Buying a franchise vs starting a business from scratch is something many entrepreneurs have to consider at the beginning of their business journey. While there’s no right or wrong answer, your choice will largely depend on what kind of business owner you want to be.
To help you decide, we’ve broken down the main reasons why you would choose to own a franchise instead of starting a business from scratch—and vice versa.
We’ll go into more detail below, but here are some of the differences between franchise ownership and solo business ownership.
Buy into a franchise system if you want…
- Access to an existing business and well-known brand
- An existing customer base
- Faster return on investment
- Marketing and sales support
- Ongoing training and support
Start your own business if you want to…
- Build a business from the ground up
- Have full control over branding
- Introduce a new product into the existing business market
- Make changes to the business at any time
- Don’t have money to invest
There are pros and cons to each business model, so the ultimate decision rests on your personal preferences and your vision for running a company.
Franchises have the power of an established brand
Buying into a franchise system is like starting your business three steps ahead of everyone else. This is because, when you buy a franchise, you’re buying into a brand that’s established.
Having brand recognition from the very beginning can help your franchise business start growing as soon as the doors open. People decide to buy based on a number of factors, but having a brand they recognize and trust can be crucial to the decision-making process. If your customers are choosing between your brand and a business they’ve never heard of, it’s more likely they’ll choose your services based on name recognition alone.
But it isn’t as easy as closing your eyes and picking the first franchise you land on. First, you’ll need to do your due diligence to find out about the franchise’s current reputation, how satisfied their customers are, and how long they’ve been operating as a franchise business. Remember, not all franchises are created equal.
For example, many prospective franchisees choose Nurse Next Door, as we’ve been around for 20 years—enough time to prove ourselves as a premium service provider in the home health care services industry. Home health care is a competitive space and you need to stand out to succeed. Luckily, it’s hard to miss Nurse Next Door’s bright-pink signage, vehicles, and communication materials. We stand out in a sea of clinical, drab senior care competitors, and our branding reflects our unique values and our core purpose of helping every client experience Happier Aging™.
Independent businesses have full control
For some entrepreneurs, starting a business from scratch is more appealing than buying a franchise. Franchise owners may have a recognizable brand on their side, but they don’t have a lot of say over how the brand can be used.
This probably won’t bother business owners who are more interested in the day-to-day running of their business, and less concerned with making changes to their brand. But some owners like coming up with the initial business concept. They like being involved with their brand’s design and strategy and want to make changes to it whenever they please. These entrepreneurs are more suited to starting their own business.
Starting your own business means you are your own boss and you have more control over every aspect of it. You have the freedom (and responsibility) to decide exactly how it looks, what your employees wear, where you’re located and more.
Franchises are based on a proven business model
Which brings us to our next point. Well-established franchises have stood the test of time for a reason. They’ve built a proven system and process that can scale beyond their existing business. Franchise owners receive a business formula that has been tried and tested, with all of the potential kinks ironed out before you onboard your first client.
This can be very appealing to new business owners, who might have trouble juggling everything that comes along with starting your own business. Having a prescribed system from a parent company or franchisor can help streamline business tasks so you can focus on the day-to-day operations of your franchise.
Of course, you can’t rely on a franchisor’s proven track record alone. You’ll still need to be prepared to word hard hours and have the self-discipline and motivation to see your franchise succeed. Franchises give you the blueprint, but it’s up to you to build the house.
Independent business owners have fresh ideas
Most franchises have tweaked and tested their formula, so any new business owner can easily adopt their processes and see business growth sooner than new start ups.
This is great for owners who are more interested in making money than the journey to profitability. But it won’t suit owners who have fresh business ideas that haven’t yet been tested in the market.
Think about Steve Jobs. He didn’t decide to go into franchising and sell a product or service that has been sold before. Instead he envisioned products that didn’t even exist in the market: the iPod and the iPhone. He took on far more risk but in the end, his products gained world-wide success.
Not everyone will be the next Steve Jobs, but if you have an idea for a new product or service, starting your own business might be the way to go.
Check our our recent franchise location launches here
Franchises provide marketing support
When you start your own business, it’s up to you to get the word out. This could mean making cold phone calls, writing and designing printed leaflets, or investing in digital advertisements.
It takes a lot of time and effort to advertise successfully, and you won’t know if your marketing plans will hit the mark until long after they’ve been rolled out. Owning a franchise means you don’t have to spend hours choosing the right font or approving ad copy, the marketing is already there and ready to go.
Most franchisors have put in the work to create and test communications and will know which channels work in your area. They have the data and analytics insights you need to grow your franchise business, without having to spend time on tedious admin and reporting tasks.
Take Nurse Next Door for example. We give our franchisees access to the Care Services Center: a resource of customer service staff who takes customer inquiry calls and schedule appointments and help clients for you.
Independent business owners have to figure it all out
When you own your own business, you’re in charge of advertising your product or service. This may seem daunting to most, but having the freedom to create your own marketing messages can be valuable to a certain sort of entrepreneur.
The downside however, is less buying power when it comes to advertising and equipment costs. Without the reach of a large franchise, your carefully-crafted marketing messages may not reach a wider audience.
Franchises offer a support system
As a small business owner, you get used to wearing many hats. If you don’t have a large team to support you, things can quickly get overwhelming.
The franchising model works a bit differently. Franchisors have a stake in your company, and they’re motivated to support your success because it’s their success too. For this reason, many franchises have developed training programs and ongoing support systems to ensure you have the knowledge and resources to run a profitable franchise.
Nurse Next Door, 24/7 support comes standard. We provide unlimited access to our Care Services Center, a centralized scheduling team that handles calls and inquiries daily, and manages client visits. This helps franchisees get out from behind their desks and into the community. On top of this, we offer a comprehensive onboarding program to new franchisees, plus ongoing training and conferences throughout the year.
Independent business owners can have low startup costs
You may have to spend money to make money one day, but it’s not a requirement of business ownership. If you have entrepreneurial dreams, but not budget, there are ways to start making money and growing a business without a financial cushion.
Unlike franchises, you can start your business as a side hustle while you remain employed. Then when it’s financially feasible, you can quit your salaried position to go all in on your own startup. If you provide a service like consulting, accounting, or graphic design—you can set up your office at home and you’ll save on renting space. If you have a talent for landscaping, you can set up a website and visit clients at home. You may not need to pay for a fully operational location at the start.
While there are lots of opportunities for small startup businesses, it can be difficult to grow as big as a franchise.
Franchises require an initial franchise fee
When you buy into a franchise, there are some initial investment costs to consider. Many franchisors will expect new franchisees to sign a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) which outlines expected costs. Usually you’ll have to pay an initial fee, as well as ongoing fees, monthly fees, or royalty fees. This is standard practice in franchise law and it shouldn’t discourage you from jumping into the franchise business.
This initial investment covers all of the existing business branding, marketing, and customer service support your franchise provides as you grow your business. These costs will vary, depending on which franchise you choose.
Nurse Next Door’s minimum investment is approximately $100,000, but you can get started with as little as $30,000 down.
The bottom line
There are advantages and disadvantages to these business models. Franchises offer instant awareness, marketing and sales support, a network of other franchisees. But they have rules you have to follow and fees you have to pay.
On the other hand, owning your own business and starting from the ground up gives you complete control over your product and the flexibility to innovate when needed. However, this route lacks the support and economies of scale that a franchise can offer.
Ultimately, the type of business you want to run depends on the kind of business owner you want to be.
Access Your Welcome Package which includes
- Discovery Video – 15 min overview of this opportunity
- Franchisee Testimonials
- The Nurse Next Door opportunity
- Access to our calendar to book a 1×1 call.