Tag Archives: family-friendly franchises

A New Market for Family-friendly Franchises

By Jeff Young

Family-friendly franchises have always appealed to stay-at-home parents who want to balance work and family. However, there is a new group of prospective franchisees that are attracted to these opportunities—those who are 55 and older.

Many middle-aged and senior workers are tired of the rat race and are looking for a more balanced lifestyle. They are willing to trade the secure income of a corporate job for time, something they can’t get back. Typically, the over-55 franchise seeker is willing to work hard to establish a franchise business, but will eventually want to scale back their involvement after a few years.

Also, the unfortunate reality for many older workers is that they no longer have the ability to build a retirement nest egg in their current job. Their earning potential may have hit a plateau—raises are few and far between, expenses for grown children (e.g. college tuition or weddings) are looming and retirement investments are taking a beating in the market. These people are looking at franchise ownership opportunities that will allow them to keep working beyond their planned retirement date, but still have an enjoyable lifestyle.

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A Word of Caution about Family-friendly Franchises

By Jeff Young

Franchisees, no matter what type of business they operate, are typically either working in or thinking about their business at all times. However, many people just want to turn off the phone and get unplugged from their work at the end of a long day. This is more difficult for a franchisee than for someone working in a regular job.

If you are seriously considering franchise ownership, even a family-friendly franchise, you must remember that you will still be an entrepreneur, and will have to accept all the responsibilities that come with that title. You will play the primary role in your success or failure. The key is striking the right balance and finding the best opportunity for you and your family.

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Making Franchises More Family-friendly

By Jeff Young

Franchisors are beginning to realize they will attract more potential owners and grow their brand faster if their business model is more family-friendly, regardless of the particular concept. As the franchise industry continues to expand, franchisors are starting to set up more systems and support that will allow you to manage your business more efficiently and achieve a better work/life balance.

Call centres
Many franchisors have established national call centres to answer customer’s questions and schedule appointments on behalf of franchisees. Much more than an answering service, these centres provide a professional voice to answer commonly asked questions, giving franchisees more time with friends and family. While they come at a price (usually funded by you and your fellow franchisees), the cost is only a fraction of what you might spend having an extra employee on staff to perform the same duties (or the time you would spend doing it yourself).

Working from home
Modern franchisors are also more willing to let you operate your business from a home office. Working from home eliminates commuting time, is cost effective and is convenient for stay-at-home parents who want to pursue a career while still staying within arm’s length of their family. The reduced overhead from a home office can also increase profitability. Franchisors are now providing training on how to operate a home office in a professional and effective manner, helping you limit the distractions and challenges that come with working from home.

Communication technology is also helping franchisees work more efficiently, thereby freeing up more family time. Smartphones and other hand-held devices allow you to manage issues from anywhere. For example, instead of leaving a family outing to address a scheduling issue in person, you could simply text your employees without having to compromise your plans.

Hiring a manager to assist with the day-to-day operations can also help you balance your work and life responsibilities. However, this may not happen overnight. It takes time to properly train and develop a manager to accept the responsibility of running your business. Plus, you must be able to adequately compensate him or her with a manager’s salary (and possibly benefits).

Also, it is generally accepted that even great managers can not be as effective as a business owner. As such, franchisors may require day-to-day managers to literally buy in to the franchise, so they have a vested interest in the business. This can help ensure these essential personnel have an incentive to help grow the business, instead of merely showing up to collect a paycheque.

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The Different Types of Family-friendly Franchises

By Jeff Young

There are many different business models and methods that permit a family-friendly franchise career. The following are some possible options for prospective franchisees looking for a balanced lifestyle.

Part-time or passive involvement
In this scenario, you would devote five to 10 hours a week to the business, which is otherwise operated by a manager or other key personnel. With passive owner involvement, the business may not need many employees (or any employees at all if contract labour is used). Examples of franchises in this category include hair salons, self-storage facilities, self-serve car washes, laundry facilities, junk hauling, cheque cashing, document shredding, 24-hour fitness facilities and certain retail stores with multi-store ownership.

Seasonal businesses
Some franchises generate revenue during a particular time of year, after which the business goes into hibernation, allowing you extra time to travel or relax with family. This type of business model may appeal to prospective franchisees who are willing to work very hard for a defined period, followed by a much-needed break. Examples of franchises in this category include tax preparation services and landscaping/lawn care. Similarly, smoothie or ice cream franchises may be open year round, but because the business tends to slow down in winter, you can still enjoy a break in the action.

Home-based businesses
Home sweet home is where many are building their businesses today. Some examples of franchises in this category include disaster cleanup, tutoring, home and business services, marketing services and business coaching. These opportunities will evolve as franchisors continue to expand the systems and support franchisees’ need to achieve work/life balance.

Children’s services
Not surprisingly, franchise opportunities that tend to be more family-friendly are often found in the children’s services sector. These businesses, which include tutoring, day-care and play/leisure services, tend to appeal to people with kids of their own. Also, when franchise systems have more franchise owners with families, they tend to be more accommodating of work/life balance issues.

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Work Hard, Play Hard: Finding a family-friendly franchise

By Jeff Young

The lifestyle of a franchisee is much different than the average worker. People with regular jobs have to deal with rigid scheduling, daily commutes and business trips, while franchisees tend to have more freedom. With the right opportunity, you can set your schedule according to your own business and personal priorities. Imagine being able to take in your son’s soccer game or daughter’s swim meet while still building a successful business. It’s possible with franchising.

Finding a family-friendly franchise
The ability to set your own schedule and achieve balance between your work and home lives is one of the biggest appeals of franchise ownership. These days, many prospective franchisees want to have a successful business, but not at the expense of their family time. So how do you find a family-friendly franchise?

The first step is to make a list of requirements and expectations for your professional and personal lives. Do you want to be able to attend your child’s afternoon sporting events or weekend piano recitals? Are you opposed to working evenings and weekends or bringing paperwork home? How many hours in a week are you willing to devote to your business? What sacrifices are you willing to make to meet both your professional and personal criteria?

With these expectations established, you can begin objectively evaluating possible franchise opportunities. Be sure to include the following steps:
1. Review the franchise disclosure document to see if it states whether you, as the franchise owner, are obligated to participate in the direct operations of the business.
2. Determine the franchise’s hours of operations. Even if you eventually have a manager running the business for you, problems may come up during normal business hours. A business like a quick- or full-service restaurant (QSR or FSR), which are often open late hours, may be less family-friendly than a franchise that operates during normal business hours.
3. Talk to current franchisees with similar lifestyles and expectations. How do they manage their business and juggle family demands?
4. Talk to the franchisor and gauge how much importance it places on franchisee work/life balance. Determine the level of support franchisees receive. How large is the franchise support staff and how often are new personnel added?
5. How many corporate units does the franchisor operate? Systems with several corporately operated locations will often have more access to personnel who can be enlisted to provide a greater degree of franchisee support (e.g. filling in for you during a family emergency).
6. Does the franchisor have a minimum royalty payment? This type of royalty system discourages you from operating your franchise with a minimal effort or putting the business on hold.
7. What type of re-sale support does the franchisor provide? If the franchisor helps re-sell the franchise, you will likely have to pay a significant broker fee when you sell.

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