Buying a Franchise
By: Kevin B. Murphy, Franchise Attorney, MBA - Mr. Franchise

NORMAL WORKING HOURS AND DAYS;
SUFFICIENT FRANCHISE INCOME LEVEL

Will the nature of the business allow you to work a normal five-day, forty-hour workweek? Life is too short for the seven-day, sixty to eighty hours a week, workaholic lifestyle that destroys health, family and pocketbook.

Financially, we've calculated the true hourly rate for franchise owners who work these workaholic hours and discovered many are making far less than the minimum wage. One couple who operated a $200,000 fancy pizza franchise in an upscale mall were shocked to discover they were making fifty cents an hour each. Hardly an income level to recoup or justify the franchise investment. Many more fast-food franchise operators make even less, or operate at a loss until their funds, retirement savings, homes, etc. are exhausted.

Buying a franchise in a non-food industry doesn't necessarily improve the franchise profit picture. In a 2006 article "Mail Boxes Etc. Owners Fighting UPS Conversion," a Mail Boxes, Etc. franchise owner who operated his franchise since 1993 reported profits for a typical MBE store like his were $16,000 per year after paying royalty and advertising fees to the franchise company. That calculates out to about $8.33 per hour for a forty-hour work week, approximately the wage of an entry fast-food worker. 

Another major shortcoming of disclosures in the Franchise Offering Circular is not telling you how much money the franchises in the network are making. Instead of answering what is the most important question in a franchise investment decision, the franchise disclosure laws make this “optional” for the franchise company to answer or not. If they do answer this critical question, it will be found in Item 19.

But don’t hold your breath – more than 90% of franchise companies “decide” not to answer this question. It’s another bizarre reality in the world of franchising. Although they collect complete monthly (and in many cases, weekly) financial profit and loss statements from their franchise owners, and know exactly how much their franchises are making (or losing), more than 90% decide not to share this information before you buy one of their franchises.

A number of franchise salespersons have told persons asking this question: "the franchise laws don't allow us to answer that question." Nothing could be further from the truth.  And just because you’re a business executive making a 6-figure income now, don’t assume this income level will be duplicated in a franchise investment just because the company “approves” your application.

One such executive, despite a plethora of negative feedback from current and past franchise owners who’d lost everything, marched forward with her franchise investment in a 30-minute fitness concept. Despite her 6-figure income, she didn’t invest a dime in professional franchise evaluation advice and stated she was taking a leap of faith, hoping to build her wings on the way down. Build her wings on the way down? Sound's (and is) crazy, but this happens all the time.

Due to the ploys of the franchise salesperson, too many franchise investment decisions are based on emotionalism. Prior business skills, business sense (and even common sense) are short-circuited. Needless to say, if this business executive made a similar investment decision for her corporate employer paying the 6-figure salary, she would be promptly fired.  

MINIMUM NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

Can you operate the franchise business with 6 or fewer employees? Managing dozens (or in the case of some fast-food operations - hundreds) of minimum-wage teenagers who are constantly quitting or simply not showing up for work is a royal pain in the ..... Well, you know what we mean.  

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