5 ways to spot an ethical franchise

Learn what to look for when researching franchise opportunities.

If you’ve already done your homework and decided that a franchise is the best way forward for you to run your own business, you’ve still got a huge decision to make: which franchise business should you put your trust (and your money) into?

What makes this such a difficult choice is that there are currently over 900 different franchises in the UK to choose from and they come in all shapes and sizes and a whole range of industries. 

Whichever direction you decide to head in, picking a franchise with an ethical reputation is always a good business bet. Here are five sure-fired ways of recognising an ethical trustworthy franchise:

 1.   An ethical franchise will have a good track record

It’s easy to be seduced by a strong and clever idea but, until it’s proved itself in the marketplace, you can’t be sure it has what it takes to succeed in the real world. On a fundamental level, the product or service you choose to align with needs to work well enough to bring in enough income for a decent level of profit for both the franchisor and the franchisee. 

Of course, all franchises are different and they should all be judged on their own merits. A well-established franchise should shave a number of eye-catching case studies they can point to as a strong indicator of potential. A newer franchise is unlikely to have the same level of evidence, but they should at least have a successful pilot scheme they can use to suggest viability.

At the same time. make sure the franchise you’re considering investing in isn’t dependent on selling its franchises to make the money it needs. Ethical franchises tend to make it easy and cost-effective for franchisees to jump on board with relatively low initial costs. They’ll also invest in a high-level of training so new joiners can hit the ground running. That’s because they know full well that they’ll make good money themselves if you’re profitable from the outset..

2.   An ethical franchise has an easily repeatable template

While, on the one hand, there needs to be room for a hard-working individuals with strong business acumen to flex their muscles and achieve higher than expected financial rewards, a good franchise also needs to have a simple formula that’s easy to replicate in different locations across the country.

Success needs to be transferable with consumers happily buying into the same system, brand and quality, wherever they happen to be. It’s this high level of consistency that gives consumers the reassurance of knowing that, in whichever store they make a purchase, the cup of coffee or the quality of dry cleaning will live up to their expectations.

 That’s something you’ll benefit from yourself the moment you buy into an ethical franchise.

3. An ethical franchise has transparent business processes

Any good business, whether it’s a franchise or not, should be transparent to all those dealing with it. So, any information on the business that is relevant to a franchise holder, should be readily available and clearly conveyed.

 All financial projections and earnings forecasts should be reasonable and achievable. If you’re furrowing your brow because you’re struggling to understand an important aspect of the business, then the chances are the problem lies with the franchise rather than with you.

 An ethical franchise will understand the value of making everything clear so that new prospects have a good idea of what needs to be done and why. They should also make you feel comfortable asking any question you want to whether that’s about day-to-day operations, fees or sustainability targets. In fact, they should be encouraging you to ask questions rather than making you feel awkward about it because the better acquainted you are with the business model before you jump in, the more successful you, and they, are going to be.

4. An ethical franchise believes in training and more training

 We’ve already discussed that previous business or sector experience is not important for franchisees and, part of the reason for that is the fact that a good franchise will invest in regular, ongoing training so you’re always on top of your game.

 That means comprehensive process, sales and marketing and technical training before the doors even open for business. But, importantly, it shouldn’t stop there. There’s likely to be so much useful experience to be found in many of the other franchises and it’s important that this best practice is shared.

Plus, of course, technology is evolving the whole time and it’s vital that all franchisees are kept up with the latest innovations to enable them to stay ahead of the curve.

5. An ethical franchise is sure to be a bfa member

Since forming in 1977, the British Franchise Association (bfa) has been setting the standards for ethical franchises and providing reassurance for individuals considering buying into a network.

Its rules for behaviour comply with the European Code of Ethics for Franchising that is committed to ensuring fair business models and opportunities for its members. All bfa members must follow regulations which include rules on complaints and appeals, and they must also comply with the Code of Advertising Practice set out by the Advertising Standards Authority.

While membership can’t guarantee you eternal profitability, it does show a commitment to doing things in the right way and providing an environment that is conducive to success.

Joining the bfa is voluntary, not compulsory, for franchises so membership indicates that an organisation is looking to do things in the right way. But, equally reassuring, not every franchise that asks to join the bfa is accepted, as the high standards for membership will always need to be met.

So, deal with a bfa member and you can be confident the business model is one that can be successfully replicated from one location to the next. You’ll also know that you can trust that any agreement between you is fair and won’t be derailed by a technicality hidden away in the small print.

As a general rule, if you’re looking for a franchise you can trust, then bfa membership should be the very first thing you look for.

Swimtime ticks all the boxes with the five criteria listed above. If you’re seriously thinking of starting your own business by buying into a franchise, then we believe Swimtime certainly warrants a place on your shortlist. The more you find out about us, the more we think you’ll agree, so why not check out this link for further information. Or feel free to get in touch for a chat with no obligation whatsoever.

Published by Swimtime: (updated: )