What Is It Really Like to Be a Franchise Owner?

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The question on every prospective investor’s lips: What is it really like to be a franchise owner? If you’re thinking about becoming a franchisee, the thought of launching your own business under someone else’s brand can be daunting. Keep reading to find out what you can expect once you join the industry.


It can be hard to imagine what business ownership has in store for you before you start out. But the best way to get an idea of your future lifestyle is to talk to existing franchisees. We’ve collected some words of wisdom from investors across our business network. 

To be successful, you have to understand what your customers want and need, and then deliver it consistently better than anyone else.
- Kevin Shaw, Homeclean Managing Director 

What to expect when you become a franchise owner 

Here are a few truths about the life of a franchisee. 

You’re the boss...

When you start a franchise business, you run a branch of an existing company, managing every aspect of its daily operations yourself. You’ll get many of the benefits of becoming your own boss, as well as the use of proven strategies and ongoing business support. 

Depending on the franchise you join, you may be responsible for ordering stock, engaging with customers and suppliers, managing employees and dealing with complaints. Plus, you’ll need to be a motivating and inspiring leader for your employees. 

You will have good and bad days, have a back-up solution for everything if you can. You will work like you have never worked before initially, but this is all for you, not anybody else. Be decisive, your employees look to you to be a strong leader, but always take their opinions on board.
- Sarah, Bright & Beautiful franchisee 

...but you don’t have total control

Successful franchisees follow the tried and tested formula set out by their franchisor. In doing so, they help make sure the business runs consistently across its branches, and provide the products and services customers expect. 

Franchises depend on uniformity, so franchisees can’t exercise as much creativity and innovation as they would if they were running their own business. But although you may not have the level of control you’d like, you don’t have the hassle of coming up with new business ideas or the risk of making big mistakes. 

Look for franchises offering a comprehensive training programme and guidance throughout the contract term. Good business support will allow you to become an efficient and productive business owner.

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. What you pay for when you join a franchise is a successful formula, so why try to change that? There will be bumps in the road… But the important thing is to ask for help and keep things simple.
- Paul Watson, Platinum Property Partners franchisee



There’s still an element of risk

Franchises are generally considered a safe investment, thanks to their proven business models and franchisor expertise. Banks and other lenders are often more inclined to fund franchise units as opposed to independent start-ups because of their lower levels of risk. 

However, franchises still require a significant upfront investment and ongoing royalty fees. And although the franchise unit failure rate is lower than among independent businesses, there’s no guarantee of success when you invest your money. As a franchisee, hard work and dedication is crucial. 

Persistency, ambition and hunger to succeed is vital, with a blend of good business acumen, fair values, high ethical standards, keeping operating costs under control and ‘getting under the skin’ of your market until you become the obvious choice for people to come to rely upon you and the great service you offer. - Nicholas Lambrou, Nicholas Humphreys Sheffield franchisee



There are all sorts of benefits 

There’s more to being a franchise owner than just becoming your own boss and building up your business. Here are just a few of the perks you can expect to enjoy:

  • Franchisors provide interested investors with a franchise disclosure document, which details lots of important information about setting up a new business within the company. Before you even sign on the dotted line, you’ll have a bank of knowledge preparing you for business success. 

  • Depending on the franchise you choose, you may be able to work part-time or organise your hours to fit in with your existing commitments. Able to attend your children’s school plays, meet up with friends for lunch or nip to the gym for an exercise class, you’ll have a great work-life balance. 

  • Unless you join a brand-new franchise, you’ll become a part of an extensive business network, full of interesting and ambitious people. Most franchises organise various annual events to give their investors the chance to mingle. Throughout the year, you’ll be able to discuss problems and share advice with like-minded entrepreneurs. 

Every day is different, it always varies but typically will include on call work, planned work, digital marketing… One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced has been getting used to the flexible working hours - some days can be quiet whilst others very busy.
- Mark Hodge, Lockforce franchisee

You can grow at your own pace

Just as franchisors help their investors launch a profitable business, they’re also on hand to support them as they develop their franchise unit. You could choose to start small by taking advantage of a low-cost opportunity or working part-time, and scale up when you’re ready. 

Franchisors can provide plenty of advice as you launch additional sites and become a multi-unit franchisee. 

Building a business takes months and years. A franchise will give you a warm start and accelerate your progress but you cannot expect immediate success.
- Sean Taylor, The Forces Group Managing Director 

How to find out what it’s really like to be a franchise owner

The best course of action is to talk to franchisees who already own and operate their own businesses. Ideally, aim to meet with people who have invested in the brands you’re considering, but you could also discuss the process more generally with franchisees across the industry. 

Franchise exhibitions and industry shows are a great place to meet successful business owners. Not only will you get to find out more about the franchises, but you’ll also be able to ask any questions you have. 

You can find out more about becoming a franchisee with our business guides, published daily. 

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