On The Road: Mobile franchising
Ever felt tied down by travelling day in and day out to the office, staring at the same four walls? Then perhaps a mobile franchise is for you.
The freedom and diversity you will gain by hitting the road and visiting your clients could be the change of scenery you are looking for. The variety of mobile franchise opportunities is vast and ever-expanding. Everything from food vans, dog washing, lawn mowing, house cleaning, car
washing, selling tools, servicing cars, package delivery, fence building, business consulting…phew! The list just goes on and on. You name it, and there will probably be a mobile franchise available for you to make all your own.
The one thing they all have in common is that they do not operate from fixed premises.
Territory, as with most franchise business, is particularly important when operating a mobile business.
With a mobile franchise, your income will be received from the clients that you establish within your specified territory, so of course it is imperative that you know the exact parameters of your allocated territory. It is also important that when doing your research into a mobile franchise that you investigate whether it is actually possible to generate the income you require – or desire!
The ways in which franchise systems divide their territories may differ – whether it is by postcode or physical boundaries – you will need to investigate the area thoroughly. Some franchise systems offer exclusive territories, in which you will be the only operator of that franchise in that area, while others offer non-exclusive territories. In non-excusive territories you will face competition from not only other similar businesses but also from other franchisees in your network.
Always check with the franchisor as to the specifics of territory allocation for the franchise system you are investigating.
As a mobile franchise operator, you are master of your own daily schedule. Need to drop the kids at school? No worries! Surf’s up? Grab the board and hit the waves! Obviously you’re not going to make much money if you spend all your time running errands and hanging ten, but when the occasion does arise, it’s great to be able to have some flexibility in your day.
As with any business, you are only going to get out of it as much as the hard work you put into it. With a mobile franchise you can choose to work as little or as much as you want.
Good customer service can set you apart from your competitors, and is what will keep your clients coming back. When operating a mobile franchise, this is truer than ever before. Be on time, be well presented, and ensure that you have everything you need to perform the job, or have the stock your client wants, every time. The presentation of your vehicle is also imperative. It is representative of maintained and it will show your clients and members of the community that you take pride in your business.
In most cases a mobile franchise will be cheaper to purchase than a franchise operating from a retail outlet, the obvious difference being that fixed premises is not required therefore eliminating the need for a lease and rent payments and the cost of a shop fit out.
Mobile businesses often operate from a home office, also keeping overhead costs at a minimum. To get started all you may need is a phone and computer.
In addition, mobile franchises often eliminate the need to employ additional staff members into the business, so the costs of doing so, and the associated paperwork, also disappear.
However, just because your investment into the business may not be as high as that of a retail outlet, this does not mean your due diligence should be cut short.
Regardless of the type of franchise you choose to purchase, by conducting thorough due diligence you will increase your chances of making a good decision and of future success.
Due diligence is the process of evaluating the prospective business purchase by getting information about the financial, legal, operational and other important aspects of the business.
Some of the questions that need to be answered include:
• Do you enjoy the work involved in this franchise?
• How much will you need to invest to buy and operate your business?
• What initial and ongoing training will you receive?
• What level of support will you receive with managing your business?
• What kinds of marketing activities are conducted by the franchisor?
• How will you receive leads? Will they be provided by the franchisor or will you be responsible for generating them for yourself?
• Does the franchise have the ability to remain competitive and maintain its brand value?
Evaluating a prospective franchise business is not an easy process and professionals in franchising can help you carry out your due diligence. An accountant, lawyer and your bank are important sources of advice and knowledge.
Talking to those already involved with the franchise system is a great starting point; franchisees can share firsthand their experiences with operating within the franchise system. The franchisor should be forthcoming with the contact details of current franchisees.
It’s also recommended you read the Franchising Code of Conduct to understand your rights as a franchise and those of the franchisor. The Franchise Council of Australia has an abundance of information relating to the code as well as recent changes and reviews of these changes on their website www.franchise.org.au.