What are the risks in becoming a franchisee: ask the expert

I have been looking a various ‘work-from-home’ opportunities for a little while. I came across a franchise over the weekend and have got myself rather excited about taking serious steps into signing the dotted line. I don’t know much about franchises other than the fact that it’s usually a well established company/ business and has completed a business plan, but does a franchise have to be registered with the British Franchise Association? And what protections, if any, do I get as the franchisee if they are not registered?

Franchisors do not have to apply to the British Franchise Association for membership. Membership can only be granted if the businesses meets a strict set of criteria regarding the structure and ethics of the franchise – from finances and support, to marketing and history. Franchisors volunteer to put themselves forward for this accreditation and not all succeed. When you are looking at franchises, if they are a member of the bfa it will give you a lot more confidence. However, a non-member is not automatically a bad business. What it means, though, is that you do need to ask why they are not members and be extra diligent in you research of the company.

If the business is a member, as a franchisee you get access to the bfa complaints channels and mediation services, but if they are a non member this would not be available. However, do make sure that you look at the bfa website for professional advisors, as this resource will identify all the expert in the industry, such as specialist franchise solicitors who will be invaluable when checking documentation or dealing with disputes.

For more information on starting a franchise, visit workingmums.co.uk’s FranchiseZone.

Tom Endean is marketing manager of the British Franchise Association and has developed and managed the communications, brand,  press relations, general marketing, events and partnerships with the bfa since July 08.

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