Think you've got the recipe for the next Dunkin Donuts? As part of her ongoing series on franchising, YNN's Tara Lynn Wagner finds out just what it takes to go from one location to 200.
Smartphone screens crack all the time, which may explain why business is booming at 1800FIX.com.
Abel Brea started the company 20 years ago in the Bronx. Nine stores later, they knew they were on to something.
"This can go nationwide, and franchising was definitely the vehicle," Brea says.
Fast forward a year, and they now have two franchise locations up and running, and five more in the works.
Josh Cohen has a similar story. A year ago, his eco-friendly junk removal company had 12 trucks in three states.
"Since then, we've doubled our geographic coverage area as well as the number of trucks that we have," Cohen says. "We were able to sell five franchisees and hit our goal within six months."
He says that their engines are just starting up.
"We are currently looking to expand the company nationwide, and we're looking to do it in the next three years," he says.
"People become franchisors because they say, 'I want to get to a couple hundred locations, and I can't get there by operating them myself and hiring staff and running locations from Boston, Mass. down to Washington D.C.,'" says Steven Beagleman, who owns a franchise consulting firm.
Beagelman says that the first you thing is a successful model.
"You need to have a proven concept. You need to have a concept that's duplicatable. You need to have a concept that obviously has systems and processes in place," he says.
Next, you'll need a lawyer, since the sale of franchises is regulated by the federal government and, in some cases, the state as well.
"There are a whole bunch of legal steps that need to be taken, but the core expense involved is in development of what's called a FDD, a franchise disclosure document, and that's the big prospectus, if you will, that's required by the Federal Trade Commission," says Scott Kern, founder of Franchise Law Source.
This enormous legal document contains everything a potential franchisee will need to know, including initial fees, location requirements, licensing rules and even the company's financial statements.
You'll also need to develop an operating manual and training materials, things that small business owners can start working on as soon as they open their first set of doors.
"Every mistake you make, write it down. Every right decision you make, write it down, because that becomes your operations manual," Kern says. "Doing that not only saves time and money later when you go to franchise, but it'll make your business run better.