The pros and cons of franchising: Is it for you? 

Franchising is a successful business model, but how do you know you are cut out to be a successful franchisee?

The pros and cons of franchising: Is it for you? 

With the best support in the world, if you aren’t suited to franchising it’s never going to work. Darren Taylor, owner of nine franchise organisations lists his pros and cons for buying a franchise.

Whilst franchising is undeniably a successful business model, responsible for contributing over £17.2 billion to the UK’s GDPR* and employing 710,000 people, with 93% of franchisees claiming to be profitable and less than 1% closing each year due to commercial failure, it isn’t for everyone and it’s important for you to work out if it’s right for you before you sign on the dotted line. I started life as a StumpBusters franchisee so I know exactly how it feels to be both a franchisee and a franchisor.

The cons of franchising

Franchising isn’t for you if you can’t, or don’t want to follow a system or model. The entire franchising business model is based on you following a system that has been tried and tested by the franchisor. Most franchisees who fail are those who refuse to follow the model.

If you think once you get your foot in the door, you’ll be able to do things ‘your way’, think again. Any decent franchisor will call you out for breaching the terms of your franchise agreement and you’ll be out the door before you’ve attended your first annual conference. Trust me.

Why are we so rigorous about this, because we need to protect the brand. The brand is everything. We haven’t spent years building up our franchise and its reputation for you to adapt it because you think it would work better your way. We also have a duty to all our other franchisees to ensure the service our brand delivers is the same from one end of the country to another. If one franchisee starts bringing down the reputation of the brand it could ruin it for the entire network. If you want to do things your own way, start up your own business. If you want to be a successful franchise owner, do it ours.

The pros of franchising

Where do we start? Franchising is perfect if you want to own your own business you but aren’t entirely sure what you want to do; if you know you want to work hard, but you could do with some support and guidance along the way. It often suits people who have left long careers in the Forces, Police or a trade focussed on a sector they can’t recreate outside of that employer, or just someone looking for a big change eg social worker, teacher, or surveyor.

Pro: multiple franchise opportunities

Even a brief glance at the internet will tell you there are literally hundreds of franchise opportunities in the UK today. Indeed in 2018* there were 935 business format franchise systems and that is only likely to have grown since then. Do your research thoroughly; Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) has never been more relevant than when buying a franchise. Please Click here to read this article to make sure you are asking the right questions and doing your due diligence. 

So, which franchise will you choose? You’re going to be spending a huge amount of time making this business a success, so choose something you really engage with, not just something you think will make you the most profit.

As you look through all the opportunities, maybe ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you want to be working inside or outside? 
  • Dealing face-to-face with customers or mainly by email and phone? 
  • B2B or B2C?  W
  • ould you prefer to do a physical job or are you more suited to a desk-based opportunity?


So many options.

If, as a result of answering these questions you decide you’d suit an office-based role, working with B2B customers mainly via the internet, but then mysteriously find yourself booking a discovery day for a van-based B2C job with 8 hrs a day in front of customers…you’ve maybe gone a bit off course. Easily done. Much like buying a house, the 8-bed mansion in the countryside with pool in the garden might look nice but as you’d set out to find a one-bedroom flat with a balcony in the centre of town, have you become a tiny bit distracted and lost focus of what’s actually achievable?

Pro: franchise training

Your initial training will set you up for a successful franchise journey, but it doesn’t stop there. Your franchisor may also offer ongoing training – if they do, take it. You can never know too much. Often an existing franchisee will help with your initial training which gives you easy access to them for asking follow-up questions later and they may also deliver some extra training as you go along. If in doubt, always go back to your franchisor for help first.

Pro: franchise support

As ‘fish’ goes with ‘chips’, so ‘support’ goes with ‘franchising’. It is what differentiates us from other business models. Owning a franchise is like starting your own business with a handbook of secret hacks and support is the number one advantage you’ll have over your start-up competitors. 

Franchise support can come in many different forms but in the most way basic it means the franchisor shares with you the secrets to running the business successfully. They’ll usually give you a page on their website and teach you which tools/products to buy, which van to use, and which advertising and marketing works. They might also offer you tailor-made software to help you run your business. This is becoming increasingly popular and shouldn’t be underestimated in how useful it is and the competitive advantage it can give you over your competitors.

They will also teach you how to run the ‘back end’ of your business, the accounting, invoicing, taxes etc (or they’ll put you in touch with an accountant.) They may organise regular meetings either alone, to audit how you are running your business, or in groups to discuss how franchisees are doing regionally and what more they can do to support you. Some run phone or video support sessions, and most will value your feedback on the business. 

You’ll also share your income figures with your franchisor who will spot any potential problems before they happen and guide you through not only periods of growth, but also quieter times when you maybe need to increase your advertising or marketing activities. 

Support can differ hugely between franchises so make sure you ask existing franchisees how good the support from their franchisor is and what it consists of. 

The franchise model works, history has proven that; all you need to decide now is whether can you follow the model, so it works for you too. 

*The 2018 bfa NatWest Franchise Surv

Darren Taylor
Darren Taylor