If you’re considering buying an existing franchise operation from an acquaintance, and want to be careful, there are certain things you should look out for. You also need to know how to find out if the selling price of the business is reasonable.
In franchise terminology, the purchase of an existing unit in any system is referred to as a ‘resale’. A resale can have some wonderful advantages over starting a new unit from scratch, but it can also be a nightmare. It’s essential that you know what to seek and what to avoid in this process.
There are two types of franchise units offered for sale. The first group consists of successful operations that are making money. The other group consists of units that are not successful and are either losing money or barely making ends meet. Each group can potentially represent an opportunity for you, but the risk associated with the second group is substantially greater. During your investigation, you must determine which group the unit falls into right now, and which group you think it will fall into after you’ve owned it for a while. Do not make the assumption that it’ll stay in the same group it’s currently in. So how do you figure this out?
The first question to ask yourself is, “What is the motivation of the seller to sell the business? Why do they want to get out of the business, and why now?” Are they ready to retire, or just want a change of pace? Or are they trying to escape an unbearable grind of 80-hour work weeks and constant employee hassles? Do they know about some future change that’ll make the business less viable, and want to get out before it happens?
At the risk of appearing cynical, this is critical information. It’ll probably take a little digging on your part to find the truth. Most sellers are smart enough to figure out that if they tell you the business is horrible, you’re not going to want to buy it from them. They all dress up the business in its Sunday clothes for your inspection.
Ask the right questions
To be safe, you need to not only talk with the seller, but also look at other sources of information. These other sources should include the franchisor as well as competing chains in the business or other industry sources.
From the seller, you need to find out:
- What is their motivation for selling? Is their reason completely believable, and does it suggest anything negative in the future?
- What has the financial performance of the franchise been over the past year or two? What are the trends, and what are the reasons given for the trends, particularly if the recent trend data is flat or negative?
- What is the status of the employees of the franchise? How important is retaining key employees in successfully producing future projected results? How sure are you that they are going to stay?
- If the franchise is site-dependent for success, what is the status of the real estate? Is there any challenge with the continuation of the lease? Is there any scheduled future road construction or other impairment that might affect otherwise positive results?
- Do they know of anything that has not yet been disclosed to you that might hinder future performance of the business? Make sure to ask this question point blank; your attorney can include their answer in the purchase contract to protect you.
You should also go to the franchisor and conduct a complete investigation of the franchise just as if you were going to open a new unit from scratch. This exercise will give you valuable information to understand the business and to make sure you’ve asked the seller all the right questions.
Finally, you should ask the franchisor to confirm the information you’re receiving from the seller, including specifics. They won’t want to do this, because they don’t want the legal liability, but they also don’t want you to join their system under false pretences. If the seller is not being honest with you, you’ll often pick up clues from comments made by the franchisor.
This article focuses on the negative potential of the resale process. Don’t misunderstand, though: resales can be great, as long as you avoid a few basic mistakes. Invest the time to gather the relevant information, and you should be fine.
Getting the right price
You first need to determine whether you think the future performance will be positive under your ownership. If the answer is no, or you’re uncertain about potential risk factors, your best strategy is to forget the resale. The risk is just too great.
But if the answer is yes, and the business is currently successful, you’ll have a fairly easy time dealing with pricing, since you have existing earnings to work with. The best valuation method is to use a multiple of the net cash flow you will receive from the business.
Net cash flow is the difference between the revenue of the business and the necessary business-related expenses required to produce the revenue. You should have access to the historical financial statements of the business to derive this number.
Most business owners run expenses through their business that aren’t really required to operate the business. These can be expenses like company cars, football season tickets or meals and entertainment. There might also be extraordinary salary costs associated with the owner. Take the net income of the business and add back these unnecessary expenses to determine the true net cash flow you can expect.
The price of this type of successful business should be about two to five times this net cash flow number. The more stable and dependable the cash flow, the higher the multiple that’s reasonable for you. The multiple is also higher when the trends of the business growth are positive rather than flat or negative.
Turning it around
The second type of resale, when the business is not currently performing well, is more difficult to price. The existing owner will always have many good arguments about why the business isn’t performing, but ultimately it comes down to whether you are convinced that a simple change in ownership will fix the problems.
About the only time this is true is when the existing owner is not operating the business according to the system designed by the franchisor. If you have confirmed that most or all other franchisees following this system are doing fine and have determined that there are no other problems related to, say, a bad location, then you can proceed with some confidence.
In this circumstance, you are looking for a real bargain. If you’re not going to get a great deal on the resale, why bother? You can always open a new unit with this franchise as an alternative to buying this resale. To evaluate the resale price, start with the total cost to open a new unit in the system, including all the marketing costs and operating reserves necessary to operate a new unit until you reach the average breakeven time on operations.
From this figure, subtract a liberal allowance for the money you need to invest in marketing and operating expenditures to get the resale unit to breakeven. Also subtract a liberal allowance for any infrastructure investments you feel might be necessary to get the physical plant and employees of the unit up to scratch.
