Financial insecurity drove some residents of Alberta to the Canadian Franchise Association's annual Franchise Canada Show. The association is a nonprofit that supports franchisees and franchisors across the country, currently representing over 40,000 franchisees and more than 700 brands operating in Canada. Many attendees of this year's show expressed concern about their ability to find jobs in their field and area, leading them to consider starting a business of their own instead.
Every year, franchisees add more than $96 billion to the economy in Canada, and they also provide jobs for more than 1.8 million people in more than just fast food eateries. Despite the popular belief that all franchises are in the fast food sector, 60 percent of franchisees are actually in non-food sectors, including retail chains, renovation service providers and residential services.
In Alberta, the presence of franchises is certainly felt in the local economy. The Canadian Franchise Association reports that nine percent of the province's workforce is connected to franchises, and that franchises contribute 3.5 percent of the province's gross domestic product. Alberta's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent for January, which is slightly down from the 7 percent rate it saw at the start of 2018. With the oil and gas crisis and the economy driving people in various ways right now, many are exploring franchise opportunities as a way to help secure their financial futures.
The average investment required for a franchise in Canada can vary widely, from a few thousand dollars to a million or more, depending on the sector, required building and equipment, brand and other factors. Naturally, there is no guaranteed return on this type of investment and it's a lot of hard work, like opening any new business would entail. However, franchisees do have the benefit of the brand strength, support and systems that come with franchising that would not be available if they were opening a business independently. The right franchisor will have support and tools available for franchisees to use to grow their businesses.
Before you sign with any type of franchise, be sure to research the opportunity, its industry and the brand thoroughly to ensure you are signing with the right brand at the right time. With such a significant investment on the line in terms of your money and your time, it pays to do your homework before entering into any type of legal agreement.