Making The Grade

Capital Idea

What happens when you find the perfect franchise...with a perfectly unaffordable franchise fee? If that franchise is executive search firm Sanford Rose Associates International (SRA), you dive right in with the help of their Flexible Plan Purchase program. Akron, Ohio-based SRA International's Flexible Purchase program allows qualified individuals to defer up to 70 percent of the $35,000 franchise fee; franchisees later make payments using business revenues.

"I'm convinced I would not have my own business today if I'd had to write a check for the entire franchise fee." says Jeff Jenkins, owner of an SRA in Dalas and the first franchisee to sign on to the purchase program when it began in 1995.

Franchise owners must begin payments once the business starts generating revenue. The franchise fee must be paid in full within 18 months.

"Applicants must prepare a business plan, investigate by contacting a number of our franchisees, and demonstrate a keen understanding of how the industry works," syas SRA vice president Douglas Eilertson.

So far, only two franchisees have purchased units under the program, but Eilertson predicts there will be other candidates soon since SRA plans to add 15 units to its network of 50 offices this year. -L.A.

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This article was originally published in the March 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Making The Grade.

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