What they say about real estate also applies to franchises: location, location, location! If your business is not in a place that will draw customers, your business cannot succeed.
Many franchisors provide guidance with location selection and lease negotiations. This help can be a big boost to finding an optimal site at the right cost. The more help you get from the franchisor in selecting a site and negotiating a lease, the better your chances at success.
Inaddition, most franchisors, even if they don’t provide that support, will still reserve the right to approve the location you choose so at least you’ll know you’re on the right track.
In choosing a location, think about who your customers will be and where you will most likely find them. In a mall? Near college campuses? Town centers? Or possibly in off-street specialized venues like airports and other transportation terminals, sports stadiums or convention centers.
There are several key factors to consider when choosing a location:
- Accessibility: Is it easy to find and get to? Is there convenient parking?
- Traffic: Is there a continual flow of pedestrians nearby? Are the streets laid out for easy automobile access to the site? Is it convenient to public transportation?
- Visibility: Can the site be easily seen and from how far away?
- Community: Is this an up-and-coming neighborhood, or one that is regressing?
- Local Competition: How many other similar businesses are in the neighborhood?
- Size and Layout: Does it meet the operational requirements of your business? This is where franchisor approval of the site can be most helpful.
- Condition and Construction: How much remodeling or building will be required, and what will it cost?
Other essential criteria for finding the right location are the demographics – not only do you need a concentration of customers, but a pool of prospective employees too.
Study what activities typically generate traffic in the area – sporting events, movies theaters, retail shops etc. – and how often, the times of day, and the seasons of the year people frequent the area.
You must also verify if your territory is exclusive in terms of mapping or population density, which will be stated in the FDD and Franchise Agreement. It is important that “encroachment” on your territory be carefully defined in the Agreement. For instance, the franchisor might agree to not open another store within a fixed radius, but may offer branded products in a nearby supermarket. Know you rights regarding exclusivity and what constitutes encroachment on your territory.