Finding the Right Franchise

A successful venture depends more on you then your money

this one off,” Stanback says. “You leave your office and all of a sudden you’re just one of the kitchen workers.”

But Stanback stands by the idea that his open personality could carry him through any job. “I can get along with and [work with] pretty much anybody no matter their walk of life,” he says, noting that with the FiltaFry franchise his job responsibilities can lean anywhere from marketing his services to chain restaurant executives to working in a kitchen with minimum wage workers.

Acknowledging the time commitment

Next, Brewer asks potential franchisees to determine what amount of time they want to commit to the franchise. “You should not bite off more than you can comfortably chew,” she says, noting that owning a franchise requires dedication that will make your 9-to-5 look like a hobby. In Stanback’s case, Brewer suggests that he may have jumped the gun by entering into his second franchise. “If you haven’t mastered all of the techniques and processes that you need to make one unit successful, opening up another one on the heels of that one can have a negative trickle down effect.”

In hindsight, Stanback, now 42, admits that instead of investing in another franchise, he should have pooled his resources into Friendly Computer and accepted J.P. Morgan’s job offer. Although he has hired four Friendly Computer technicians and two FiltaFry workers, balancing two franchises has prevented him from growing either one the way he would have liked. Fortunately, he has been able to hire staff to drive the vans while he acts as administrator.

Brewer warns that if you plan to add a partner to divide the workload or want to continue working a part-time or full-time job while running the franchise, then the type of franchises available to you could be limited. For example, McDonald’s requires that franchisees not work another job and it does not allow partnerships.

Determining profit and affordability

Finally, your franchise’s affordability will make a case for which business to invest in or whether you should invest at all. “Some franchises might take a year or two to break even and make a profit,” Brewer says. You should ask yourself if you “can reasonably live off of a minimum amount while trying to get the business started.” Stanback’s wife continues to work a full-time job to help supplement the family’s income.

When considering a franchise, take into account miscellaneous expenses, repairs, and fees for legal, accounting, promotion, and equipment that aren’t always built into the initial franchise fee. “You need to look for what type of training and support will be involved and the additional costs associated with that,” Brewer says, adding that franchisees should ask if the franchisor offers health insurance and have a contingency in one’s business plan and budget if not.

Stanbeck says Friendly Computer requires him to spend an additional $500 a month for a national promotion that has only netted him one client when he could have spent that money to advertise locally. He admits that he works harder now

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