Job: Franchise owner
Salary: These are business owners who invest to run an existing business brand and don't earn a traditional salary. Their income usually comes after all other business expenses, which include everything from marketing to staffing salaries to supplies, depending on the business, says Lorraine McLachlan, chief executive officer of the Canadian Franchise Association. "It's business ownership; that's why people want to be franchisees," she says. Some business owners may pay themselves a salary, but it depends on the individual franchise owner.
Education: There are no formal education requirements. The education and real-world experience needed to run a franchise will depend on the type of business you want to run. For instance, someone looking to own a fast-food franchise, such as a Pizza Pizza or Tim Hortons restaurant, might need a different educational background and experience than someone running a franchise in the health care sector, such as Nurse Next Door Home Care Services.
The role: Franchise owners are responsible for all aspects of the business, Ms. McLachlan says. That includes everything from accounting and customer service to human resources and marketing. Depending on the business, some franchise owners may choose to contract out some of this work.
By the numbers: About one in every 14 working Canadians is directly employed by franchising, according to the CFA. It says there are more than 78,000 individual franchise locations in Canada and more than 1,200 brands. About 36 per cent of franchises in Canada are restaurants, while the remaining 64 per cent are in other sectors and industries. Individual investments in a franchise operation can range from under $10,000 to more than $1-million, depending on the business.
Job prospects: The CFA says the number of franchise company listings in its FranchiseCanada Directory has increased 10 per cent each year for the past five years. "It's a very robust market … right now," Ms. McLachlan says. But, the franchise business is susceptible to the ups and downs of the economy.
Challenges: Being responsible for the entire business can require long hours and the ability to juggle multiple roles at once. Even though you're buying in to an established brand, "you will still have to put in sweat equity" to help make the location thrive, Ms. McLachlan says.
Why they do it: Franchise ownership is for people who are interested in running their own business, but want to take advantage of an established brand and business model. "Many have a strong entrepreneurial spirit," Ms. McLachlan says. Some enter the franchise world as a second career, or if they're looking for a career change.
Misconceptions: Just because you're running an established business, there's no guarantee it will succeed. "It's not a GIC [guaranteed investment certificate]," Ms. McLachlan says. "You're going to be working hard." Franchisees also need to have more than just strong business acumen. They need to be a good fit with the brand.
Give us the scoop: Are you a franchise owner? Write a note in the comments area of this story or e-mail your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you would tell others who are interested in the profession.
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