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Question added to topic FranchisesMay 4, 2011

What Do I Need to Buy a Franchise?

I'm interested in movie theaters. What certificates and documents would I need to have to buy a franchise in this market? Is it possible to buy a franchise without any capital?
If you want to buy a franchise you'll need to have three things.

First, you'll need to have the money to get the operation up and running successfully. You can use a combination of your own funds, equity you raise from other people and/or borrowed money to meet this requirement. In today's market, borrowing is challenging so you should assume that more of the required money is going to have to come from you or your connections. Otherwise, you might have to wait until the credit markets return to a more normal position of lending.

Second, you need to have the management experience and skills that the franchise requires in order to be successful. By buying a franchise, you are contributing your time and talents to building that franchise business. Before you attempt to by the franchise, you should make sure that your skillset matches up well with the requirements of the franchisees.

Third, you need to satisfy any other legal or regulatory requirements that are mandated by the business you have selected. Sometimes this can be as simple as acquiring a lease or getting permits for your build-out. Other times it can be more difficult because you may need to meet special licensing or educational requirements before you can begin operations. Your franchise company should be able to tell you about any of these sorts of requirements before you buy the franchise.

If you satisfy these three requirements then you are well on your way to being able to buy a franchise.

Related: Four Key Questions for Prospective Franchisees
Related: Franchising ROI: What's Reasonable?

Jeff Elgin has almost 20 years of experience franchising, both as a franchisee and a senior franchise company executive. He's currently the CEO of FranChoice Inc., a company that provides free consulting to consumers looking for a franchise that best meets their needs.

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