Like many people that spend years as an employee, some wake up one day and get the bug for self-employment. Soon, they are scavenging every article and website they can find in search of business and franchise opportunities. If a retail business doesn’t feel right, the search will lead quickly to service business opportunities and/or service franchise brands.
Great advice for you, if you are a service franchise shopper, is to think about what you like and what you dislike at your current and past jobs. A big piece of succeeding in self-employment is to find something that you can become passionate and excited by every morning. Balance your ideas with analysis from an investor’s point of view. For instance, you may love to drive a car. But can you reach your income goals by driving a car? You may need to think bigger than actually driving a car (unless you’re ready to drive a car in the Indy 500… that pays pretty well). How about a limousine company? As a limousine company owner, you surely can make great money, but not by driving a car. You’ll be managing a car driving business. Are you still excited by self-employment?
You’ll have to become a manager. Try to recognize, before you invest in a service franchise, that simply “doing the work” your service business provides may not generate enough income to support you and your family. In the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki points out that working by yourself is simply a job. You can own your own job, but that is not to be called a “business.” He gives the name ‘business’ only to those organizations that have workers, a marketing department, administrators, and workers. An owner can only prosper bigger than themselves when there are employees, each helping to create something bigger, and generating more than enough revenue to cover their paycheck.
Succeeding at self-employment in a service business is ultimately going to come down to getting good at managing time, people and money. The excitement and reward that comes from serving people will have to be the overriding part of your work that excites you. It may sound crazy, but money will not be enough to make your job fun. Find a service business or franchise that has a culture, the right people, and a service that you will be able to identify with and feel rewarded by the service and customer experience that your company delivers.
Self-employment is not for everyone. Among the reasons people seek self-employment is the freedom that appears to be waiting. To be sure, as a self-employed person with no boss to tell you what to do, you will have freedom. But don’t forget that responsibility comes before freedom. Self-employment and wealth are not automatic partners. Hard work precedes the “wealth” part every time. It may appear from the outside, as you see trucks from local service franchises drive the streets of your town, that self-employed people have it made. Well, the good ones, after years of hard work, proper focus and determination, oftentimes do have it made.
When speaking to service franchise companies about your goals and talents, make sure these tough subjects are part of the conversation. It is easy for a salesperson to speak with catchy words like “brand” and “financial independence.” Stop the sales circus! You’re not buying a used car. You need a franchise that will speak candidly with you about the daily grind; the specific management challenges in the industry, and what preventions and solutions the franchise brings to you as a future manager in that particular industry.
Grind down hard on why the initial fees are what they are. Do you really need a brand new truck to deliver a great lawn care service, or would a great-looking used truck (for half the price) do the same job? Do you need a $10,000 machine to cut fencing material as a brand new guy in the fencing biz? Or is that $10,000 machine an unnecessary luxury at this stage of your company and just a nice profit center for the franchisor? If your competitors are watching every penny and you are being drained by a greedy franchisor, how will this turn out?
Everyone in business is smart to watch every penny. Franchises LOVE to take advantage of your trust at the beginning. So be careful that the requirements of getting started with each service franchise brand that you consider make sense to you.
Don’t let franchising, as an industry, off the hook! Challenge the notion that every franchise brand has any secrets, any short cuts. In the service industry, the best managers always win. You need your franchisor to help develop your management talents. Again, the right brand will always make sense to you, from your very first phone call with them.
Happy shopping. And please consider STOP Restoration if the cleaning, restoration and environmental world is something you can get excited about. We have been at this for decades and have built many large companies with our systems and support.