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What is a Franchise?

Most of you are probably already familiar with franchises. You may even patronize a variety of franchised businesses without realising that they are franchises. These businesses range from car servicing and financial services to yogurt and home repairs. According to the International Franchise Association(IFA) franchises employed nearly 9,000,000 Americans in 2015 and generated nearly $880 billion. Franchising is difficult to escape.

The technical definition falls fairly in line with what we all typically think a franchise is - “an authorization granted by a company to an individual or group enabling them to carry out specified commercial activities”. Basically they are businesses operated by an individual or a group (the franchisee(s)) that shares a common product and/or trade name to the parent company (the franchisor).

But, what you might not know is that there are actually two major types of franchises: product/trade name franchises and business format franchises. In product and trade name franchises the franchisee (operator of the individual business) has use of a product or trade name, but no supporting relationship with the franchisor (larger company). This means that the franchisee basically operates the business independently, but does benefit from the marketing and advertising efforts of the franchise system. You’ll typically see these types of franchises for products that are older and established with a proven customer base. Some of the most common if these businesses are auto dealerships, gas stations, and soft drink bottling companies. On the other hand business format franchises is a setup that is characterized by an on- going business relationship between franchisor and franchisee. The franchisee is not only offered a trademark and a logo, but also a complete system of doing business. This is the more well known and much faster growing form of franchising, with world famous companies like McDonald’s, Holiday Inn, Century 21, and Baskin-Robbins using this format. This is also the form of franchises that we’ll primarily talk about on FranchiseHelp.

In the best of all worlds, the business format franchise is mutually beneficial for franchisor and franchisee alike. The franchisee typically pays an initial fee and ongoing royalties, giving the franchise system a continuous supply of working capital to develop and expand the organization. In turn, the franchisee gets a business package which would take years to develop and refine, a strengthened ability, to compete through the established brand identity and marketing power of the system, and the cost benefits and clout associated with the franchisor’s collective purchasing power.

Franchisee Insight: Learning from Franchisor Litigation (or Lack Thereof)

The Item 3 disclosure requirements are complex compared to other items of the FDD, but they can generally be summarized as follows. In Item 3, franchisors must disclose:

How Do You Pay for a Franchise?

Whether you’re purchasing a whopper from Burger King or joining the Burger King franchise system, the old mantra holds true: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. When you first get started running a franchise you need to pay a fee to allow you to enter into that franchise. These fees are the largest fees that you will normally pay a franchisor and typically range between $5,000 and $1,000,000 depending on the franchise. The franchisor charges this fee as a way to recoup the costs of expanding the franchise and to continue to grow. From a franchisee perspective, this is a major outlay and can take a long time to make back, but is a necessary step. Aspiring business owners must understand how much capital is available to them so they can ascertain how much they can afford. The cash you have at your disposal is known as liquidity, and there are numerous ways to increase your liquidity above the balance in your bank account. As a result, many people don’t realize how much capital they actually can use for investments, like launching a franchise branch. We’ll run through some of those methods below.