A couple of years ago I met a gentleman who had been downsized from his position at a medium-sized company. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time he had lost his job due to corporate cost-cutting measures. He was rapidly becoming a veteran of corporate downsizings.
This man -- let’s call him Jim – was ready to look at other options, including going into business for himself. He especially liked the idea of owning a franchise, because in his mind, there was already a proven model in place, and if he followed it, he would have a reasonably good chance of success.
There was another perk to owning a franchise, though – the ability to have his family involved. Jim wanted to establish a business his children could help build with the hopes of eventually passing it down to them.
He's hardly alone in that thinking. Owning a franchise is often a family affair. The franchise world is full of husband-wife teams, and the sons and daughters of franchise owners often get involved in the business themselves.
If you're thinking of buying a franchise, there are some that make better family businesses than others. Here are three.
The most visible of all the franchise sectors, food franchises are popular choices for today’s prospective franchise owners. They can also be good family businesses.
The long hours that are required in the food-service business can be pretty challenging, but shared, they can be a little easier to swallow. Husband-wife teams can trade opening and closing duties; the kids can pitch in when needed, including covering for employees that call in sick or are no-shows. While burnout is common in the food-service industry, investing in a food franchise as a family can go a long way in preventing it as long as everyone pitches in.
A busy retail franchise is an ideal family business. The hours aren’t usually as long as those in food franchising, and duties such as inventory control, bookkeeping and promotion can be easily spread out among family members.
Another benefit of a family-owned retail franchise has to do with holidays, especially the big ones that occur in December. According to the National Retail Federation, the holiday season can represent as much as 20 to 40 percent of a business's annual sales, which means it can be a stressful time for business owners. Having a built-in holiday staff (family members) can do a lot to relieve that pressure and handle extra holiday volume.
You don’t necessarily have to know a lot about cars and trucks to own a franchise in the automotive sector of franchising. Today’s automotive franchise owners come from all sorts of backgrounds. If you’re skilled in things like operations and customer service, opportunities abound.
Entire families can be involved in just about any of the automotive franchises that have been established, such as those in car maintenance, glass repair and the rental-car market. Opportunities exist for family members to be involved in sales, customer service and administration.
Automotive franchises tend to be fast-paced businesses; energetic owners and family members do best.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.