What is it Like to Own a Franchise in South Africa?
Many people believe that buying a franchise is an easy and quick way to become a millionaire. That they’ll invest a bit upfront and then let the strong brand and able employees do the rest. In reality, very few franchisors want franchisees who are passive investors. Like starting any other business, owning a franchise demands an initial and ongoing investment in money, time and energy. Be very wary of those franchisors who are just interested in a big cheque.
South Africa has a relatively developed franchising landscape with a wide variety of choices for aspirant franchisees. Every franchise is different and the experience of working in one franchise will be very different from another. These are just a few of the things to consider before making that big commitment.
A day in the life of a franchisee
Your choice of franchise is critical; like any other job, things can also quickly become mundane. The franchise should match your skills, personality and natural inclinations. Talk to other franchisees in the network to get to grips with what working in the franchise is really like. Here are a few things to think about in the daily grind of franchise ownership:
- Do you like being in a store, in a car or in an office for most of the day?
- Is your daily schedule going to hold your interest for many years to come?
- Do you have the skills to manage a diverse range of people?
- Can you manage, long-term, the parts of the job that you really don’t like?
What time commitment is required for a franchise?
While there are franchises that provide both an income and a work-life balance, most franchisees work very long hours to build a business. Here are a few questions to test what time commitment you are prepared to put in:
- Are you prepared to work weekends, open early or close late if that is what’s required?
- Do you have the client service orientation to solve issues, even if this is after hours?
- Will you put time aside to think about where the business is going?
- What time commitment does the franchisor expect from you?
Employee or franchisee?
It is only when you step up into running your own business that you realise how comfortable it is to be an employee. Before you make this career change, consider the following questions:
- Can you cope with the responsibility of having the business’ success on your shoulders?
- Do you have administrative skills to manage the business and submit franchise reports?
- Can you motivate your team, even when your energy is flagging?
- Can you hang in there while you don’t earn a regular paycheck?
Getting real, getting direction
The excitement of your grand opening soon fades into very real fears of being able to afford the payroll, the loan repayments and the rental. Even a great brand and prime position won’t guarantee healthy returns, so make sure you are aware of all the positives and pitfalls of becoming a franchisee upfront. Do as much research about the franchise, its products and services, the marketplace and the location where you’re looking to set up shop.
While there is no magic formula for business success, owning a franchise is still a very accessible way to be your own boss. Here are a few other questions that potential franchisees asked our experts about becoming a franchise owner.
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