The difference in this calculation represents the absolute maximum price you should even consider paying for this unit. A reasonable person would almost certainly discount this difference substantially to offset the risk associated with buying someone else’s problem.
If the seller is not happy with this method of valuation, that’s OK. You’re the one who’s going to have to live with this purchase, and you want to walk away from this type of resale unless it looks like a very strong opportunity to you. Feel free to tell the seller to try to find a buyer at a higher price and call you back if that attempt is not successful. There’s no line of people waiting to buy unsuccessful units, and you’ve got time on your side.
You don’t need an advisor to determine whether this may be a reasonable transaction for you to pursue. You absolutely do need a good attorney who is experienced with business purchase agreements if you want to go forward with the purchase.
Your attorney will assist you with the letter of intent, the purchase agreement, the assignment documents, the bill of sale and all the other requirements to complete this transaction.
This process isn’t brain surgery, but a good attorney will point out a host of protections that you might not have thought of, and the fees are generally not a large percentage of the purchase price.
Resales can be a wonderful way to enter the franchise business. You can avoid much of the pain associated with starting a new business by buying one. Just make sure you are careful and diligent, and this process should work to your advantage.
Choose A Job You Love, And You Will Never Have To Work A Day In Your Life
Join Col’Cacchio’s 26-year-long love story.
- Joining fee: R125 000
- Monthly management fee: 6% of turnover
- Monthly marketing fee: 2% of turnover
- Total investment: approx. R2.5m to R4.2m (turnkey) Size: 140m2 to 350m2
- Unencumbered cash (before loan): 50% of total investment
(Above figures exclude VAT)
“Owning your own restaurant is like owning your own future.” – Dominic Dempers, Franchisee Durbanville, Belvedere & Meadowridge Cape Town
We’re looking for passionate franchisees who will love our brand as much as we do.
Why you should join this delicious success story
- Assistance with site selection & lease negotiation
- Store design & build
- Full training provided for management and staff
- Marketing & operational support
- Product innovation & menu development
- Efficiency in all systems
- Healthy margins.
“Our journey started with a single restaurant on the foreshore with the aim to serve the very best pizza around” – Greg Mommsen, Business Development Director
“Watching this brand grow and empowering people has been immensely rewarding. We have staff that have been with us for over 20 years. It’s like a family, we work hard, we laugh, we cry, we celebrate and of course, we eat a lot of pizza.” – Michael Terespolsky, Founder and Managing Director
“Becoming a franchisee is an amazing opportunity to join the family and become part of the Col’Cacchio success story. We’re 100% behind out franchises at every step, making sure that we all continue to learn and flourish” – Greg Mommsen, Business Development Director
“It has been filled with challenges along the way, but all the rewards have made every moment worth it.” – Michael Terespolsky, Founder and Managing Director
Visit www.colcacchio.co.za or call Tarryn Godley on 084 800 7264 and let’s get this adventure going.
Smoothie Franchise Opportunity: Puré Frooty Is A One-Of-A-Kind Smoothie Franchise Business
Looking for the next greatest franchise opportunity? Puré Frooty Smoothie is a highly perfected Australian business model launching in the South African market that doesn’t require extensive shop fitting or a large workforce.
- Brand: Puré Frooty
- Established: 2017
- Website: www.purefrooty.co.za
Puré Frooty Smoothie is a unique business model to the South African market. A delicious, fruit filled smoothie will be created at the touch of a few buttons.
An Innovative Franchising Concept
This innovation in the healthy smoothie industry is ground breaking for South Africa. The machine is manufactured in Australia by a highly skilled team. It took six years to perfect this business model for the consumer market.
The vision of Puré Frooty Smoothie is to offer convenient on-the-go smoothies for anyone. The experience and quality will always be of the highest standard. We aim to be a staple convenience in malls, schools, office parks and hospitals. This is a platform that will allow for self-growth for passionate entrepreneurs.
Our mission is to create a unique customer experience. We want to satisfy the nutritional needs of customers by providing quality smoothies. Puré Frooty Smoothie will be packed with all the goodness a smoothie should offer.
The four values we pride ourselves in are:
- Customer Satisfaction.
Why Consider This Franchising Opportunity
Extensive research into the business model and market
Puré Frooty Smoothie was an idea, researched widely, by people looking to simplify the business process for the consumer and business owner. There was a gap in the market for simplified customer service and a demand for a quicker turnaround time.
Simplified process for setting up a business
For an entrepreneur it can be very overwhelming to start or buy a new or existing business. There are so many crucial decisions that need to be made from the beginning and new concepts to adapt to.
Puré Frooty Smoothie simplifies that drastically:
- Free-standing machines: The business model revolves around a free-standing vending machine which needs to be visited to refill and maintenance.
- No shop-fitting required: There is no need for shop fittings or a large work force. All that is required is an inside space for the machine with a power supply.
