On the Road: Mobile Franchising
Location, location, location!
All good businesses know the importance of choosing a great location to operate from. You want to be close to your customers and maximise your exposure at the lowest cost. But one sector of franchisees doesn't need to worry about location. So what exactly is a mobile franchise?
Taking it to the people
An ever-changing view, mobile franchising means not sitting in the same office every day. You take your product or service directly to your customers and you both win. Service their car at their workplace, so they don't have to waste the weekend. Bring fabric samples to their house so they can find precisely the right shade against the whole room. Diagnose technical issues quicker in its usual place, so you have all the relevant information—wash dogs in familiar surroundings to reduce anxiety. People recognise the benefits of an excellent work-life balance and need services that can fit in with their varying schedules. A mobile business gives you the flexibility to meet your customers when and where they need you.
And the benefits continue.
From as little as $10,000, mobile franchises are a low-cost entry so that you can be on the road earning money sooner. With no business property to maintain, there are lower overheads and no landlord or centre management relationships to manage. This means they are a more straightforward business to run, and
so often, no extra employees are required. And while all franchise businesses allow you to take control of your lifestyle, mobile businesses have an extra level of freedom in that a store doesn’t need to close down or replace you if you have other commitments in business hours. Your business hours are whatever
works best for you and your product or service.
Mobile franchises come with the same support a bricks and mortar style franchise does. The source organisation can help you with all aspects of the business from practical things such as supplier lists, to industry-specific training such as how to create the most profitable and efficient coffee run. Usually, a franchisor will also provide business and administration support such as branding, stationery and social media and/or web presence. This means you can focus on the work you love knowing the experts have covered these other essential aspects in those areas. Many franchisors will also offer to mentor and run conferences where your fellow franchisees can inspire you. Running your own business doesn't mean you have to go it alone.
Mobile franchising is a fast-evolving sector. There is potential for a mobile franchise for any interest under the sun. Pets, property and coffee are amongst the most popular as are office supplies and services. Some existing franchises are even adding a mobile arm to their current businesses.
Before you jump in
When considering a mobile business, it's essential to do your research and understand the factors unique to mobile franchises. Be sure to carefully consider whether your desired business is a good fit for you. Like any business, your mobile business will flourish when it ticks three necessary boxes for the customer: quality, service and price. Without a shop for potential customers to wander in to, the quality of your work will be the main drawcard. You may decide that some extra training or experience would help before you branch out on your own. Do you have the personality to build and foster customer relationships? Depending on the type of work you do, repeat business could be your primary income, and customers return to where they feel valued. Identify any other challenges you might face and what you could do to overcome them.
Franchisors are required to provide you with several documents and details related to the franchise, and it is your responsibility to ensure you have fully understood them. Examine the franchise's financial health and see if it lines up with your expectations. Contact previous and current franchisees about the business, the franchisor and any issues they encountered. Double-check your assumptions will pan out as you expected. Consider specialist business and legal advice. Do your homework thoroughly and keep records in case there are issues down the track. You don’t want to find out you have to generate all your own leads after you've laid down your hard-earned cash. A fully informed decision is likely to be far more successful and rewarding in the long run.
Some franchises organise their franchisees into areas or zones to ensure equality in their customer base. Make sure you are clear about where you can and cannot work/service. Your Franchise Agreement will explain whether you have an exclusive territory or not, where you are permitted to market your business and any other exclusions and rights you have. Be sure to understand everything in this document before you sign up.
Owning your own business doesn’t necessarily mean every dollar you earn is yours. Find out what fees and other costs are involved in the franchise you are considering and don’t forget running and maintaining your vehicle. Some are initial payments, and some will be ongoing. If you’ve worked for a salary, your tax requirements could be quite straightforward. Taking on your own business means knowing what your reporting obligations are—Check-in with your trusted accountant about franchise-specific requirements. There are also potentially very different insurance needs. You want adequate coverage if you are working on private dwellings or at the very least, income insurance if the business would not be able to run if you were sick or injured.
Go for it
If you value your freedom, have a marketable skill and are driven to succeed, then a mobile franchise may be just the ticket.