Jon Mott, Development Director of Papa John's UK...
Franchising is relevant from two perspectives, the franchisee and the franchisor. It's a good idea to look at franchising from both sides - whether you are considering starting your own franchise-based company or you are already an established business looking for growth potential.
Starting your own company is exciting, but can be somewhat challenging. Setting up a business can be risky and create feelings of uncertainty. Franchising can be an excellent way to get into business because it usually comes with a support network and an established business model. An established franchise will provide all the necessary tools to run the business. The only part left is your motivation to make it successful.
A good franchise opportunity to look for is a van-based franchise. This involves selling your product or service directly from a van. Examples of van-based franchises include lawn care services, vehicle care and maintenance, delivery and courier services and cleaning contractors.
With a van-based franchise, the franchisee conducts business from a branded van, which offers huge potential in advertising opportunities depending on your geographic coverage. It is also likely that you will be part of a larger network, which means there could be hundreds of vehicles branded with the company's logo appearing all over the country. This offers every franchisee potential sales opportunities as the company brand is promoted.
The advantages of buying a van-based franchise are numerous. It provides you with the freedom to get out and about and promote your company while driving. Overheads tend to be lower with this type of franchise because vehicles are usually provided on a lease. This also means that you don't have huge office running costs to pay, such as gas and electricity, rent, property insurance, etc.
Van-based franchises also give you the freedom to think about growth without the worry associated with growing a company by yourself. While you may feel that one vehicle is adequate to get you started, the process of growing your business is easily achieved with the addition of new vehicles. This means that you can service more areas or keep up with increased demand.
The main advantage to a franchisor is a greater market presence and subsequent growth. However, as a franchisor, you have certain obligations to fulfil. These include allowing your franchisees to use your trading name, logo, corporate theme and, of course, your business model.
You will also have to provide continued support to ensure your franchisees are setting up and running their businesses properly. A van-based franchise makes this process relatively simple because the tools to run the business are contained within a single vehicle. There is also an established business plan and growth strategy already in place.
A critical stipulation of franchising your business is whether you are successful or not. You must be able to show that your business is capable of growth or applicable to other geographic regions. You must also ensure sufficient financial resources are available and a competent support function is in place to mentor new franchisees.