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Home Based Franchises Grow in Popularity but Operating These Franchises Requires Certain Skills

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As the popularity of virtual or home office businesses increase, so do franchises that can be operated from the home. Home based franchises provide individuals an opportunity to purchase a low cost franchise with the added flexibility of a home based operation. However, there are certain challenges that a home based office presents.

There is little doubt that the availability of new technologies has accelerated the use of home based offices. The fax machine has been replaced by scanners, international telephone calls replaced with Skype and webinars can now take the place of telephone conference calls. In the past, a person that operated from a remote location would have limited resources to manage their affairs. Today, it’s become common place for business owners and employees to work from home.

This phenomenon has impacted the franchise industry as evidenced by the large number of home based franchise opportunities. A review of home based franchise concepts has revealed some interesting results.

The leading categories that feature home based franchises are:

  • Maintenance Services which include commercial and residential cleaning, carpet cleaning, landscape, lawn care and handyman services.
  • Children’s Services which include education, tutoring, creative and enrichment programs, fitness programs and other specialties.
  • Business Services that include products and services for the business community such as consulting, business coaching, temporary staffing, advertising and specialty business products.
  • Home Improvement Services that include interior and exterior painting, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, interior designs, window treatments and floor coverings.

These four franchise categories alone combine for a total of over two hundred franchise programs. If we exclude food and hospitality franchises, which require a physical location, from total franchises in the U.S. then the home based franchise concepts account for almost 50% of total franchises for sale.

There are a number of advantages that a home based franchise offers:

  • Lower start-up costs versus the traditional “bricks and mortar” franchise
  • Less liability in terms of equipment and leases
  • Typically faster and easier to launch the new business
  • Greater flexibility in terms of personal life and work schedule
  • Home based offices are more accepted by individuals and businesses compared to years ago
  • Women and seniors may find it easier to operate from a home based location
  • Technology facilitates ease of operations. Tools such as gotomeeting.com enable presentations and demos.

Challenges of operating a home based franchise:

  • Requires personal discipline. The advantage of personal and business flexibility can be a disadvantage without proper discipline
  • There is a lack of brand identity that  a physical location provides
  • Franchisee should have certain technological skills
  • Most home based concepts require strong pro-active selling skills
  • Interruptions and distractions from family members
  • Some individuals and businesses may be suspect of home based businesses
  • Not enough space and a lack of privacy
  • Working too many hours can add to family stress

There are significant franchise opportunities that feature home based operations. In the majority of cases a home based franchise can enable an individual with limited capital to own and operate their own business. However, to be successful the home based franchisee has to exercise personal discipline in order to be successful. Finally, I would suggest that the home based franchisee conduct their daily work schedule in the same manner as if they were going to an office, minus the commute.

© 2010 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com

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