What to Expect in Your First Year as a Franchisee

Franchisees and Franchisors Weigh In

The first year as a franchisee, although exhilarating, can often be the toughest year as you get up to speed on the franchisor’s business model, build your customer base and recruit employees. Just like with any new business, hard work and dedication is required, especially at the onset. One common misconception when it comes to operating a franchise is that once you sign on the dotted line and open for business, the customers and revenue will start flowing. This is typically not the case. Although your franchisor will provide you with a runway to profitability by providing the basic business model, marketing, training, support and more, as a franchisee you will still need to put in ample effort to get your business off the ground.

We asked franchisors and franchisees on this year’s FBR Top 200 list what franchisees should expect in their first year in business. Here’s what they had to say:

"There is no Magic Bullet"

“If you are a first-time business owner and you open any franchise, you must accept quickly that there is no magic bullet. You will face adversity, but you have to trust the process. There will be days you want to quit, but you must stay focused on the daily tasks that will allow you to achieve your goals for year 2 and beyond.”

-Barry Bodiford, Founder & CEO of 360Clean.

"Expect the Unexpected"

“Franchisees will need to expect – and accept – the unexpected in their first year of business. Potential challenges include getting comfortable in your new surroundings and managing the unknown, all while developing a new team and implementing new tools and systems.”

-Neil Gill, CEO & President of Dogtopia.

"Hard Work is Rewarded Over Time"

“Any good franchise model should be brutally honest during discovery discussions, and while onboarding new franchisees, about the commitment required to launch a new business. Laser-like focus and investment of hard work and money is rewarded in time. For instance, new franchisees may see the success of our most profitable location but are reminded that their success was developed, nurtured and owned through hard work and accountability inherent to the DNA of our brand.”

-Sam Ballas, President & CEO of East Coast Wings and Grill.

"Prepare for an Emotional Roller Coaster"

"Expect the first year to be an emotional roller coaster as you learn the ins and outs of being a new business owner. All the classroom training in the world cannot prepare you for the day to day interactions you have. You have to always stay positive and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your franchisor. The challenges involved in owning your own business can make it that much more satisfying to be an entrepreneur."

-Nick Titus, VP Marketing for Minuteman Press International.

"Expect to Be Busy"

“In a good franchise system, franchisees should expect a great deal of support where they can rely on the resources around them to get them off on the right foot. They can also expect to be busy as building a business takes focus and energy, especially in the first year.”

-Jackson Loychuk, CEO of 30 Minute Hit.

"Long Days and Stressful Nights"

“I think it is fairly common to enter into a franchise and think it will run perfectly and golfing will be a daily affair. Reality is that getting a business up and running in an established industry will take a ton of handshakes and coffee. A new team can expect longer days and some stressful nights until they get their individual systems created and operating smoothly. People on both sides of the dollar are always the challenge and you can’t lose sight of that.”

-Keven Elwood, Franchisee of College H.U.N.K.S Hauling Junk & Moving.

"Your Business Will Become Your Baby"

“If you have never been a business owner before, you know that it is a 24/7 obsession. It is your ‘baby’. You will think about it all the time. My favorite analogy is when I was in corporate America and I had a great idea while lying in bed trying to fall asleep I would ‘hope’ I would remember it the next day. Once I purchased College HUNKS, and I had the same idea, I would get out of bed and write it down. Not remembering the next day was not an option. The biggest misconception is that you get to hang a shingle and people come and throw money at you. There are very few Subways or McDonalds out there (the brand recognition, not the number of locations) where when you open your doors people come to you. You have to build your local brand through hard work, every day.”

-Roger Panitch, Franchisee of College H.U.N.K.S Hauling Junk & Moving.

"Perseverance Will Pay Off"

“A franchisee’s first year is exciting, nerve-racking, exhilarating – all wrapped up into one. Every franchisee’s experience is different, but the first year will require hard work, patience and perseverance. With a good franchising system like Mosquito Joe, success will come by following the system with a strategic plan. There will be challenges and setbacks - some completely out of the franchisee’s control – but no matter how it comes about, perseverance will pay off.”

-Lou Schager, President of Mosquito Joe.

"You’ll Need to WORK HARD!"

“The first year is ‘first impression time’ for your guests. Impress them. Be present. Only you will love and hug your business the way it should be. Be passionate and market fiercely every day.”

-Jack Gabriel, Multi-Unit Franchisee, Nothing Bundt Cakes

If you're still excited about the possibility of owning your own franchise you can learn more about this year's top rated franchise brands here!