Now it’s time to determine how you will finance your new business. Fees associated with purchasing a franchise may include franchise and royalty fees, equipment, inventory, working capital and more. The first step is to take inventory of your financial resources by creating a personal finance statement to verify your net worth. This statement should include a listing of both your assets and liabilities.
A list of your assets may include:
Cash on hand
Checking and savings accounts
Investments such as stocks, bonds and securities
Pensions and IRA’s
Once you have determined your resources available to put towards a new business, you can decide which financing option is right for you based on the start-up and total capital required. Below are some of the options available for financing a franchise:
Cash Depending on the amount of liquid capital you have access to, you may be able to pay cash for your business. However, you should be sure that you’ll still have enough cash on hand after purchasing a franchise to grow your business, especially if you are interested in a multi-unit operation.
It’s important to consider that approximately 99% of businesses are started with borrowed money, including many of today’s largest corporations. So don’t feel that you need to have all of the cash required for your investment on hand, or that you must use all of your available cash to start your franchise business. There are many other options available to supplement cash investments.
Conventional Loans In general, lenders are more likely to approve loans for franchisees versus independent business owners. However, keep in mind that most lenders will require you to put down approximately 30% of the total capital needed to purchase your business. In addition to a personal finance statement, most lenders will also require you to provide a detailed business plan describing how your business will operate. The plan should include projected income and expenses through the first three years of business.
Remember that you must do your homework before approaching a lender. They will want to know that you have researched all aspects and feel confident that you are capable of operating a successful business. In addition, it’s also a good idea to pull your credit report before meeting with a lender to identify any mistakes or negative reports so that you can correct any errors as well as be prepared to explain any past credit problems.
SBA Loans Before contacting a traditional lender, you can find out if you are eligible for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan by contacting your local SBA office. Though these loans are furnished by private banks and other traditional lending institutions, a portion of the loan is guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Association. The benefits of an SBA Loan for franchisees include expedited loan processing, competitive rates, and longer terms. As well, most of the bank fees often charged with a conventional loan may be waived with an SBA guaranty.
You can also look into whether or not a franchise is listed on the Franchise Registry when selecting an opportunity. Loan applications for SBA approved franchises are typically reviewed and processed more efficiently by the SBA and its lenders because through the Registry process the franchise agreements have already been reviewed. Franchises not listed on the Registry must have their agreements reviewed and evaluated at the time you apply for SBA lending which can take time.
Franchisor Financing Some franchisors may provide either direct or indirect financing for franchisees. Direct financing, where the franchisor directly finances the franchisee, is less common but some companies do offer it. With indirect financing, the franchisor locates a third-party lender for the franchisee through a company the franchise has an established relationship with. Still, with either type financing, you will be expected to pay a percentage of the cost just as you would with a conventional loan as franchisors rarely offer 100% financing. Some franchisors may also offer leasing options for hard assets such as equipment, vehicles or machinery.
Retirement Funds Another alternative to traditional funding options is to tap into your 401(k) or IRA funds to start your business. Qualifying retirement funds may be drawn upon as a capital source without incurring taxes or penalties, and can also be used in conjunction with traditional and SBA financing helping to alleviate some of the debt associated with obtaining a loan. Second Mortgage A second mortgage loan may be obtained on your home or other piece of property and in some circumstances can be the simplest way to get the money you need to buy a franchise. Rates are typically low and the interest can be written off. However, it is important to keep in mind that you could be risking your home when choosing to obtain a second mortgage on your primary residence. Investors When you borrow from a lending institution to finance your business, you retain full ownership of the business and have no further obligations once the loan has been repaid. With an investor, you don’t have to repay the money invested in the business, but you will share the profits.
There are two types of investors, active and passive. Generally, active investors take part in the day-to-day operations of the business and passive investors do not. If you do decide to use an investor to help finance your franchise you should consult with an attorney to draw up an agreement.
The bottom line is that investing in any opportunity involves some degree of risk. You must decide based on your resources, responsibilities and ability to sacrifice the best way to move forward keeping in mind that it may be a combination of a few of the options discussed above. Do your research and have all documents in order so that you may present yourself in the most attractive light to lenders, and remember that persistence pays off.