I was recently asked what I thought the pros and cons of franchising are; rather than answer this myself with my obvious bias opinion of franchising I thought the best way to address the question was to throw it open to our franchisee.
Below are the responses that I got from them within the 24 hour deadline I set to come back to me. When I showed these to the original questioner she exclaimed…
“I can’t believe so many of them were willing to respond to your request so quickly. It just shows what a good team CheapAccounting.co.uk are”.
Real comments from real franchisees
The following are unedited …..
- Support network
- Proven model
- Cost effective
- Key person exposure – ie what would happen if the owner (or in generic terms existing management team), sold / left
- Potential risk from competitors moving into similar space and impacting ongoing success of franchise (ie rest of the accountancy market is still slow to get to grips with online proposition but eventually this will change)
You are in business with other fellow franchisees so there are benefits of sharing ideas, jobs.
All the infrastructure such as operations, marketing and procedures are provided.
Use of a brand which has proven successful so potential customers feel safe.
Obtaining external services such as tax software, accounting software etc at discounted prices.
Membership requires standards and qualifications so customers can expect to receive services of certain level of quality.
Regular support form head office.
Franchisees are not completely independent. They are required to operate their businesses according to the procedures set out in the franchise manual.
The pros I see as ‘the ability to grow your own independent business but within a large support network that can provide not only the technical support needed for a new practitioner but the confidence to take on new clients and the feeling of not being alone should not be under estimated.’
The cons I see working at home can take a bit of getting used to, but at least there is no commute.
- Advantages of having access to network of colleagues with vast and diverse experience.
- Advantage of being able to mitigate professional subscription cost to i.e Tolleys library by sharing service with other associates.
- CA module, eliminates need of investment into marketing and advertising
- Almost guaranteed trickle of leads
- Especially applicable to sole practitioner, is presence of college network, not necessary for professional, but also for social communication. Makes one feel not alone.
- Established practices, that can be followed.
The main advantage for me as a mother of two young children is the flexibility that working for myself provides. Whilst I need to ensure that I respond to clients’ queries within a reasonable time frame I do have some scope to choose my working hours. I work from home so this saves the time and stress of commuting but does however require the discipline to sit down and work when necessary. It can also be difficult to ‘switch off’ when there is no segregation between work and home.
I have built a strong business without doing any of my own marketing and while I am currently happy with the status quo I also know that there is scope to expand my business as my family grows up.
Having a network of fellow franchisees that I can turn to for help and advice is very useful rather than going it alone.
One of the unexpected advantages of joining a franchise was becoming part of a network of accountants, not just for the obvious benefit of sharing technical information but also to be able to meet periodically to discuss anything from work/ life balance to software packages and also to have cover when I go on holiday. It means I’m able to have a proper break without either neglecting my clients or being constantly available to them.
1) Working for yourself – choosing your own hours and time in which you work
2) Having a business as part of a franchise means you are in business for yourself but not by yourself so get lots of support from the network
3) Building a practice quickly with the help of the franchise – this would take much longer without the franchise
4) Being part of a well established brand
1) Not really to do with a franchise but sometimes being remote the interaction of being in an office
2) Ensuring that you never let the franchise brand down although this in my opinion is also a challenge of running your own business.
I have been a franchisee for two years.
- Working for myself is very refreshing after a career in industry, as I am master of my own destiny. The hours are not any less but it is fulfilling obtaining new clients and then providing a professional service to them.
- It may not suit everyone, but I find it is marvellous working from home. No more commuting for me! I do however miss the camaraderie in the office, but not the endless office meetings!
- It provides great flexibility as I get nearer to retirement age, as I have control over how much or how little work I want to do during retirement.
- Having come from a senior background in industry I found it a steep learning curve having my own accountancy practice which requires a different skill set. Joining a franchise like CheapAccounting.co.uk however is a great help though, as you do receive induction training and can call on the collective knowledge of the franchisees.