Franchise Ownership: A Detailed Guide

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Written By Adeyemi Adetilewa

Are you tired of the traditional 9-5 grind and looking for a new business venture? Have you considered franchise ownership?

With the potential for success and support from an established brand, franchising can be an attractive option for aspiring entrepreneurs. But before diving in, you need to know a few key things.

This guide will discuss the basics of franchise ownership and what you need to do to get started on your journey toward becoming a successful franchisee.

What is Franchise Ownership?

Franchise ownership is like buying a ready-made business package. Imagine you like a popular burger restaurant. Instead of starting a burger joint from scratch, you decide to buy a franchise of that restaurant.

When you own a franchise, you get the right to use the brand, products, and business model of the main company (franchisor). In return, you pay them fees, which can include an initial investment, royalties, and maybe even a share of your profits.

For example, if you open a McDonald’s franchise, you’ll follow their rules, use their recipes, and benefit from their recognized brand. In this case, you are the owner, responsible for the day-to-day operations, but you are using the established brand and support from the franchisor.

What is Franchise Ownership

Key steps involved in starting a franchise business

Here are the key steps involved when starting a franchise business:

1. Researching Potential Franchises

Researching potential franchises for sale is a crucial first step when starting a franchise business. You want to find a franchise that aligns with your interests, skills, and values.

Take the time to explore different industries and evaluate the track record of each franchise you consider. Look for information on the franchise’s reputation, financial performance, and support system for franchisees.

Reading reviews, talking to current franchise owners, and attending franchise expos can provide valuable insights. Remember, thorough research is key to discovering the appropriate franchise opportunity that will set you up for success.

2. Reviewing Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)

Once you have narrowed your choices and found a franchise that aligns with your interests, reviewing the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is time.

This document is a treasure trove of information about the franchise, including financial performance, fees, and obligations. Take your time to carefully go through the FDD, paying attention to any red flags or areas of concern.

Feel free to seek legal advice to ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions outlined in the document. The FDD is an essential tool in your decision-making process when looking to start a franchise business

3. Examining The Franchise Agreement

Now that you’ve thoroughly researched potential franchises and reviewed the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), it is time to delve into the nitty-gritty of the franchise agreement.

This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of your relationship with the franchisor, including your rights and responsibilities as a franchisee. It is essential to carefully examine this document and seek legal advice to ensure you fully understand the terms you agree to.

Pay close attention to areas such as territory rights, termination clauses, and any restrictions on operating your business. Examining the franchise agreement is crucial in protecting your interests and ensuring a successful partnership.

4. Assessing the Cost Implications of a Franchise

When researching potential franchises, it is essential to consider the costs of buying into a franchise. This includes evaluating the initial investment required, ongoing fees, and potential additional charges such as marketing and training expenses.

You’ll need to calculate whether the potential returns outweigh the financial commitment and whether the franchise’s financial projections align with your goals. It is also advisable to clearly understand any restrictions on sourcing products or services, as this can impact profitability.

Taking the time to assess a franchise’s financial characteristics thoroughly will help ensure you make a well-informed decision.

5. Preparing for Your Franchise’s Launch

Once you have chosen the perfect franchise and signed the franchise agreement, it is time to prepare for the launch of your new business!

Start by creating a detailed business plan that outlines your goals, target market, and marketing strategies. Secure financing if needed and set up your business infrastructure, including finding a location and hiring employees.

Develop a comprehensive marketing and advertising strategy to generate buzz and attract customers. Training and familiarising yourself with the franchisor’s operations manual will ensure a smooth start. Finally, get ready to open your doors and provide exceptional service to your new customers!

Management Contracts

Management Contracts

In a management contract, you are hired to run someone else’s business. Imagine you are good at managing hotels. A hotel owner might approach you and say, “Hey, I want you to manage my hotel for me. I’ll pay you a fee, and you’ll handle everything from staff to operations.”

In this scenario, you don’t own the hotel, but you are responsible for making sure it runs smoothly. The owner trusts you to handle the day-to-day tasks and make the business successful. You get paid a management fee, which is often a percentage of the hotel’s revenue or profits.

Difference between franchise ownership and management contracts

The primary difference between franchise ownership and management contracts is:

  • Ownership: In a franchise, you own the business, while in a management contract, you’re hired to run someone else’s business.
  • Brand and Business Model: Franchise ownership involves using an established brand and business model, whereas management contracts focus on operational expertise.
  • Responsibilities: Franchise owners handle overall operations, while in management contracts, the manager takes care of day-to-day tasks.

