If prospective franchisees are looking for signs of economic hope before venturing into franchise ownership, they don’t need to look far. “Simply look at the most recent franchisees in the brand you are exploring,” said Tony Padulo, Vice President of Franchise Development at Goddard Systems, Inc., f.....
“The mood is very positive, especially compared to the mood over the last few years,” he explained. “The economy is still challenging, but our leads are less hesitant in the process and more optimistic. They are much more forward moving this year over last.”
The Goddard School has experienced an uptick in franchise opportunity interest this year, including 14 signed deals. Additionally, on the real estate side, 10 new sites were signed for Goddard School locations, up from 5 at the same point last year.
“We have been pleasantly pleased with our development so far,” Padulo noted. “Our goal is to sign 36 new agreements this year, and we are on track.”
In agreement with this positive outlook is Eric Little, Senior Vice President of Franchise Development for Right at Home.
“We are experiencing a very positive shift in the mood of our prospective, brand new and existing franchise owners,” Little concurred. “Just last week we awarded six locations to three franchisees. New franchisees are coming to the table thinking about their own growth much quicker than before.”
Little said that in the past, franchisees would wait several years before purchasing additional territory. This year, franchisees who are just finishing up their first year are looking at multi-unit ownership as a possibility, and new franchise owners are doing the same.
“There is new optimism for franchise owners,” he said. “The mood shifts are definitely signs of improvement.”
Cautiously optimistic is Matt Haller, Vice President, Public Affairs and Chief of Staff to the President & CEO for the International Franchise Association. He said that, while the sentiment is improving, there is still an asterisk to note.
“The mood has improved slightly as franchisors are generally more optimistic about growth in 2012 versus 2011. However, credit access and uncertainty regarding tax rates beyond 2012 continue to hold the industry back from its full potential for growth,” Haller said. “With additional access to capital and more certainty on tax rates, the industry would be well-positioned to reach its forecast for modest 1.6 percent growth in new establishments this year.”
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