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how to choose a franchise

How to Choose a Franchise in the UK

With franchises on the rise, now is a great time to invest. But how do you choose a franchise that suits your skills, experience, and bank account? This guide will answer those questions.

A Quick Overview of the Franchising Industry

Franchising is a successful form of business expansion. In exchange for a franchise fee, a business owner can license its operations, goods, branding, and knowledge to another person.

There are now over 48,000 franchised companies in the UK, double the amount that existed 25 years ago. With such persistent business growth, it is no surprise that entrepreneurs are looking for new opportunities to buy franchises.

Why Should You Buy a Franchise?

Franchising is an excellent alternative if you want your own business. There are available prospects in practically every sector, giving you plenty of options from which to choose.

Plus, joining a franchise allows you to receive the benefit of a tried-and-true product or service while being your own boss.

Your operation costs are generally lower than with a start-up, and the bulk of the marketing is already in place. If you are part of a recognisable business such as Starbucks, you may not have to do any marketing. However, if you are part of a smaller one, you may receive ownership of some marketing materials.

Additionally, when buying into a franchise, the support system and supply chain are already in order. All of this allows you to focus on optimising your business without unnecessary distractions.

You must, however, put in the effort. Finding an opportunity that matches your skillset and passions is critical. Weigh up all relevant considerations, including related fees and corporate assistance, before making any purchases.

Find out more: Need help pitching yourself to a franchisor? Learn how to stand out from other franchisees.

What Makes a Successful Franchise System?

criteria franchise system

If you want to buy a franchise, you need to know how to find and select a successful system. Understanding what to look for in each of your various opportunities will help you make the wisest investment choice.

1. Dedication

To succeed, business ownership requires dedication and passion from both franchisors and franchisees.

2. Capital

Money is necessary to start up, run, and develop a franchise. Without this, you cannot expect a company to thrive.

3. A coherent plan for development

The franchise should know exactly what it is doing and what comes next. A solid plan will help keep things on track.

4. A knowledgeable and cooperative team

As with any business, the people behind it can be the difference between make or break. The franchisor’s team should be experts in the industry and operations and should want to cooperate with the franchisees to boost favourable results.

5. Support and tools

A franchisor should offer their franchisee the training, support, and tools they need to run the business successfully.

6. Customer support at every level

The success of any business is reliant on keeping consumers happy. A reliable customer support system is vital for this.

7. Community involvement

Donating time and services to a local community raises awareness of the company's existence, allows it to give back to the community, and can provide useful input on how to grow a franchise.

8. Networking

Most successful franchises have a secure network of other franchisors and franchisees. These people provide valuable connections and insights.

9. Balance of interest

A good franchisor is acutely aware of competing interests in general and correctly balances them. The finest franchisors appear to have an amazing capacity to spot flaws in their competitors' armour, and they turn these potential disasters into opportunities.

10. Vision

Because franchising is a long-term commitment, the brand must have the potential for long-term growth. The franchisor should have a clear vision of where the brand will go in the future, as well as an understanding of market dynamics, competition, and their position in the market.

Choosing a Franchise that Suits You

With any business opportunity, you must choose something that aligns with your own experiences and passions. There will always be challenges when you start to find a franchise, but choosing one that suits you will help you secure a smarter long-term investment.

So, what should you be looking for when investigating franchise prospects?

Explore the market

Look into the demand and competition of franchises before you make any binding decisions. Certain areas may be more profitable or already overwhelmed with competitors. You should investigate those with the fastest-growing markets.

Brand reputation and potential

Consider the reputation of a brand and whether that is suitable for your location and consumers. You need to evaluate whether that brand has a strong potential market in your location. Greggs, for example, has a 73% positive opinion amongst the British public.

Industry options

Review what types of franchises are available and popular in the UK. You will likely be more attracted to certain industries than others because of your personal interests or potential value you can add.

Budgeting and considering the franchise fee

Most franchisors require an ongoing royalty fee from their franchisee, either as a percentage or a fixed sum. The prospects accessible to you will most likely be determined by the capital you have available for the initial and ongoing investments. When planning your budget, keep in mind that it will most likely take some time to become lucrative, and you will need enough money to get by until then.

Personal skills and experience

While you don’t need to choose a franchise solely based on your past experiences, it can be a good place to start. Generally, in business, it is unwise to go in with no prior understanding if you want to develop sales, and a franchise is no different.

Training and support

One of the benefits of a franchise business format is that they already have a system for training and support. Consider your own goals in relation to the support and training options different companies offer to find a franchise that suits you.

For instance, Autosmart offers their franchisees a 5-day induction course where they can learn about the products, sales, and market insights. Further to this, Autosmart also has a service support team and provides monthly business reviews to help franchisees improve their sales and profits.

Conversations with current franchisees

The best way to get to know what it will be like to work as a franchisee is to talk to others already in that position. These individuals will be able to give you a more honest perspective on what the franchisor model is like, including their strengths and weaknesses.

Understand the network

Does the franchise business you are interested in have a strong network? Look at who they network with and consider what opportunities this may afford you.

Likewise, it would be valuable to attend franchising expos and other network events to get a holistic feel for the industry. The International Franchise Show is one such expo you’d benefit from.

Comprehend the franchise agreement

A franchise agreement is a legal contract between a franchisor and a franchisee that spells out expectations, duties, rights, and limitations. The disclosure document offers critical information for potential franchisees considering a large investment. It is vital you spend time reading through all relevant documentation for clear information regarding what is required of you and what the franchisor owes you.

Find out more: Looking for funding? Learn how to request finance for your franchise.

Top Franchises in the UK

The top UK franchises have stores throughout the region and have excellent profits. Food industry franchises are among the biggest names and are experiencing continued growth as they develop their strategies to suit the modern world, with quick and easy delivery options.


In 2021, Starbucks had 1,089 stores in the UK, 791 of which were franchises. The company is globally famous and has stores worldwide, with a 2019 revenue of £14.43 billion ($19 billion).


DPD is the UK’s leading parcel delivery service and currently has over 84 locations and delivers 260 million parcels every year. Their model offers to assist franchisees with the necessary training to help them earn approximately £140-170K in 3 years.


There are currently 1,370 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK, 1100 (82%) of which are franchises. Estimates suggest that most of these franchise stores will have an annual cash flow of £50-550K after their first year.


Subway has over 2,500 franchised stores located around Great Britain. The total investment required to buy a franchise is between £85,570 to £221,240, with an initial royalty fee of £8,500. After this, the franchisee will also need to put 8% of their net profits toward royalties and 4.5% for marketing.

It’s Time to Find Your Franchise

There are numerous opportunities to buy a franchise in the UK. You can find prospects in almost every industry, so there is something for you no matter where your interests or expertise lie.

Now that you know more about how franchising works and understand how to choose a successful one that suits you, it is time to start exploring opportunities. Keep in mind your budget and goals whenever you are making a decision.

To find out more about franchises for sale in the UK, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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