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Note: This fictional "Dear Fran" article is based on questions we receive from people interested in buying a Canadian franchise.
I’ve been laid off at work and have a small settlement, about 50k.
I’m a bit older and less employable and worried about finding new work. I have some management skills, I’m good at budgeting, and I’m friendly and easy to get along with.
I’ve handled projects in the past where I’ve trained or managed co-workers. My last job was in an office, but I’ve also worked in waitressing, retail, and on an assembly line. I’m friendly and meticulous and I don’t mind working hard.
Wondering if maybe buying a franchise would be a good solution for me. My hobbies are ballroom dancing, antiquing and junk stores, and volunteering with youth.
What do you think? Is there something that I can do that matches the money I have and my circumstances?
Searching for solutions
Interview people in your target company and ... see if one of them will let you work for them for a week for free so you can see how things are done and what the work is like.
Franchising would be GREAT for you!
You are completely correct that employers are less likely to hire older women and you are lucky that you have a buyout to help you get started.
The rule of thumb is that to begin a franchise, you need the fees plus a year of subsistence income for yourself, with two years being recommended.
10k – 25k investment opportunities
We have several opportunities that require an investment level of 10k - 25k, leaving between 25k and 40k for your first year living expenses. That may be a bit tight, especially if you have kids, but it’s entirely doable.
We have maid services. In an urban market cleaning services are always in demand. Please forgive me for saying this, but it is truly an industry in which you can really clean up, especially if you are allied with a respected brand.
At the same investment level, we also have food vending opportunities and technology device distribution companies.
The next tier is a bit out of your range, but perhaps you have a working spouse and you mutually agree to support the first year of the business, or you know a coworker in the same situation, or another friend who would make a good partner for you.
While partnerships can be tricky to navigate, when they do work they can make all the difference in your success. Not only is there someone to help you stay motivated, but it’s always good to have backup if you are sick or have an emergency, and the same is true for them.
The key of course is in making sure you have the same goals and commitment levels.
25K – 50K investment opportunities
At this level, we have a much wider range of opportunities, which includes education, personal care, and home service franchises, among others. A few require specific expertise, but several really only require that you enjoy working for your customers.
Whatever you choose, make sure it really fits what you want to do day and out. Interview people in your target company and others in the industry. See if one of them will let you work for them for a week for free so you can see how things are done and what the work is like.
You really have to be self-motivated to make a business work, even on the days when it seems like success is always going to be a week away, it helps when the work is something you like.
Just remember that no matter what the main task of the company is, ie, cleaning, or teaching, you are going to have to personally do everything you don’t hire out. That means dealing with suppliers, payments, bookkeeping, logistics, hiring and firing.
The franchise organizations will often have best practices documents and training on these issues, but it’s also good if you are clear about your own comfort level with each of these tasks.
I hope this has been helpful. I think you’re on the right track and that you should spend some time here on BeTheBoss.ca researching the opportunities we present.