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How Friends & Family Factor Into the Franchising Decision

For some successful franchise owners, the decision to buy was influenced by a friend or family member.

The decision to buy a franchise is a time-consuming process that involves a lot of research into a brand as well as looking at your own personality.

But for some people, that timeline can be shortened substantially when a family member or friend has personal experience as a franchise owner.

Take Don Beiderwell, for example. As the child of two Fosters Freeze franchisees, Beiderwell grew up with the brand. So deciding to become a Fosters Freeze franchisee himself in 1983 wasn’t a stretch. “I’ve been around the business my whole life,” he said. “Besides my parents, a couple of my uncles owned Fosters Freeze franchisees — they signed their contracts back in ‘46 or ‘47. I’ve worked at Fosters Freeze since I was a kid.”

Having that kind of familiarity and personal experience with a brand is a huge leg up. According to Corey Elias, director of franchise development at Franchise Captain, much of his work involves finding the right fit for potential franchisees. “It’s hours and hours of phone calls with the candidate to understand what their goals are — from lifestyle to financial to running a business,” he said. “It’s a lot of soul searching. At the end of the day, I can’t sell someone a franchise. It really comes down to what their goals are.”

But for someone who grew up watching a family member operate a franchise, those goals might already be formulated.

Kari Weigel, who owns two Sylvan Learning* Centers in North Dakota, bought her first franchise from her mother, so she not only knew what she was getting into, she was excited about it.

“Over the years, I worked at the company in many different roles,” Weigel said. While the numbers all made sense to Weigel when she was deciding to buy, ultimately her heart was the deciding factor. “I knew this business was one I wanted to be involved in.”

For other successful franchises, the decision to buy was influenced by a friend. 

Multi-unit Pretzelmaker® franchisee Mark Frandle first learned about the iconic brand through a friend who co-owned a Pretzelmaker franchise with a business partner. “His partner wanted out, so I decided to jump in as his new partner,” Frandle said. “We ended up growing our footprint to include 13 stores.”

As a former banker, Frandle felt well-equipped to handle all financials, but he was looking for a partner with previous business experience. “Partnering with my friend, who already knew how to run the business successfully, really eased my mind,” said Frandle.  

For Frandle, who ended up buying his partner out, it turned out to be a springboard for success. 

He is now the sole owner of 10 Pretzelmaker stores — two in Iowa, one in Nebraska, four in Minnesota, two in Wisconsin and one in Georgia, plus the original location that he ultimately took over.

For other franchisees, partnering with a trusted friend makes it easier to pull the trigger. 

Former military colleagues Allen Goff and James Peavy are confident their friendship and work history will catapult them to success. As new co-owners of Property Management Inc, the long-time friends had talked about starting a business for years, but without each other they might not have made it happen.

Knowing they’re not in it alone makes all the difference, Peavy said. “Our teamwork has already been established. We know our roles and we have each other’s backs.”

Already a family affair, Peavy’s wife will be handling administrative duties and Goff’s son will be in charge of maintenance. “It takes a lot of the stress out to know we can count on each other, and it also makes it a lot more fun,” Peavy added. “It’s empowering to know that we’re making this dream come true for ourselves and our families.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.