As you research franchises, ask about the required experience, if any, as well as the expected hours and personal commitment necessary to run the business. You also should learn about the franchisor’s background. For example, what is the company’s track record and how are other franchisees in the system doing? The upfront cost of buying the franchise is crucial, of course, but also how much you’ll pay for the continuing right to operate the business and what products or services you will be required to buy from the franchisor.
The “Franchising Basics” section of IFA’s Web site, www.franchise.org, offers extensive information on how franchising works, online discussion forums that cater to prospective owners, and a searchable database of more than 1,200 franchise opportunities.
And, don’t forget about your financing. If you’re considering applying for a loan backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, visit the SBA’s Franchise Registry at www.franchiseregistry.com. This service lists names of franchise companies whose franchisees enjoy the benefits of a streamlined review process for SBA loan applications. A faster review means better, faster service, allowing you to get your franchise off the ground sooner. Even if the franchisor is not a Franchise Registry participant, your loan application will still be reviewed individually by the SBA or its lenders.
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