Every day, as the traffic swells and the commute times grow, many people sit behind their steering wheels and think about two things: working for themselves and working from home (preferably while wearing footie pajamas).
What these people often don’t know is that this typically entails going from having just one boss to having many bosses, or clients, or customers. Use whatever term you like, but working for yourself and from home still comes with challenges few think about when thoughts of flying solo pop into their heads. Truthfully, though, it’s still an upgrade.
Unless you’re thinking about installing a drive-thru window on the side of your home, buying a McDonald’s franchise ― one of the most profitable franchises to own ― may be out of the question. This means thinking a bit smaller. There are small franchises that can be both home-based and profitable, like uBreakiFix, a popular electronic repair franchise.
What Is a Franchise?
According to the International Franchise Association, “franchising is simply a method for expanding
However, when you add in the “home” part, things can get a little trickier.
Take your homeowners association for instance. They’ll likely frown on installing that drive-thru window, or anything involving the handling of hazardous materials, or any number of other things — frowning is a big part of what they do. In other words, you’ll want to make sure you're not breaking any laws, as defined by the state, the city, or the dreaded HOA. However, that’s just one of many considerations to factor in.
Before You Quit Your Job
There are many things to consider when starting a business, and this includes franchises. Ideally, you’ll want to know something about the business you intend to start. With franchise training, this is less of a concern, but some basic knowledge can help. You should still at least have some interest in the business. You don’t want to catch yourself thinking fondly back on getting stuck in traffic every morning, after all.
Is there a customer base to tap into? If you love repairing electronics, but live in a rural farming community, maybe buying a uBreakiFix franchise isn’t a great idea. You need customers, and there’s no way around that.
You may be tempted to think of competition as a bad thing. It’s usually not. If there’s already a successful business or two in your area, that means there are also customers to support that business. It all comes down to out-executing that competition. Successful entrepreneurs understand this concept.
Capital Expenses … and Then Some
When starting your own business, not only do you need to cover the upfront costs associated with that business, but you also need an amount that can sustain you before you begin turning a profit. How much that is will depend mostly on your lifestyle. You could always assume that you’ll begin making money immediately, but that’s not a sound business plan.
The beauty of buying a franchise is that many considerations have already been taken care of, such as marketing, business structure, and training. Still, you may want to learn a little about marketing or pay extra attention to that area during your training. If you can’t sell your potential customers on using your products or services, you’ll likely be selling your franchise — and not for a profit.
Examples of Home-Based Franchises
You may be tempted to think that there aren’t many options for a home-based franchise business, but you’d be gleefully wrong. Actually, any successful business that can be easily replicated is a good candidate for franchising, even if you intend to start your business in a rural community.
Of course, if there is a highly technical component to your home-based franchise, you’ll want to have the requisite skills. For instance, if your business involves the kind of skills you learn in trade school ― electrical, plumbing, HVAC, welding, etc. ― that you’ll directly use in your franchise, you’ll want to make sure you have those skills first.
Remember, any successful business, home-based or otherwise, can be franchised, including one involving a tradesman, like an electrician.
America’s Best Franchises lists several great examples of franchises you can run or start from home:
- Medical billing
- Business coaching
- Home services
- Pet services
- Senior care
There are numerous subcategories for each of these: “Pet services,” for example, could entail dog walking, dog grooming, pet sitting, dog training, and more. This list could also be expanded to include lawn maintenance, marketing, writing, graphic arts, travel agencies, and even food trucks.
Let’s say you’ve got a love for food and make the best tacos this side of El Paso. How difficult would it be for you to franchise that business? It’s also a business that someone else (the franchisee) can learn quicker than, say, operating a McDonald’s.
It’s also likely that your HOA wouldn’t mind a parked truck in your driveway. You could also simply hire someone to work the truck during the hours you don’t. People love tacos, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or 3 a.m. when the bars have all just closed. It wouldn’t take much to turn that food truck into a 24/7 operation.
There are also options for outsourcing some work if your business is more virtual. It’s common for busy marketing professionals and copywriters to do this. They take their enormous fee, chop it in two, and give one half to someone with less experience. That leaves 50 percent of their fee for themselves, for doing nothing more than outsourcing some of their work to another professional.
You’re really only limited by your imagination when it comes to business ideas and ways to profit, should your business begin growing faster than you can keep up with. It’s a good bet that there are other folks, who like yourself have gotten tired of the grind and traffic and their boss, who would love to work for a home-based business.
Just don’t forget the need for both customers and marketing in any business equation. Otherwise, your business could turn into a huge source of stress pretty quickly, rather than a refreshing break from the typical 9-to-5 job.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her with any questions or suggestions.