Franchise Requirements - Is a Degree Necessary?

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Franchise requirements - do you need a degree?

We often hear franchise candidates asking franchisors whether it's necessary to have earned a degree in order to become a franchisee. Here, we take an in-depth look at the question and discuss whether a university degree is really a prerequisite for franchise ownership.

How does a degree benefit you?

A university degree benefits you in a number of ways. First and foremost, it demonstrates to employers, investors, and business partners that you have achieved a certain level of proficiency in your chosen field. It shows that you have put in the hours required to pass the exams and complete the coursework.

Second, it proves that youre able to dedicate yourself to a task over a number of years and see it through to completion.

Finally, it suggests that youve had a fairly well-rounded education and been through a wide range of experiences.

On the other hand, degrees aren't always used in the way you presume them to be. Previous studies have shown that 50% of graduates don't work in their field of study. If a degree is so essential, why do so many graduates go on to work outside of the field they're qualified to operate in? There are two possible answers to this question.

  1. Studying for a degree requires you to develop a number of different transferable skills that can be used in a wide variety of fields.
  2. Earning a degree isnt necessary to do many of the jobs in the modern economy (though it may be necessary if youre to get your foot in the door).

Business or subject-specific degree?

The other important question concerning degree-level qualifications and franchising is whether a business degree or a subject-specific (e.g. English Literature, Biology, or Mathematics) degree is more useful. The answer to this is obviously context-dependent, but in the case of franchising, you could make an argument that a business degree is a more attractive option. Whereas the owners of independent start-ups have a little more creative freedom and have to think of ways to innovate and overcome problems, franchisees follow the franchisor's plan closely and have a lot less independence. That's not to say that they don't need business skills or acumen, but that their success is less dependent on their individual abilities.

What youll need besides a degree

Whether or not a franchise requires you to have earned a degree-level qualification, youre going to have to display a number of other qualities if youre to make it. First and foremost, youll need a serious amount of drive and determination to become a franchisee. Its not an easy or quick process and, once youre in charge of your own unit, the hard work only increases. Drive and determination are key characteristics of all successful business owners, but particularly those in franchising.

Second, youll need to commit to a business plan and be able to collaborate closely with your franchisor. This requires excellent communication skills.

Finally, a good franchisee also has some knowledge of the industry theyre operating in and business in general. In order to help you decide whether youre ready to take on a franchise, regardless of whether you have a degree or not, weve compiled a list of five question to ask yourself

5 Questions to ask yourself

1. Are you willing to learn on the job?
The franchise model depends on franchisors maintaining standards across their franchise network. To do this, they offer high-quality training to all new franchisees. They also provide numerous training and networking opportunities to franchisees as you grow your business. This ensures that you're up to date with all the latest industry developments and are constantly upgrading your skillset. A degree may not be necessary if you're willing to learn on the job and do what you need to do to develop your skills.

2. Are you willing to follow the franchisors business plan?
Franchising differs from other business models because it encourages you to follow someone elses business model. With independent start-ups, youre usually trying to distinguish yourself from the competition. With franchising, youre following the franchisors business model to the letter. Even if you dont have a degree, you should be able to succeed as a franchisee if you simply follow the plan.

3. Are you willing to put in the hours?
Qualifications show that youve developed skills in a certain field of study but they dont show that youre willing to put in the hours or commit to a business for any considerable amount of time. In reality, they say little about your work ethic. Franchisees particularly early on in your franchise ownership have to work hard to make the business a success. A degree doesnt necessarily demonstrate that you can do this.

4. Are you willing to adapt your lifestyle to meet the needs of the business?
Not all businesses will lend themselves to your lifestyle. If you find a franchise that seems like a good fit, youll need to consider whether it suits your lifestyle or whether youre willing to adapt your lifestyle to meet the requirements of the franchise. In many cases, a flexible franchisee is more valuable than a highly-qualified one.

5. Are you willing to take the risk?
Finally, having earned a degree says nothing about your ability or willingness to take risks. Even the most profitable franchise is a risk. To some extent, all business ventures are risky and business owners need to be able to weigh up the pros and cons and come to an informed decision that puts the business best interests first.


Unless a franchise specifically states that a degree is necessary to become a franchisee, it's usually the case that "unqualified" candidates are just as likely to succeed in the role as those with a university degree. Franchisees need certain qualities that are far more important than a degree, so not attending university should never hold you back when it comes to franchising

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