How To Choose the Right Franchise to Buy: Best Bets for New Franchise Owners

Samir Sampat

Buying a franchise is a great way to get started in business when you don’t want to start from scratch. Franchises have a track record of success and many of the biggest names in the corporate world are franchise operations: 

  • McDonald’s 
  • KFC
  • 7-Eleven
  • Marriott International
  • Burger King
  • Century 21
  • The UPS Store
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Of course, these premium brands come at a premium price so they might not be ideal for every franchise owner or owner-to-be. How, though, can you make sure that you choose the right franchise to buy? Here are some things to keep in mind. 

Step one: Get to know yourself 

This is a critical part of any business ownership. You need to take a minute to get honest and dig deep to figure out what you’re hoping to accomplish and why you think a franchise is the right solution. Consider how much money you have to invest in this business so that you know, realistically, what you can afford. 

Franchises all have different costs. Some are relatively affordable while others, such as many of the premium brands above, have minimum net worth and investment requirements in the millions, so they might not be for everyone. This is something to consider very carefully so that you know what you can afford. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • How much risk are you willing to take on?
  • How involved do you plan to be?
  • What are you skilled at?
  • Are you looking for status or success?

These questions will help you get a better sense of which franchise opportunities will best suit your professional style and your business goals, as well as your budget and other needs. 

Don’t forget an exit strategy

Too often, people start out in the franchise process without thinking about their endgame. Eventually, potential franchisors need to ask themselves if they intend to stick around for the long haul, or if they are just trying to make some cash and then flip it onto the next buyer. This is an important thing to consider because some franchises might have restrictions on how you can or cannot sell the business, as well as whether you can even scale your business.

If you don’t consider these factors, you could find yourself stuck in a hard place in a few years when you’re ready to move on. This isn’t saying that you absolutely have to leave. It’s just a plan to help you figure out your next moves once you reach a point where you want to move forward or into something else. 

Start looking at the options

One of the best ways to choose the right franchise is to just start looking around to see what’s out there. Don’t necessarily look at specific brands but consider the business types and industries (such as retail, mobile pet grooming, home-based business, etc.) and take a logical approach to your consideration. Think about the work involved and whether it matches up with the goals and plans that you have for your business ownership. 

Then, you’ll be able to create a shortlist of options that align with your needs. These businesses should be something that interest you enough that you’re willing to work hard at it to make it successful. You need to make sure that you choose something that’s in high demand. And for first timers, some of the best options include:

  • Home cleaning franchises
  • Pest control services
  • Glass replacement franchises
  • Mobile auto detailing/repair
  • Vacation/travel planning

These are ideal for first-time franchisees because they are low-cost options that are easy to get started. They also have a simple business structure that is easy to follow, even if you’ve never owned a business before. 

Talk to the companies 

With your shortlist, you will want to start making contact. Feel free to call, email, or otherwise connect with the franchisors that you are considering. Ask questions about their business structure, their franchise guidelines, how they assist franchisees, and other questions. Research their current sales and profits and make sure that there’s room for another location in the market. And, ask about any marketing campaigns or other tools and solutions that may be included with the franchise rights that you’re buying. These people want you to choose their business so they will answer as many questions as you can come up with. Don’t hesitate to ask anything that you want to know or don’t understand. 

You’ll want to find a franchise that has professionalism, a strong support system, and that helps you ensure that it’s a good fit before anyone agrees to anything. The best franchises thrive on mutual expectations and a shared goal to help the brand grow and succeed. 

Talk to others

Finally, make sure that you take the time to check out the reviews and testimonials that you can find for the different franchises that you’re considering. Feedback from existing franchisees and online reviews are a great way to see how it is to be a franchise owner with each brand that you are thinking about. 

Ask people about what they like and don’t like, what the fees are like, and whether there are exclusivity issues or location requirements that need to be met in order to successfully open a franchise. Also, look at the way that the parent company responds to the reviews that are found online. If they’re helpful and reach out to people seeking to resolve any issues, they’re probably going to be the kind of company that you’d like to own. 

Speaking of talking, who’s answering all those incoming calls?

While you’re choosing and building your franchise operation, are you prepared for all the new leads that will be coming your way? A 24/7 answering service like the one offered by the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai is a great start, but that’s not all you need. Let us help with appointment scheduling, outreach campaigns, and anything else you have in mind. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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