – all the attributes that franchisors desire for their many franchise opportunities. I was intrigued that this experienced and generally deliberate person would make such a bad decision. So what went wrong?

"Buying" A Franchise

Here at FranchiseHelp we’re constantly asked about the opportunity to buy a franchise. Unfortunately I’m going to have to tell you something that might disappoint you. You can’t “buy” a franchise. In reality you are engaging in a “leasing” transaction rather than a “purchasing” transaction. Why is it a lease? In any franchise deal, the franchisee receives the assets up front, but only for a period of time - the term of the franchise agreement. The term of the agreement may run for five to ten years, or in some cases it may run for as little as a year or two. At the end of the day the renewals of these agreements are at the option of the franchisor, and the reasons for not renewing an agreement should be completely spelled out in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and franchise agreement.

Searching for the Best Franchises for Minorities

Many franchises incentivize minorities to join their systems. As president of the World Franchising Network Rob Bond puts it, these franchises "grease the skids" on behalf of minority candidates because they see value in promoting diversity among their franchisees. On account of a still-languid economy, however, many franchisors' approach has changed significantly in recent years. As Bond explains, “African Americans and Hispanics were being aggressively recruited five years ago to fill vacancies.” But today most franchisors are more concerned with trying to grease the skids for foreign investors with significant piles of investment capital.