Exploring Franchise Opportunities: How the British Franchise Association can guide you on the road towards franchising success
Franchising offers you the opportunity to build a business using a tried and tested business model but with the full support of a franchisor; or as we say in franchising, ‘in business for yourself but not by yourself.’
By Louise Bruce
Firstly, a very big welcome to the readers of Civvy Street Magazine and especially those of you who may be considering purchasing a franchise as you exit the Armed Forces.
Who are we?
We are the British Franchise Association, the self-governing body for franchising in the UK. We were founded in 1977 and have over 300 franchisor members. Our members go through a rigorous selection process and pledge to uphold our strict code of ethics.
Members are reaccredited every few years to ensure they are still compliant, so you can be sure that any franchise that is a BFA member is run ethically and professionally.
What is franchising?
Franchising is a business relationship between two parties. This comprises the franchisor, who owns the brand and business system, and you, the franchisee, who via a franchise agreement can trade under the brand.
How much do franchises cost and can I get finance?
Franchises can cost from a few thousand pounds to hundreds of thousands. Check out the full list of our franchise members here: www.thebfa.org/franchisors
Banks are often happy to lend against the purchase of a franchise because of the traditionally low number of franchises that fail (less than 1% per year).
How do the finances work?
A franchisee pays the franchisor a ‘franchise agreement fee’ to begin with, then pays them an ongoing monthly service fee (usually a percentage of profits).
Benefits of franchise ownership
Owning a franchise is for many, the perfect blend of having a job and being self-employed. You have a business you can grow on your own, but with full training and support from the franchisor.
Always use a specialist solicitor
It is imperative that you use a franchise specialist solicitor to look over the franchise agreement before you sign it. We hold a list on our website.
Search for ‘Legal’ via: www.thebfa.org/advisors
Do you own the franchise territory outright?
No. As a franchise owner you sign a contract that allows you to trade exclusively in your territory for the length of the renewable franchise agreement (usually five years). Should you break the terms of your franchise agreement, the franchisor can cancel your agreement and take the business back.
Why do Military people make great franchisees?
People coming from the Military make great franchisees because they are intelligent, hardworking, understand how to follow rules and are generally results driven.
Retrain to do anything you like – no experience needed (in fact they prefer it that way).
Because full training is given by your franchisor, you could very easily go from 20 years in the RAF to running a fast food restaurant or 15 years in the Army to owning a recruitment agency. The possibilities are limitless. The hardest thing will be deciding which franchise is right for you.
‘Caveat emptor’, or ‘let the buyer beware’. Firstly, read our website, go to an exhibition, then visit Business Franchise, Which Franchise, What Franchise and Elite Franchise, all of whom have hundreds of articles written by franchising experts for prospective franchisees just like you, tackling subjects such as what questions to ask during an interview, how to get funding, red flags to look out for and how to choose the right franchise for you.
As a non-regulated sector, there are still many rogue franchise operations out there and we’d hate to see you lose your money on a disreputable franchise. If in doubt, please call us but we’d strongly suggest you seek out a BFA accredited franchise.
The BFA – Your friend in franchising
Leaving the Armed Forces is an exciting time, filled with many possibilities. If you are going to consider a franchise, please visit: www.thebfa.org/start-your-business-with-a-franchise
Read the host of information we’ve written to help you on your journey. Consider us your friend in franchising, and if our website doesn’t have the answer, give us a call, we’d be happy to help. Tel: 01235 820 470.
Nell Light spent 17 years in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Medical Support Officer. Her career included operational tours in Kosovo, Iraq and Sierra Leone.
On leaving the Army, Nell bought her Home Instead franchise in 2016. Home Instead specialises in caring for older people, supporting them so they can remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Nell now employs 50 care professionals from her Andover headquarters.
Nell said: “Running a care company is very similar to my former role of running hospitals in the Army; it’s about managing an ops room and a bit
of resource management; standard skills for many people leaving the Armed Forces.”
She continued: “I think franchising has some great things to offer ex-Military personnel. You don’t need any direct experience, as they give you full training and of course it’s natural to care for others. I particularly like the fact that even though the franchisor is there for help and advice, it is very much my business. They don’t spoon feed you. I have built my very own unit, while offering a worthwhile service to my wonderful clients and their families.