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The amount of industries that offer franchising these days is staggering!  Some estimates put the number of available franchises at between 4,000 and 5,000.  In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a business model that isn’t already franchised. There are so many business franchise concepts that most franchisors are using franchise consultants to help with the sheer numbers of potential entrepreneurs out there.  Once you understand that, your job is to narrow down your choices to fit your passions, your skills, and your community’s needs.  In addition, you’ll need to reconcile all that with your budget and financial ability.

Tip #1: Determine Your Industry

If you are planning on running the business yourself as an owner operator, you will want to look at industries that you know you’ll be happy in.  Having some experience in that industry is helpful but not necessary because the franchisor is going to provide you with the business plan, the operating systems and, in most cases, the equipment to ensure your success.  Keep in mind that being happy in the business you choose is critical since you will be stuck with this business for a long time if everything goes according to plan.  And of course, that is the goal, isn’t it?

A partial list of industries that offer franchise opportunities is:

* Advertising

* Auto

* Beauty

* Business services

* Childcare

* Cleaning

* Computer/internet

* Educational

* Financial

* Food

* Health and fitness

* Home repair services

* Marketing

* Pets

* Photography and video

* Printing, copying, shipping, signs

* Senior care

* Travel

* Vending

The list above is representative of the types of industries that offer franchise opportunities. You can find a range of prices in each industry, so don’t think that any one industry is out of bounds for you if your budget is on the small side.  The range for franchise fees is very broad.  This is another good reason to consider using a franchise consultant.  They can help narrow the field.

Tip #2: Determine Your Budget

This list of potential costs may or may not be complete. You should add to it as you do your research so that you can ensure that your budget is sufficient to meet the needs of more than just paying the franchise fee. You’ll need to have enough money for living and business expenses until you hit your break even point and become profitable.

Typical costs of running a franchise, not including the franchise fee, include:

* Accountant fees

* Advertising and marketing fees

* Build-out fees

* Business licenses

* Equipment

* Grand opening expenses

* Initial advertising and marketing expenses

* Insurance

* Landscaping

* Legal fees

* Maintenance

* Product costs

* Rent

* Royalties

* Salaries

* Signage

* Supplies

* Taxes

* Uniforms

* Utilities

* And more

Tip #3: Do Your Due Diligence

You’ll need to research every possibility. It helps once you’ve narrowed down your industry and your budget. With a little research, you’re sure to find just the right franchise for your personality, your goals, and the lifestyle that you want to live.

* Talk to owners – This can be accomplished in a number of ways.  1. When working with the franchisor, they will give you a list of franchisees that are willing to talk to you about their business and experience.  This process is called the validation step.  Most franchisees are going to be honest and open with their experiences, both good and bad.  2. The other way is to just call some of the owners of the business concept you are interested in and see if they will chat with you.  However, be sure you call the exact business you are looking at.  If you decide you want to own a Joe’s barbershop, then call a Joe’s barbershop and ask to speak to the owner.  Every franchise concept has a unique way of operating and geographic locations can differ dramatically.  Compare apples to apples!

* Get a job – If you have chosen a place that has a franchise not too far from you in another community, why not get a job there to find out how it’s run and whether you like it. Ask the franchisor if there are any corporate owned franchises within a reasonable distance from you where you can observe or even work.

Go for it now or wait?  You may determine that you need to work a little longer at what you’re doing now to pay for your dream. Don’t change your dream just because you can’t afford it right now; instead, keep on dreaming while saving and planning for that future that you want as a franchise owner. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.