Why buy a franchise from a British Franchise Association member?
Article by The British Franchise Association
The decision to become a franchisee is not an easy one and the necessary research can be both time-consuming and overwhelming. Making the decision, however, does not mark the end of the deliberations – you now find yourself in the difficult position of trying to choose from the myriad of businesses on offer!
The following article will give you some guidance on how to avoid the potential pitfalls and what questions to ask a prospective franchisor. Choosing which franchise network to join is not something to be entered into lightly but should be given due and careful consideration.
Fortunately, there are a number of resources which offer assistance in the field, including the British Franchise Association (bfa) which provides a guiding light amongst the plethora of information.
Established in 1977 by the UK’s major franchising companies, the association’s raison d’etre is to act in the interests of the industry as a whole; assessing and accrediting franchising companies as those which meet its criteria for the structure of the business, the terms of the contract between franchisor and franchisee, the testing of the system and its success as a franchise.
Complementary to the accreditation aspect, is the bfa’s role as the voice of ethical franchising in the UK – the trade association for those who pass accreditation – and educator to the many potential individuals and businesses that consider franchising. Helping potential franchisees recognise the good operators versus the not-so-good, as well as helping businesses involved in franchising to secure their own position amongst the "good" operators, is an important element of the organisation’s work.
The association has over 300 franchised businesses in membership that have been positively accredited as ‘good’ franchisors. Whilst membership of the bfa does not provide any warranty as to the likelihood of a franchisee achieving commercial success, the confidence that it can give you is invaluable.
Franchisors and professional advisors to the industry put themselves forward for close and careful scrutiny, which demonstrates their commitment to investing in an ethical and sustainable business model. Only if they successfully pass accreditation are they then able to join the British Franchise Association as a member, gain access to the benefits of membership and become represented by the Association.
When looking at a franchise business and whether they are bfa accredited, it is helpful to understand the three levels of membership which can be achieved:
Full Members of the bfa are established franchised businesses with a proven trading and franchising record. They are prepared to have their reputation examined by the bfa, and have an established network of franchisees.
Associate Members of the bfa have proven their ability to launch and support at least one franchised outlet for 12 months, and are now in the business of building their network. The franchisor will be investing in support and development.
There will be few franchisees whose experience you can research and the business will have been tested over only a short period of time but there will be evidence of its ability to establish a solid network.
Provisionally Listed companies are at the beginning of their development in franchising although the franchise may be at the pilot stage. There is a real business up and running where end products and services are being sold successfully to consumers.
The franchise agreement is sound, and by joining the bfa the company has committed itself to develop the business in accordance with bfa industry standards.
The franchising industry has grown significantly over the past 30 years and the bfa’s role remains to ensure that it retains its ethical approach, commitment to best practice and robustness – even in the toughest of economic climates.
As well as providing information and advice to businesses wanting to franchise or people considering joining a franchise, the bfa also works closely with its members to help advance their expertise in the industry and speaks on their behalf to the media and government.
Last Updated: 13-July-2011