What is a franchise?

In answer to a common question we get asked, "what is a franchise", we have listed below the definition of franchise.  A franchise is an agreement or license between two parties which gives a person or group of people (the franchisee) the rights to market a product or service using the trademark of another business (the franchisor).

The franchisee has the rights to market the product or service using the operating methods of the franchisor. The franchisee has the obligation to pay the franchisor certain fees and royalties in exchange for these rights. The franchisor has the obligation to provide these rights and generally support the franchisee. In this sense, franchising is not a business or an industry, but a method used by businesses for the marketing and distribution of their products or services. Both franchisor and franchisee have a strong vested interest in the success of the brand and keeping their customers happy.

Typically there are two types of franchise methods. There is “business format franchising” and “product and trade name franchising".

Business Format Franchising

Business format franchising offers a variety of services to the franchisees. They provide the franchisee use of trademarks and logos, as well as a complete system of doing business. They will assist the franchisee with site selection, interior layout and design, hiring and training, advertising and marketing, product supply and more. The franchisee pays an up front franchise fee and agrees to pay continuing royalties to the franchiser that help the franchiser provide research, development and support for the entire system.

There are many examples of business format franchises in Ireland, including – fast food restaurants, automotive services, estate agents, convenience stores, recruitment agencies, hairdressers etc.

The type involves three characteristics:

1) The franchisee sells goods or services which meet the franchisor's quality standards (in cases where the franchisee operates under the franchisor's trade mark, service mark, trade name, advertising or other commercial symbol designating the franchisor ("mark") or which are identified by the franchisor's mark;

2) The franchisor exercises significant assistance in, the franchisee's method of operation; and

3) The franchisee is required to make a payment to the franchisor or a person affiliated with the franchisor at any time before to within six months after the business opens.

Product & Trade Name Franchising

Product and trade name franchising generally is associated with industries such as automotive, petroleum and soft drink. This type of franchising does not include royalty fees. The franchiser provides trademarks and logos, national advertising campaigns, but most importantly, product.

This type, also offers three characteristics:

1) The franchisee sells goods or services which are supplied by the franchisor or a person affiliated with the franchisor;

2) The franchisor assists the franchisee in any way with respect to securing accounts for the franchisee, or securing locations or sites for vending machines or rack displays, or providing the services of a person able to do either; and

3) The franchisee is required to make a payment to the franchisor or a person affiliated with the franchisor at any time before or within six months after the business opens.

Franchising may seem like an easy way to start ones own business and many times it is just that. However, investing in a franchise is no guarantee that you will be successful.

Your success in franchising will depend on three key factors; your ability to make the investment to secure the franchise and open it for business, the care with which you select the franchise, and most importantly your drive and ambition to make it successful.

Click here for information on the difference between a franchise business and a license