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6 Risks Involved in Buying a Franchise 

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Deciding whether to invest in a franchise opportunity can be exciting for aspiring franchisees. Investing in a franchise opportunity can enable you to start and operate a business within an established brand with the support and guidance of a franchisor. However, like any investment, purchasing a franchise comes with its own set of risks and challenges. Consider these risks carefully, as they can impact your finances and the business’s profitability. This article will break down several risks that arise from buying a franchise. By understanding these risks, you can make informed decisions and take precautions to mitigate them.

1. The Initial Investment 

You must provide a substantial initial investment to buy a franchise and purchase the rights to use the franchisor’s proven business model and branding. This investment is a sizeable financial commitment with uncertain terms. Therefore, it can be a significant financial risk. 

To reduce this risk, check the track record of the franchised brand’s existing franchise locations. You can also ask the franchisor about any franchise locations that have not been successful. You can never altogether remove this risk. However, if other franchisees have experienced consistent profitability, this may reduce the likelihood of your franchise being unsuccessful. 

2. Ongoing Fees

Beyond the initial investment, the franchisor will set an ongoing fee structure. Franchisees typically need to pay ongoing royalties and marketing fees. Further ongoing expenses associated with franchise opportunities can include:

  • rent;
  • utilities; and
  • employee salaries. 

Further financial risk arises from these ongoing fees and expenses. They can impact your location’s profitability. The franchisor should clearly outline the fee structure within the franchise agreement. Consider this fee structure to help determine whether the franchise opportunity will be a sound investment. You should ensure you can meet all your financial obligations and make a sustainable profit. 

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3. Market Risks

While the franchisor’s concept may have been successful in one geographic area, there is no guarantee that it will be successful in another. You should conduct thorough due diligence, especially regarding market research. Determine whether the concept’s target market is within reach of your potential area. 

Your due diligence should also include the following:

  • carefully reading all documents the franchisor provides; 
  • speaking to existing franchisees within the network; and
  • seeking legal advice.

Although no franchising-specific laws exist in the UK, you still need to adhere to your legal obligations as a franchisee. Franchise agreements contain legal obligations and restrictions that franchisees must comply with. If you sign the agreement and then violate its terms, you can face legal consequences. These include termination of the franchise agreement, financial liability or litigation. You can mitigate the risk of future legal disputes by seeking legal advice on the franchise agreement. 

5. Lack of Control 

Franchisees operate independent businesses under the franchisor’s brand. However, they are heavily dependent on the franchisor for support and are bound by the terms of the franchise agreement. Franchisors set strict guidelines and operational standards that their franchisees must adhere to. 

The franchisor’s standards ensure consistency across the franchised brand but can limit your autonomy and control over your business. To mitigate this risk, carefully read the franchise agreement and operations manual. You should also only invest in opportunities where you foresee a strong working relationship with the franchisor. 

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6. Difficulty Meeting the Franchisor’s Expectations

You might face challenges meeting the franchisor’s performance standards and expectations. Such difficulties could arise from:

  • fluctuating market conditions;
  • operational constraints; or
  • inadequate support from the franchisor.

If you fail to meet the franchisor’s expectations, the franchisor might terminate the franchise agreement. This will pose a risk to your investment. To mitigate this risk, ensure you are qualified to operate a business within the franchisor’s brand. Additionally, consider whether you have the right experience to succeed in the role. You should also ensure the franchisor offers sufficient training and support mechanisms. These will prepare you for your new role and assist you while you operate. 

Key Takeaways

Several risks commonly arise from investing in a franchise. These include the following:

  • financial risks associated with the initial investment and fulfilling ongoing obligations; 
  • issues with market viability; 
  • the risk of legal disputes; 
  • lack of control; and
  • difficulty meeting the franchisor’s expectations. 

You should carefully assess the risks of buying a franchise and conduct thorough due diligence. Before investing, establish a good understanding of the franchise opportunity and the franchisor’s business. Also, seek legal advice to clarify your legal obligations. By doing so, you can make informed decisions about a franchise opportunity and proactively mitigate the potential pitfalls of franchise ownership. 

If you are interested in investing in a franchise opportunity and require legal advice regarding the associated risks, our experienced franchise lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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Jessica Drew

Jessica Drew

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