The vaping industry is developing at pace with technology, and vaping franchises are finding success across the globe. If you’re interested in starting your own, here’s a great place to start.
In a fast-paced world, smokers are turning to vaping as a replacement for traditional cigarettes. Vaping is efficient, cutting-edge, and doesn’t produce tar or carbon monoxide. What was once a tiny product range is now a global sector. But what exactly is a vaping franchise, and should you start one?
What is a vaping franchise?
The term “vaping” refers to the act of inhaling a vapor created by an electronic smoking device. Many people are now using vaping as a replacement for smoking regular cigarettes. It’s a step on the road to quitting for many, and there are certain health benefits in switching from smoke inhalation to vapor inhalation.
A vaping franchise sells electronic smoking devices and e-liquids, of which there are thousands. Customers can choose to inhale flavours ranging from cherry cola to banana to coffee. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of people turning to e-cigarettes as a smoking alternative increased by 314%, from 700,000 to a whopping 2.9 million [Chemist 4 U].
Should I start a vaping franchise?
We know that this industry is now growing. With the proper implementation of comprehensive regulations, local economists predict that the value of the vape industry will increase.”
—Ashraf Rozali, MVCC Head of Information
The UK is the second largest market in the world for vaping and the industry is worth £2.3 billion [Statista]. With as many as 2000 vaping shops across the UK [Metro], in terms of seeing a return on your investment, vaping is a great sector in which to start a franchise.
With that said, it’s important to note that the vaping industry has faced some tough press in recent years. Like most things, vaping comes with advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to be fully aware of before you can truly determine whether or not vaping is the right kind of franchise for you. Here are the key advantages:
- Vaping is considered safer than smoking - According to Public Health England, “Vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking.”
- Vaping doesn’t create the same kind of unpleasant aroma - Vaping doesn’t leave that distinct “smoker smell” behind, and though it does admit an aroma, many will actually enjoy this smell, depending on the chosen flavour.
- When vaping, you can control your intake of nicotine - You can choose the level of nicotine strength contained within your e-liquid. This allows highly addicted smokers to slowly lower the level they’re taking in over time.
- You can also adjust the output power of your electronic smoking device - You can control the amount of vapor you inhale with each puff.
- The flavour choices are endless - On this topic, the BMJ said, “We found that 20,000 e-liquids were reported, having 245 unique flavour descriptions. Approximately one-third of the e-liquids was classified as having a fruit flavour (berries, citrus, tropical or other fruits). Subsequently, the largest categories were tobacco, dessert and menthol/mint.”
And here are the key disadvantages, which will be equally important to consider as you make your franchising decision:
- Vaping is still harmful and dangerous, just like smoking - Even if the risks are reduced, the fact remains that whether you’re smoking or vaping, you’re breathing harmful chemicals into your lungs.
- There’s a lack of data available about potential health risks, especially for long-term users - In the words of Stephen Broderick, M.D., from Johns Hopkins Medicine, “With tobacco, we have six decades of rigorous studies to show which of the 7,000 chemicals inhaled during smoking impact the lungs. But with vaping, we simply don’t know the short- or long-term effects yet and which e-cigarette components are to blame.”
- Vaping seems to target, in part, an inappropriately young demographic - This might be down to the fun flavours or the somewhat reduced stigma. Whatever the reason, 5% of 11 to 15 year olds were vaping in 2019 [Public Health England].
- Vaping starter kits can be costly, pricing certain people out - The price might put certain people off, reducing your customer base.
- The sheer volume of choice might overwhelm some customers - Sometimes, too much choice is a bad thing, and can lead to customers feeling overwhelmed. With so many flavours to decide between, and other factors in play like nicotine level and device power output, the vaping process won’t appeal to everyone.
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Top tips for starting a vaping franchise
If, having considered the pros and cons carefully, you’ve decided that you’d like to start a vaping franchise, you’ll need to make sure you do your research and connect with the right franchisor for you. You’ll then need to secure funding, sign the franchise agreement, and get going. As you go about starting your franchise, here are some top tips:
1. Research, research, and research again.
Show the franchisor you’re looking to work with that you’re committed, passionate and in-the-know, and set yourself up for future franchise success.
2. Weigh up all the costs.
Franchising isn’t cheap, and you’ll need to be sure you can foot the bill. Plenty of UK banks will be willing to loan you 50-70% of start-up costs, but of course, an outright and debt-free investment will be preferable for you and your franchisor.
3. Choose the right location.
When starting your own vape shop, be sure to seek your franchisor’s advice about the kind of location you need. Choosing the correct base for your store will have a huge positive impact on your franchise journey.
4. Select quality products.
When you’re running your own business, regardless of the industry, you want your customers to keep on coming back to you. By offering top quality products and developing a reliable reputation for them, you’ll ensure continued demand for your stock.
5. Follow all the regulations and laws.
Franchising in the vaping industry comes with a few more regulations than some other franchises might. Be aware of these rules and regulations including the all-important law that you cannot sell your products to anyone under the age of 18.
Example of a great vaping business opportunity
Vapestore is one of the leading online retailers in the UK vaping space. First established in South London in December 2014, the franchise has been growing ever since. To become a franchisee, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £50,000, and you won’t be charged any ongoing, monthly fees.
Our franchise programme is designed for experienced business people who want to enter into this exciting and growing sector, without the need for being a vapor or a vaping expert, as we take all the worry out of knowing what products to stock and how to source them. We are a one stop supplier for everything they will ever need.
>> Read more:
Invest in a vaping franchise
Whether you’re looking to start an e-cigarette franchise, or just have a wider interest in the franchising industry, you can find more franchisee tips and tricks in Point Franchise’s range of articles.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©