Franchisees must make sure they know where they stand before settling on a space.
Where your business is located can be just as vital to its success as the products or services it provides. In fact, it can often be more important.
Learning how to properly evaluate real estate opportunities is an essential skill for franchisees to learn, and it becomes even more important when multiple locations are involved. After all, finding the ideal spot for one franchise location can be hard enough – imagine doing so for five or six locations.
For those who require a refresher, here are some basic questions to keep in mind.
How involved is the franchisor?
Franchise systems typically have some kind of support in place when it comes to selecting real estate. Unfortunately, this support varies from brand to brand, so it’s best not to count on every franchisor taking care of business for you. Find out what kind of help your franchisor is offering before getting started. Oftentimes, brands will have site-selection specialists who can assist you.
What does the franchisor require?
Another key factor to keep in mind is that many times, franchises have certain guidelines you must follow when choosing a location. Determine what criteria your franchisor wants you to follow, whether it’s finding real estate in a neighborhood with certain demographics or settling on a spot that features a specific amount of parking space.
Do you have a team in place?
Building out your franchise team will be a big help when it comes time to select real estate. Having a real estate industry professional in your corner, as well as an attorney, will streamline the process and ensure you don’t make any big mistakes. While it’s important to be hands-on, it’s also essential to remember real estate isn’t necessarily your specialty. The right help can make all the difference.
Are the lease terms fair?
At the end of the day, a lease is like any other contract – you need to make sure you’re not signing your life away. Many leases contain clauses that require you to pay for common area maintenance shared between buildings. You should also be on the lookout for landlord insurance and other expenses you may not have expected. It’s important to run leases by both your franchisor and your real estate broker to ensure you’re getting a fair shake.
Does the location suit your needs?
Last, but certainly not least, you should ask yourself whether the real estate works for you. There are many pieces at play here, but the business and its success will ultimately come down to you, so it’s important that you are happy with the space you have. Is there a lot of foot traffic near your location? Are competitors located close by? Is the area safe? Make sure the real estate meets your requirements, not just your franchisor’s.