Monday, February 4, 2008

Disadvantages

ControlFor franchisees, the main disadvantage of franchising is a loss of control. While they gain the use of a system, trademarks, assistance, training, marketing, the franchisee is required to follow the system and get approval for changes from the franchisor. For these reasons, franchisees and entrepreneurs are very different. The United States Office of Advocacy of the SBA indicates that a franchisee "is merely a temporary business investment where he may be one of several investors during the lifetime of the franchise. In other words, he is "renting or leasing" the opportunity, not "buying a business for the purpose of true ownership." Additionally, "A franchise purchase consists of both intrinsic value and time value. A franchise is a wasting asset due to the finite term, unless the franchisor chooses to contractually obligate itself it is under no obligation to renew the franchise."

PriceStarting and operating a franchise business carries expenses. In choosing to adopt the standards set by the franchisor, the franchisee often has no further choice as to signage, shop fitting, uniforms etc. The franchisee may not be allowed to source less expensive alternatives. Added to that is the franchise fee and ongoing royalties and advertising contributions. The contract may also bind the franchisee to such alterations as demanded by the franchisor from time to time. (As required to be disclosed in the state disclosure document and the franchise agreement under the FTC Franchise Rule)

ConflictsThe franchisor/franchisee relationship can easily cause conflict if either side is incompetent (or acting in bad faith). For example, an incompetent franchisee can easily damage the public's goodwill towards the franchisor's brand by providing inferior goods and services, and an incompetent franchisor can destroy its franchisees by failing to promote the brand properly or by squeezing them too aggressively for profits. Franchise agreements are unilateral contracts or contracts of adhesion wherein the contract terms generally are advantageous to the franchisor when there is conflict in the relationship. [15] Additionally, the legal publishing website Nolo.com listed the "Lack of Legal Recourse" as one of Ten Good Reasons Not to Buy a Franchise:

“ As a franchisee, you have little legal recourse if you're wronged by the franchisor. Most franchisors make franchisees sign agreements waiving their rights under federal and state law, and in some cases allowing the franchisor to choose where and under what law any dispute would be litigated. Shamefully, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigates only a small minority of the franchise-related complaints it receives.[16]

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P. Chrystie said...

Neat post. I'll keep this in mind because I plan on running my own business soon. I know it'll be tough, so I can use all the help and advice I can get. More recently I've been thinking about buying a business instead of starting one from scratch. Maybe a franchise? Home based? I’m not sure. Do you have any suggestions? Advice? Thanks.

Deena Houston said...

@P.Chrystie -- If you're thinking about buying a business, there are bunch of websites that offer the service. I know there's BizTrader.com, which is an online global marketplace where you can buy and sell a business. It has excellent tips and advice, and you can also use it to find a lender, broker, etc.

I also highly suggest checking out any small business groups in your area. They can be very helpful, and it's always good to network.

Good luck!