Services4Franchising President Rick Robinson wants people to know that franchising is still an option for them, even if food isn’t.
“Many people automatically equate franchising with fast casual and quick service food concepts,” said Robinson. “The food brands definitely have the most visibility and tend to do more advertising than other sectors, but people should know that for pretty much any industry category they are interested in, there are likely multiple franchise brands to choose from.”
Robinson says that often times, franchise candidates initially feel like they have to do something food related, but they either don’t have the startup capital required or it doesn’t provide them with the lifestyle they desire.
“Many people don’t realize that the food category is very expensive in the startup phase and often times food brands turn out to be the most demanding; they’re often seven day-a-week businesses including weekends and holidays,” he said. “Food can be a lucrative category, but it definitely takes a certain type of person to be successful.”
Rather than focusing on a industry category first, Robinson says he often works with clients to identify the lifestyle they are trying to create.
“Nine times out of 10, this is more important than the specific type of business they end up investing in,” he said. Robinson focuses on identifying what type of working hours the candidate wants, how hands-on they want to be, how long they can sustain themselves before their business will become profitable, what are their income goals and expectations or how big of a staff do they want to manage - just to name a few.
“Knowing what kind of lifestyle a person is looking for is more helpful to me than knowing what type of business they’re interested in,” Robinson says. “I’m always encouraging people to have an open mind so I can show them what types of businesses match what they’re telling me they want. Many times, it ends up being something they never thought of before.”
For franchise candidates that are limited with their startup capital or ability to sustain living expenses during ramp up time, Robinson says they should focus on researching home-based franchises. These are often the quickest concepts to turn a profit, simply because much of the initial overhead cost is eliminated.
Aside from food, categories that are growing rapidly now include senior care; everything from companion care and senior living to medical and equipment services. Robinson says with 10,000 people turning 65 in the U.S. every day, this sector is sure to continue to grow.
“After the market crashed, people in the U.S. started investing back into their existing homes rather than buying new construction,” explained Robinson. “So there are hundreds of home improvement and handyman/home maintenance related concepts that have experienced incredible growth over the past few years.” Just to name a few, categories including kitchen and bath remodeling services, painting, flooring, locksmithing, lawn and garden services and cleaning services (both residential and commercial) are all on the rise.
Robinson says it’s important to keep in mind that the benefit of franchising is that the franchisor has already laid out a proven model and business plan, so the candidate doesn’t necessarily need to box themselves into only industries they have prior experience in. “Franchisors are looking for managers and executives who can follow a system. I have found previous experience in any type of sales or marketing and general good business sense are more valuable for franchise candidates than specific industry experience,” he added.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to the type of franchise people can invest in. Robinson says it really comes down to what the candidate wants, territory availability and investible capital.