- Minimal human resources needed: In terms of a work force, you could either do it yourself or have one person to assist you. There is also a part time involvement where refill station teams can refill and maintain the machine.
- Cashless business: The business is completely cashless so there are no worries of a note jam, full cash canister or insufficient denomination rand values. More importantly the machines would do a higher turnover than an ordinary vending machine so safety of no cash is important.
- Easy tracking of stock and performance: A cloud-based system is linked to the point of sale which allows you to monitor your performance and stock from the back-office platform at any given time.
- Efficient handling of maintenance: With a live point of sale system, the business is linked to a software which monitors the operations of the machine. Should anything malfunction an immediate notification will be sent with a diagnostics report.
- Human error is eliminated: Everything is done with a computer which leaves little to no room for errors. It is self-order and very user friendly.
Related: SA Fast Food Franchising On The Rise
Why Will Customers Love It
Puré Frooty Smoothie offers a vending machine that can produce a delicious smoothie in forty seconds. An informative touch screen ordering panel which displays all the nutritional information of the smoothie ordered and has the current news and weather.
No time wasted for the consumer. In fact, it’s a learning session disguised as a waiting period. The machine has two wash cycles after every smoothie is made to be freshly prepared for the next smoothie, business hygiene is important.
Consumers live in the fast lane. We are looking for something quick and most times we would like to be healthier. With the hustle and bustle of today’s life every little bit helps. Puré Frooty Smoothie fills that gap in the market.
Interested in Becoming A Franchisee?
Visit our Franchise Info Page for everything you need to know about how to become information a Puré Frooty Smoothie Franchisee owner.
You can also call or write to us:
Phone / 012-942 6360
Email / email@example.com
Want to know more about this franchise? Watch the video below for more.
4 Top Tips To Find Your Best Franchise Opportunity
The President’s recent Job Summit highlighted the critical need to reduce unemployment. The franchise sector employs 369 573 people, 93 percent employed by individual franchisees rather than franchisors.
Several years of strong sectoral growth combined with business opportunities that are often backed by an investor safety net is making franchising the top choice for many who want to own their own business. This assessment is based on the strong foundations of my own experience of establishing Cash Converters nearly a quarter century ago and the recent results of Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) annual industry survey.
These figures show that the SA franchise industry has grown its turnover by 55 percent from R465 billion in 2014, when FASA conducted its first survey, to R721 billion in 2017. Alongside this, the sector’s contribution to South Africa’s GDP has expanded by 62 percent, from 9.7 percent in 2014 to 15.7 percent in 2017.
The President’s recent Job Summit highlighted the critical need to reduce unemployment and boost the national economy by growing business and stimulating job creation. The franchise sector employs 369 573 people, 93 percent employed by individual franchisees rather than franchisors.
Franchising can be a win-win for franchisees. It enables you to make your dream of running your own business come true as well as contributing to providing much-needed new jobs.
These factors make franchising a particularly attractive option for those wishing to start their own business. But with 865 different franchise systems active in the country last year, the huge range of choice can be confusing.
To prevent analysis paralysis and ensure you can get set to make the most of franchising, I can offer four top tips for selecting the best franchise opportunity for you:
1. Choose a credible brand
As you shortlist franchisors that appeal to you, go beyond what they tell you about themselves and find out about what people are saying about them. Do social media searches to find out how consumers are reacting to the product or service offered, pricing and customer service. Your franchise fee should buy you a halo effect thanks to your franchisor’s good reputation. Too much negativity around the brand will affect the potential success of your franchise, from your ability to attract customers and the turnover and profit you can hope to generate.
2. Look for a proven business model
A worthwhile franchise shares with franchisees the intellectual property it has developed over the years. It has created and grown this business model over time, knocking off rough edges and fine-tuning systems for mistakes as they become apparent. Check the brand’s news history online as well as its own sales material. Be wary of any franchise that claims to be perfect or invincible.
Nobody is – so either it has something to hide or it is fooling itself. Either way, such a brand is not keeping its eyes open to navigate the brand and its franchisees through the changing fortunes of business.
Related: Thinking Of Going Into Franchising?
3. Check the support systems
Getting relationships and systems right is vital in business success. They have become even more important since we founded Cash Converters nearly 25 years ago because the volume of legal compliance has mushroomed. Make sure that the franchises you shortlist offer you support in coping with this and that those running the brand are in touch with what happens on the ground in the franchisees’ stores. At Cash Converters, for example, our front-end support staff are in stores every day and the directors devote three days each month to visiting stores. This ensures that our expertise is available to guide the franchisees through any business issues they face.
4. Follow the recipe
When you sign up with a franchisor, you receive access to its business model, including the “recipe” for running your franchise. This forms a kind of safety net so you do not need to reinvent a wheel when setting up your business. But you cannot complain that the business model does not work if you do not implement it. This is one of those times when you must follow the recipe to bake the cake successfully. If you are not the kind of person who wants to do that, then think again about whether franchising is for you.
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