Q. How long will it take to get my franchise up and running?

Success as target in a map. Success principles in the road as middle points. Focus in thumbtack.

Franchisees put a lot of research and due diligence into the discovery process to find the best business opportunity. It’s an exciting time when a franchisee has chosen their path, but it’s also important to have realistic expectations when it comes to the ramp-up time needed to launch a franchise. Even after the agreement is signed, there’s a period of necessary preparation to complete before a franchisee can open for business. It’s crucial that a franchisee doesn’t cut corners so that the launch is as successful as possible.

If a franchisee is asking his or herself or their franchisor how long it will take to get up and running, they’re taking the right steps forward. However, it’s a bit of a subjective question, and new franchisees should understand what goes into the launch process.

While there’s no general rule of thumb, most experts agree that a franchisee should expect to spend anywhere between two and 24 months getting their business off the ground.

What exactly goes on during that time? It begins with a franchisee taking charge of their future and heading down the path to entrepreneurship. The time spent on franchise research is fundamental to success. This is when the clock really begins ticking. Once the franchisee has chosen the brand they want to pursue, and they officially join the brand’s system, the rest of the time before opening depends on the franchise concept itself. Franchisees should understand that franchisors also want new units to open as soon as possible, so it’s in each party’s interest to move quickly.

If a franchisee needs a storefront location, securing the lease will be part of the process. Finding suitable real estate can be a long endeavour, and will greatly affect the amount of time it takes to get up and running. On the other hand, if the business is mobile or runs out of a home or shared office space, the time it takes to launch will be significantly shorter. Many franchisors use software to help with the real estate process, zeroing in on area demographics and traffic patterns for a prime location. Franchisees and franchisors alike will never want to rush the decision to find the right location.

Another element that affects the timeline of opening a franchise is dependent on whether real estate is being built from scratch or if the franchisee is opening in an existing space. If there is a full build-out taking place, construction can be time consuming. Square footage, materials needed and – yes – even the weather, will all influence how long the construction period will take. Again, home-based franchises won’t have any added time for construction, which may be appealing to franchisees eager to begin their services.

Another thing to keep in mind is that franchise registration and business operation permits and requirements vary by province, and so do their response times. This part of the process is completely out of a franchisee’s hands, so they need to prepare for the unexpected.

Each franchisee, and potentially even managers or additional employees, also have to spend time training ahead of their grand opening. In addition to attending training classes at a franchisor’s corporate offices, they may also need to watch videos and read manuals on their own time.

Between all of these factors, franchisees should keep in mind that their franchisor should be able to better indicate the average time frame that it takes to open locations. During validation calls to existing franchisees, ask them how long it took to open.

Once a franchisee has decided to invest, they need to be ready to devote the necessary time it takes to build a strong business, as rushing any decision may prove to be disastrous down the road. Franchisees should also focus on following the model to be successful.

FranNet has assessed that it should take anywhere from two to 24 months to launch a franchise; from making the initial decision to the grand opening. That time period is highly contingent on multiple factors. There’s no need for franchisees to be discouraged if it takes a bit longer to get things up and running.

Finally, consider connecting with the wide range of available free resources on the web to gain expert insight and streamline the opening process, including the Franchising 101 section of www.FranchiseCanada.Online.

Cat Moutoux
Social Media & Marketing Manager
FranNet LLC
cmoutoux@frannet.com
1-800-FRANNET