There are a number of ways you can find and purchase franchises. Keep in mind that due diligence is necessary, and anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.
The ways in which you can locate and purchase franchises include:
Directly Through the Franchisor: As a general rule, franchisors list information on their websites or will send you an information packet per request.
Internet: When it comes to online franchise directories, there are nearly too many to count. Many of these lead generation sites offer additional features, including advice on franchising, franchise law, and financing. Be aware, though, that, due to the sheer volume of available information, you may have difficulty deciding where to begin your search for the ideal franchise opportunity.
Franchise Brokers and Consultants: Generally, brokers and consultants represent a select group of franchise companies; they often have a set criteria or code of ethics they require of the franchisors in their database. Several charge a fee to franchisees for their services, and others receive compensation from the franchisor once the deal is set. On the downside, your search for the perfect franchise might be limited to a broker’s or consultant’s database of approved franchise companies. On the upside, franchise brokers and consultants know the companies they represent very well, considering that they meet executives face-to-face, meet with existing franchisees of those companies and review Uniform Franchise Offering Circulars (UFOCs) and franchise offerings.
Trade Shows: Throughout the year, you’re guaranteed to find a multitude of franchise trade shows you can attend. Such shows provide a great opportunity to find out about lots of different opportunities you may have been previously unaware of and, similarly, to research companies that you are interested in. Franchisor representatives generally attend these shows, thus allowing you a unique opportunity to glean an accurate assessment of whatever company you might be interested in.
Newspapers: While the classified section of your local newspaper may list available franchise opportunities, the majority of established franchise companies do not advertise in newspapers – which means it would be in your best interest not to limit your franchise search to newspapers alone.
Trade Publications: Prospective franchisees, spotlight opportunities, and list advertisements from franchisors are all targeted by trade publications such as print magazines, newsletters, and/or online journals and Web sites.
A final thought: franchise reselling is something you should be aware of when searching for a franchise opportunity. It’s possible that an existing franchisee wants out of an agreement, or, a franchisor may be reselling a franchise because that franchise has gone belly up. Whatever your suspicions may be, try to track down the original franchisee to find out exactly what happened, because the opportunities you’re checking out may in fact be legitimate – for example, a franchisee may have wanted out solely due to personal reasons completely unrelated to the performance of the business in question. Be sure to do your due diligence by thoroughly investigating the opportunity of interest (that is, verifying its legitimacy with the franchise company) and retaining a franchise attorney to protect your rights and interests.