Starting a business from the comfort of your own home can be a fantastic way to lower your overheads and improve your work-life balance. But how do you know which home-based franchise business is right for you? Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Unlike businesses in the fitness or restaurant industry, for example, home-based franchises cover a huge variety of different sectors. From finance, to healthcare, cleaning to home tutoring, plumbing to dog-sitting; the selection of opportunities in the home-based business sector is wide-ranging.
As a result, it can be hard to decide which type of home-based franchise you want to join. So, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best options. Keep reading to find out which kind of business would suit you best.
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1. Working completely from home
There is a wide variety of different options for those who want to manage their franchise unit entirely from the comfort of their own home. Opportunities in this area include ‘online’ businesses in sectors like financial services, insurance and recruitment, as well as franchises with contracted employees who visit customers in their own homes. Healthcare and cleaning companies fall under this category.
The franchises listed above are ideal for entrepreneurs who value time spent with family, as there’s no lengthy commute involved. And if you have pets, you’ll also be able to reduce your stress levels by playing with them during the day.
But one of the biggest advantages of starting a business in this area is the lack of geographical limits. As part of an online franchise, you’ll probably have the chance to work with clients from across the region, the country or even the world. By capitalising on demand from different locations, you should be able to boost your income.
Choosing the right franchise
One of the difficulties associated with online businesses is finding and securing new customers. Working from home, you’ll miss out on all the passing trade high-street businesses benefit from. For this reason, look out for franchises with a positive reputation and established customer base. Usually, these two elements come alongside effective marketing activity, so make sure your chosen franchise invests in high-quality promotional campaigns.
Also, if you’re working on your franchise unit from home, it can be easy to forget you’re part of a huge network of people. Many franchisors organise regular meet-ups, not only for their franchisees, but for the entire company and its staff, so try to choose a business with plenty of opportunities to socialise.
2. Welcoming customers into your home
Many home-based businesses bring the customers to you, so you don’t have to move a muscle to carry out your business’ services. Opportunities in this area include hairdressing, tutoring and photography franchises.
Running a franchise in this category doesn’t involve any travelling, so, again, you can reap all the benefits of eliminating the daily commute. This model is particularly relevant for investors with a suitable workspace. For instance, if you run a home photography business, you should have a dedicated studio with enough space for all the equipment needed to take beautiful shots.
If you’d like to become a private tutor, you’ll need to make sure you have a large desk or table in an appropriate spot. And, whether you run your sessions from the dining room, conservatory or home office, your workspace should always be clean, tidy and professional.
Choosing the right franchise
Often, businesses involving customers visiting you in your home require a specific set of skills, so your existing specialism may dictate the franchises you look into. But, once you’ve narrowed down your search, there are a few elements to consider…
Again, marketing is vital for home-based franchises, and your unit’s reputation is arguably even more important when you’re welcoming clients into your home. Parents will be reluctant to drop their children off at your house if they know little about you. So, look out for franchises carrying out extensive promotional activity and establishing themselves as trusted businesses within the community.
If you start an at-home franchise unit in this area, you may have the chance to capitalise on ‘special’ occasions. For example, hairdressers sometimes offer styling services for weddings, tutors can work towards SATs, school entrance exams, GCSEs and A Levels, while photographers can capture new-born babies, birthdays and anniversaries. You can maximise your revenue by joining a home-based franchise that can cater to these special occasions.
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3. Visiting customers in a car or van
If you want to get out and about but minimise rental payments, why not join a van-based franchise? With this set-up, you would manage the business from home and carry out services by visiting customers in your van. This category covers sectors like car repair, plumbing, electrical services and home improvement. You could even run a dog walking or mobile food business.
Van-based franchises are great for investors with a little extra money to spare, as you’ll need to prioritise the upkeep of your vehicle and pay for petrol. But this option is still more convenient than running a business from a ‘brick and mortar’ premises, as you won’t have to ‘close up shop’ at the end of the day, setting alarms and leaving the lights on overnight. Simply park your car or van outside your house and come back to it when you next need to use it.
This set-up also has excellent growth potential, as you can easily expand your unit into a multi-van operation by hiring additional staff. What’s more, advertising is less important here than in the two home-based franchise models listed above; by investing in a vehicle livery, you can promote your business wherever you go.
Choosing the right franchise
Van-based franchises cover a swathe of different sectors, so it’s hard to provide specific advice when it comes to choosing a good one. But, as a general rule, look out for franchises you recognise. If you’ve spotted them on the road or in advertising material, chances are your future customers will have too.
That’s not to say new and upcoming businesses should be discounted; there are lots of fantastic small franchises just making a name for themselves. So, it’s worth doing a bit of research to see which ones are valued highly by existing franchisees and customers alike.
Depending on the sector you’re joining, you might prioritise franchises covering a number of different services, such as car, van and motorbike repair. And, as you’ll have the ability to advertise as you go, make sure you opt for a franchise with a modern, eye-catching brand identity to really maximise your income potential.
Joining the home-based franchise sector
We’ve highlighted some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a franchise in a specific sector – but there are a few other aspects budding franchisees should never overlook.
Regardless of the type of business you’d like to start, make sure you’ve got the right skills to do the job. If you haven’t, read up on the franchise’s training programme and check you’ll have the chance to learn them before you get going. Also, do your due diligence to confirm the franchise is well regarded and isn’t operating in a saturated market. Ask yourself, does this business have a USP?
If you’d like to find out more about running a franchise unit from the comfort of your own home, read our Top 5 Home-Based Business Ideas.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©