But with thousands of franchises available, the strength of the system itself--not just the name--is often the selling point. When Gard, a former employee at DJ franchisor Complete Music, got the chance to purchase the system's Portland, Oregon, territory, he knew he couldn't pass up the opportunity. And though many people don't recognize the Complete Music name nor realize that it's a franchise, Gard says the franchise has helped legitimize the industry.
"Maybe the name is not recognized like `Burger King,' but when you're supplied with employee-training materials, marketing materials and quality equipment, [you can get established] in your market almost automatically," says Gard.
Laund-UR-Mutt is a relatively new franchise, but franchisee Bernie Sturr had confidence in the system's potential. Already the owner of an independent dog-grooming shop, Sturr and his wife purchased their Boulder, Colorado, self-service dog-wash franchise from the previous owners. "[The advantage of the franchise] is the system for the dog-wash itself," says Sturr, 33. "[It] has specific plans for the tubs, plumbing, floors and walls, and how everything is set up."