Owning a franchise is like buying a business package, using a recognized brand, and being the boss. On the other hand, a management contract involves being hired to run someone else’s business, using your expertise to make it successful without actually owning it.

Disadvantages of owning a franchise

The following are some of the drawbacks of franchise ownership:

1. Initial Costs

Owning a franchise often comes with a hefty price tag. Imagine you want to start a pizza shop, and you decide to go for a Domino’s franchise.

Initially, you need to pay a significant amount as a franchise fee. This fee covers the right to use the Domino’s brand and business model. Additionally, there are other costs like setting up the location, buying equipment and stocking inventory.

So, even before selling your first slice of pizza, you’ve already spent a considerable amount.

2. Ongoing Fees

Franchise owners usually have to pay ongoing fees to the franchisor. These fees can include royalties based on a percentage of your sales and advertising fees to support the overall brand.

For instance, if you own a Subway franchise, a portion of your sandwich sales goes back to Subway as royalties. While these fees contribute to the brand’s marketing and support, they can also eat into your profits over time.

3. Limited Independence

While you get the benefit of a recognized brand, you often have to follow strict rules set by the franchisor. This lack of independence means you can’t always make decisions based solely on what you think is best for your specific location.

For example, if you own a KFC franchise, you must adhere to its menu, pricing, and operational guidelines, limiting your flexibility to cater to local preferences.

4. Competition with Other Franchisees

In some cases, you might find yourself in direct competition with other franchisees from the same brand.

Let’s say you own a Starbucks franchise in a mall, and there is another Starbucks just across the street. The competition for customers can be tough, and it is not something you can control, potentially affecting your sales and profitability.

5. Contractual Obligations

Franchise agreements come with strict contracts that outline your responsibilities and limitations. If you decide to make changes to your business or terminate the franchise agreement early, you could face penalties or legal consequences.

This lack of flexibility can be a downside, especially if your business needs to evolve differently than what the franchise model allows.

6. Innovation Constraints

Franchises often have set menus, products, and services that are standardized across all locations. While this ensures consistency, it can stifle your creativity and innovation.

If you have a fantastic idea for a new dish in your fast-food franchise, you might find it challenging to implement because the franchisor typically controls product offerings.

7. Dependence on Franchisor’s Decisions

As a franchise owner, you are dependent on the decisions made by the franchisor. This includes marketing strategies, product changes, and overall business direction.

For instance, if the franchisor decides to launch a new advertising campaign that doesn’t resonate well with your local audience, it could impact your sales, and you might not have the power to opt out.

8. Limited Exit Options

If you decide that franchise ownership isn’t for you and want to sell your business, it might not be as straightforward as selling an independent business.

The franchisor often has a say in approving the new owner, and there may be restrictions on the resale price. This limited flexibility can be a challenge if you need to exit the business for personal or financial reasons.

9. Impact of Franchisor’s Reputation

The reputation of the franchisor can directly affect your business. If the main brand faces a public relations crisis or negative publicity, it can trickle down to your franchise.

For instance, if you own a hotel franchise and the parent company faces a scandal, potential guests might hesitate to book a room at any location, including yours.

10. Geographical Restrictions

Franchisors typically have specific territories where they allow franchises to operate.

If you want to expand beyond your designated area, you might face challenges or need the franchisor’s approval. This limitation can hinder your ability to capitalize on opportunities in other potentially lucrative locations.

While owning a franchise can provide a head start with an established brand, it comes with significant initial and ongoing costs, limited independence, potential competition with other franchisees, and strict contractual obligations.

Franchise ownership not only involves financial and operational constraints but also comes with challenges related to innovation, dependence on the franchisor’s decisions, limited exit options, the impact of the franchisor’s reputation, and geographical restrictions.

Prospective franchisees should carefully weigh these drawbacks against the benefits before deciding to invest in a franchise.

Disadvantages of owning a franchise


Franchise ownership can be a rewarding and lucrative business venture. In this blog post, we discussed the key steps involved in starting a franchise business.

Each step is crucial in making an informed decision, from researching potential franchises to reviewing the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and assessing the financial implications. We also emphasized the importance of examining the franchise agreement and preparing for the launch of your new business.

By following these steps, you can set yourself up for success as a franchise owner. Good luck on your journey towards becoming a successful entrepreneur!

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