SITE SPECIFICS

Inside Franchise Business - - Contents -

Don’t strug­gle with the wrong lo­ca­tion.

Lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion is the mantra for prop­erty pur­chases and it’s equally per­ti­nent for com­mer­cial or re­tail leas­ing.

What are the ma­jor pain points as­so­ci­ated with find­ing and se­cur­ing a site? Quite sim­ply, get­ting it wrong. Any fran­chisee who picks a poor lo­ca­tion will strug­gle to build a solid busi­ness.

And choos­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate set­ting for a busi­ness ven­ture is de­pen­dent on sev­eral fac­tors.

Let’s start with ac­ces­si­bil­ity. How easy is it for your cus­tomers to reach you? A busi­ness re­liant on pass­ing traf­fic will have quite dif­fer­ent needs to an op­er­a­tion that is des­ti­na­tion-driven. Typ­i­cally, food out­lets and other re­tail­ers thrive on a high foot­fall, whether that is in a shop­ping or home­maker cen­tre or a strip lo­ca­tion, whereas a tyre ser­vice or gym can op­er­ate suc­cess­fully in a less prom­i­nent po­si­tion. Of course both will ben­e­fit from high vis­i­bil­ity in a highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

How will cus­tomers ac­tu­ally get to you? It’s im­por­tant to con­sider whether cus­tomers will drive to the lo­ca­tion, and if so, what park­ing fa­cil­i­ties are avail­able. Some fran­chises will draw cus­tomers us­ing pub­lic trans­port so as­sess how easy it is for them to reach your door.

An easy com­mute also helps at­tract staff, and will make your life as a fran­chisee that bit eas­ier. Don’t for­get the de­mands on your own time: how long will it take you to travel from home to the fran­chise? Fac­tor in the jour­ney time both ways to get a sense of whether this is a vi­able op­tion be­cause, in the short term at least, you’ll be work­ing long hours.

Fran­chisees reg­u­larly choose sites that are con­ve­nient and in a lo­cale that’s fa­mil­iar. But what if a great op­por­tu­nity arises in an un­fa­mil­iar sub­urb?

Con­sider the neigh­bour­hood: does it have the right de­mo­graphic for your busi­ness? Will your busi­ness ben­e­fit from a bur­geon­ing pop­u­la­tion growth as the sub­urb ex­pands or is there a grad­ual drift away from the area?

Is the lo­ca­tion a great deal be­cause the area is a crime hotspot? It’s im­por­tant to as­sess whether or not cus­tomers and staff would feel safe both at, and leav­ing, the lo­ca­tion, par­tic­u­larly if the busi­ness op­er­ates out­side 9–5 hours.

Se­cu­rity is­sues can af­fect your busi­ness and your in­come, so these are valu­able in­sights.

IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT …

There are plenty of fran­chisee tales of over­spend­ing on a fran­chise out­let, par­tic­u­larly in re­tail. It’s a com­mon mis­take but pay­ing over the odds does set you back. So con­sid­er­ing the costs is cru­cial.

On top of rent you’ll be pay­ing fran­chise fees, and pos­si­bly wages. Then you’ll be out­lay­ing for busi­ness rates and util­ity bills so if you can, check the costs for com­par­a­tive busi­nesses. If there is park­ing but it’s not on­site, will you and your staff have to pay? Fac­tor in these costs.

Look­ing fur­ther afield within the cen­tre, street or sub­urb, in­ves­ti­gate whether there are any up­com­ing coun­cil works, new builds or re­fur­bish­ments that are go­ing to hin­der your trade.

Fran­chisees can be un­done by sig­nif­i­cant changes to ac­cess, even in the short term.

Does the site you’re con­sid­er­ing face its own up­heaval, with a re­fur­bish­ment due to keep pace with the land­lord’s re­quire­ments? How much work needs to be done to the site to get it busi­ness-ready?

It’s worth­while re­view­ing the com­pet­i­tive land­scape too. While fight­ing a high vol­ume of com­peti­tors for mar­ket share can be de­bil­i­tat­ing, hav­ing com­pa­ra­ble busi­nesses in a neigh­bour­hood can at­tract cus­tomers.

Fi­nally, how long do you plan to be in this lo­ca­tion, and what hap­pens at the end of the lease re­newal? Be clear on the rules, and the op­tions, be­fore you sign an agree­ment.

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