Can I be of Service???

Date: SEP 27th, 2007

Topic: Industry Experts

This issue is dedicated to franchises in the service industry. It’s a timely issue as this segment of the franchise industry has seen the greatest growth over the past few years. In fact, many of the micro-franchises featured in a previous issue are service franchises. There are many features and benefits of this new breed and in my opinion; they are a welcome addition to the franchise offerings available to prospects of all kinds.

What makes a service franchise so much more accessible than other concepts is that generally there is a much lesser initial investment that has to be made. Primarily this is due to the fact that a home office will generally suffice and the equipment package consists of a computer, fax and other business supplies. This lesser investment then opens up the whole industry to a new category of prospects that have less funds available. As an offshoot, most of these franchises do not require a labour pool either but are run by the franchisee and perhaps one significant other. These two factors alone make it very attractive to own one as the overhead costs are substantially reduced.

Another plus offered by service franchises is that they generally provide quite good quality of life. Many are business to business so they operate during regular business hours. In any case, the franchisee has much more flexibility in scheduling of his time than in a retail concept where the hours of business are set by a landlord. As well, because the nature and scope of the operation is more restricted in its offerings, they are easier to run and from a franchisor’s perspective, easier to monitor and control as well. This is franchising in its simplest form-a business in a box. A feature that is very important to prospects is the speed at which these businesses become operational. Once the initial fee is paid, training rapidly follows suit and since there is no site selection in most cases, the franchisee can be in business within 30-60 days. This is crucial for both personal and corporate cash flow. Insofar as experience is concerned, unless it is a regulated or licensed industry, such as brokering or accounting for example, the training you get from the franchisor is all you need.

Service franchises abound. There are as many types and styles as there are prospects. I advise all my clients, no matter what they purchase, to make a quality of life decision first. Select an industry that you truly enjoy and have a passion for. For any franchise to be a success the franchisee has to be working in and dedicated to it. Next, look at your financial capacity. It may not be expensive to purchase the franchise, but you have to examine the working capital requirements as well. The choices are endless and many of them can be found at the back of this magazine or on the website at www-quebec-franchise.qc.ca.

Business to Business franchises are ideal for professionals of all levels looking for quality of life. They allow you the ability to maintain the professional nature of your career but in a much more self-controlled manner. It required self-discipline however to get up and go to work every morning when you are your own boss. The reward of the ability to schedule your time is immeasurable and the ability to be financially successful is not at odds with having quality of life. Several systems operate on an even simpler level for those who prefer a more structured relationship whereby the franchisor does all of the back office work for the franchisee, including all the financial statements! Service industries are more tailored and specific, allowing each prospect to find a better “fit”, and good “fit” is the ultimate goal. Regardless of what you choose any service business is a “people” business so if you are not a people person, this is not a good choice for you. The success of these businesses depends mainly on customer relations and long term relationships. Often this is because services are competitive and otherwise you would have to compete on price. It’s the service of the service that sets the business apart.

My industry picks, home care, (the largest segment of the population is 50+), new financial services, online businesses and quality home meal replacement. Today everything is about ease, convenience and quality of life, but without compromising value. That’s why there has been such a proliferation of service franchises. And why not? Who in this world doesn’t like to be served?

Sincerely,

Lori Karpman



Lori Karpman, B.C.L/LL.B, is President of Lori Karpman & Associates Ltd., full service franchise consulting and law firm providing an array of essential professional services including, strategic planning and concept development, management and operations consulting, distribution options, marketing/sales, executive recruiting, training and related legal services. Lori Karpman can be reached at lori@lorikarpman.com or toll free at 1-888-888-3183 or via www.lorikarpman.com.

Lori Karpman
President,
Lori Karpman & Associates Ltd.