The Reality Of Running A Hands-On Franchise

25/03/2018 17:45 | Start a business

Hands on franchise opportunities

Considering running your own hands-on franchise? From greater flexibility to lower costs, there are plenty of advantages of choosing this type of business compared to a more extensive site-based franchise. However, there are some challenges associated with operating your own van-based franchise, so it's essential to get the full picture before you make any commitments.

Heres a guide to what you can expect running a hands-on franchise:

Hands-on franchise guide

1 - Relatively inexpensive to set up

Many hands-on franchises don't require a significant amount of capital to set up, so theres a lower financial risk. That means youre less likely to rely on funding, which could save you more money as you wont have to worry about paying any interest on loans. Some can also be operated part-time, so you could continue with other commitments or just enjoy the extra time off.

Another reason these businesses are among the most affordable franchises is that they can often be run by one person. That means theres no need to spend hours of your time posting job adverts and recruiting staff. You get to keep a much higher proportion of your businesss revenues, whereas a larger franchise will have to pay out salaries.

2 - Lower overheads

Probably the most significant advantage of running a van-based franchise compared to other franchise companies is that you wont have to worry about any expensive office renting costs. Generally, its easier to become a profitable business earlier on in the franchise contract, especially if you have a lot of experience in the sector youre trading in. On the other hand, a bigger franchise will face much higher costs and could take much longer to become profitable.

3 - Flexibility

If you've always preferred to be out on the road than being stuck in an office all day, van-based affordable franchises could be just for you. You can work as much or as little as you want, meaning you'll have more time to meet family commitments and take time off when you need to.

However, as your business grows, and your customer base expands, you may find yourself working much longer hours or struggling to keep on top of your business functions. This is when it will be necessary to hire staff or purchase another vehicle to ensure you can meet your demand.

4 Physically demanding

As you might imagine, many hands-on franchises can be physically demanding. For example, running your own pizza franchise could be pretty hard work if you have to knead copious amounts of dough every day. If you run a plumbing business, you may need to spend hours crouched down fixing pipes, which can take its toll on your body.

Or imagine if you were the owner of a photography franchise and were the official photographer for a wedding or party with more than 1,000 guests. While it wouldnt be as physically demanding as plumbing, it could be quite challenging spending hours standing and moving around as you try to get the best shots of each guest. On your busiest days, you may struggle to find the time to have lunch or grab a quick coffee, especially if you're travelling to remote areas of the country.

5 - Youll be on the move a lot

A van based franchise like a plumbing business will need to be on the move regularly, often a short notice. This can be mentally demanding, especially when youre fully booked and spend hours on the road each day. If youre travelling far and wide, youll spend much more time away from home, which could make it harder to balance your work and family commitments. However, some people will still prefer this to sitting in the same office all day.

6 - Travel costs

Unsurprisingly, there will be higher travel costs if you need to drive dozens or even hundreds of miles a day to different locations. Youll also need to factor in the cost of fuel, the impact of fuel price increases, and the cost of maintaining your vehicle and sending it for repairs from time to time. However, you will be eligible to claim all work-related travel costs as expenses on your tax return to reduce your annual tax bill.

7 - Traffic

This is something that every van-based franchise will have to deal with. Usually, with normal rush hour traffic, you can estimate the journey time, so youll know how long it will take to get to a customers address. This usually means having to leave home a little earlier and getting back later than youd like. However, the most disruptive traffic is the kind that happens at short notice. Road accidents, severe weather, burst water mains and other factors can quickly lead to congestion, making it harder for you to get to your customers on time.

Unfortunately, this is part and parcel of running affordable franchises and being your own boss. Therefore, its important to stay up-to-date with local traffic so you can prepare for every contingency and minimise disruption to your business. Ask for your customers contact details beforehand so you can let them know when you might be late and what your expected arrival time is.

8 - Lower marketing costs

Compared to a site-based franchise, a van-operated business won't need to spend so much money on marketing? Why? Because your van will do your marketing for you. Just having your brand name and contact details on your vehicle will make it difficult for other motorists and pedestrians not to notice you. For example, if someone has a leaking pipe and sees a van that has a brand name with plumbing, all they have to do is make an online enquiry on their smartphone on the spot or remember the name of the company and search for it online later.

However, all franchises companies need to have an optimised website, so their customers can easily find them online.

Hopefully, all the above advice will prove useful if youre considering investing in affordable franchises in your area.

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