BUYING A FRANCHISE
Choose your state to see a list of existing franchises for sale in your market.
Why Buy A Franchise
One of the biggest advantages to buying a franchise is name recognition. When you hang the sign outside or begin advertising, the consumer already knows who you are and what products or services you offer. That is a great benefit to your initial success. That could take years to accomplish if you decide to start your own private business.
System In Place
When you start a new business there are many things to consider. What products or services will you offer? How do you get the products and supplies to you? What technology do you need? What processes do you need? When buying a franchise, all of these questions have already been answered.
The success of the franchise brand is only achieved if they ensure their franchisees are well trained and have an intimate knowledge of how the business runs. The franchisor will train you on all facets of the business including distribution, product knowledge, operations, technology, customer service, accounting, and more.
Benefits Of Buying An Existing Franchise
If the franchise you want to buy requires you to find a site, you are already looking at a lengthy process. You will be competing with several other franchises to find the best site possible with great visibility, ample parking, easy to get to, etc. Depending on the market you are in, you could be looking at a year or two before you find the right location and get it approved by the franchisor. This lengthy process could greatly diminish your enthusiasm for your new career and will delay your ability to begin making money with your new business.
When buying an existing franchise business or investing in a franchise opportunity, you will be able to review the financials to get a history of sales, expenses, and profitability. When requesting this information, you should ask for at least the last three years of financials. When you open a new franchise your only tool for forecasting is the success of other locations in the system. This can vary wildly because there are so many variables such as market demographics, competition, competancy of staff, and involvement of the owner. Knowing what the franchise business will cost to operate and how much money you can make, you eliminate the uncertainty that you would have when committing to developing a new business.
When buying a franchise, the cost in most cases is much less than the cost to develop a new business, especially with an existing franchise business for sale. The factors that can provide you with a lower cost to entry include depreciation of assets versus buying new, the performance of the franchise versus the system average, and the motivation of the seller to divest themselves of the business. The opposite can also be true. If a franchise is performing well above average versus the system, you may have to pay a higher cost to purchase the franchise versus starting a new one. This is a good problem to have. If you are going to buy a high performing franchise, you no longer have the uncertainty of whether or not you will be successful.
How To Research A Franchise Business to Buy
The Franchise Brand
The first step is to get some information about the franchisor. You will want to contact the franchise development team for the brands you are considering. They can provide with great insight, however they are limited on what they can share per the Federal Trade Commission rules for selling a franchise. Here are a few of the questions you will want to ask: 1) History of the company 2) Growth of the company 3) The initial cost for new development to compare to the cost to purchase an existing location 4) Average sales of the system 5) Support 6) Initial and ongoing fees 7) Terms of the agreement. These are just a few of the things you will want to ask. There are additional resources to really dig in and examine the company.
Franchise Disclosure Document
The Federal Trade Commission requires that all franchise companies provide buyers with their Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). The FDD consists of 23 items that cover an array of information about the company. The FDD can be hundreds of pages long. We recommend that you call one the attorneys listed in the Professional Resources section of the website to review the FDD and the Franchise Agreement contained within the FDD.
Learn More About the FDD
ITEM 2 – This lists the executive team along with the selling agents and their experience. This should be taken into consideration if the company had issues in the past but now has a new leadership team that has resolved past issues and have righted the ship.
ITEM 3 – Litigation – This section lists all of the litigation in which the company has been involved. This will happen from time to time so it certainly doesn’t need to be a disqualifier. The important thing to consider is the severity of the claims and the frequency of the litigatiton.
ITEM 4 – Bankruptcy – This will list any of the executive team or selling agents who have had a bankruptcy in the past. Serves as full disclosure to the potential buyers.
ITEM 5 – Initial Fees – This outlines all of the fees required to get your franchise open. Some may not apply to you if purchasing an existing franchise. Consult the franchise development team to identify which ones will apply to you.
ITEM 6 – Ongoing Fees – This will cover all of the fees you will be required to pay during the operation of your franchise business. This includes royalties, advertising, late fees, etc.
ITEM 7 -Estimated Initial Investment – This will provide a range of costs associated with starting a new franchise. This is usually a large range that will really just leave the question unanswered. Call some current franchisees in your area to get a better estimate.
ITEM 8 – Restrictions on Sources – This identifies the approved vendors in which to order your equipment, décor, supplies, etc.
ITEM 9 – Franchisee’s Obligations – This lists all of your obligatitons as the franchisee that are outlined in the Franchise Agreement
ITEM 10 – Financing – This list resources the franchisor will provide for financing, if any.
ITEM 11 – Franchisor’s Obligations – This is a list of the franchise company’s obligatitons to assist you with getting open. This may not pertain to you when buying an existing franchise
ITEM 12 – Territory – This will outline the geographic area in which you can conduct business without infringement from other franchisees
ITEM 13- Trademarks – Outlines which trademarks are approved for your use and the rules for using the trademarks
ITEM 14 – Patents, Copyrights, and Proprietary Information – Outlines the protections in place for the aforementioned items and your guidelines for use or non-use
ITEM 15 -Obligation to Participate in the Business – This outlines the expectations of you as the owner as related to your participation in the business
ITEM 16 – Restrictions – Outlines the products and/ or services you may offer
ITEM 17 – Renewal – Outlines the renewal terms for your franchise agreement upon expiration
ITEM 17 – Renewal and Terminations – Outlines the renewal terms for your franchise agreement upon expiration. Also stipulates the terms for terminating your franchise agreement
ITEM 18 – Public Figures – Listof Public figures used for the promotion of the business
ITEM 19 – Financial Performance – Perhaps the most important section. This outlines the financial performance of the current franchise outlets. Unfortunately this section is not required. Some franchisors may decide not to list any financial information on their sytem. The other option is to call franchisees listed in the FDD to get insight from them.
ITEM 20 – Outlets & Franchise Info – This section will list the number of stores opened and closed each year and the number of existing franchise outlets at the end of each year. This is great information to understand the historical growth or contraction of the system
ITEM 21 -Audited Financial Statement – This is the financial information of the Franchise company. You will most likely need an accountant to interpret this information for you.
ITEM 22 – Lists all of the contracts that may be required of the franchisee
ITEM 23 – FDD receipt. Acknowledgement that you received the FDD. Required by the FTC. In most cases, you will sign the receipt electronically when you download the FDD.
It is important when speaking to the seller to gain as much information as possible to understand the history and performance of the business. You will want to know how long it has been around, the performance cycle since inception, turnover of staff, and involvement of owner. Of course you will also want to request financial statements for at least the last three years.
There may be no better source of information than the existing franchisees in the system. By calling them you can learn a lot about their general satisfaction, cost to get started, challenges of the business, and financial performance of the business. It will most likely be a numbers game, meaning you will need to reach out to several of them to get a response from a couple.
Steps To Buying A Franchise
New and Existing Franchise Business for Sale
The Approval Process
Accounting and Taxes
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DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website, including in any attachments and/or links contained in this website, is provided AS-IS without representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied National Franchise Resales, or any of its representatives. Prospective buyers are encouraged to seek legal, tax, and accounting advice from licensed provider(s) prior to making any investment decision. Nothing on this website, including any attachments and/or links contained on this website, constitutes tax, accounting and/or legal advice.