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I want to expand and would like to know the least expensive way to franchise my company.

I have an awning cleaning company that's been expanding in the past two years. In the past few months I've received three calls requesting information on how to begin an awning cleaning company from as far away as New York. I think my best bet is franchising, but can I do it it at a low cost, or can you suggest an alternative? I'm a sole proprietor. I've been servicing California, Nevada and Arizona for the past six years.
Jeff Elgin answered July 7, 2008
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/221497
There are any number of different strategies for expanding your company, one of which is franchising. Others might be to expand as a business opportunity. through more company-owned units or by selling your operating system to another party that would then expand it (like the McDonald brothers did with Ray Kroc when McDonalds got going).

Of all these possibilities, franchising has many advantages, but being inexpensive is typically not one of them. In order to franchise, you have to prepare FTC-mandated disclosure documents and register the franchise opportunity in a number of states. This can easily represent tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for you before you even have a chance to start gaining revenue from franchise operations.

The best advice is to find a good franchise attorney and do an initial consultation to discuss the practicality of franchising your business. This type of conversation is usually free of charge, and you will receive a more accurate assessment of the various tasks and costs involved in becoming a franchisor. 

You can get referrals to experienced franchise attorneys through the International Franchise Association web site.

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.