Three questions to ask before you invest in a second franchise

Domini Stuart

When your site is up and running and business is going well you might find yourself wondering: could I do this again and add to my franchise portfolio? It’s a natural question for a successful and ambitious franchisee to consider. 

There are definitely business advantages to owning multiple sites including economies of scale, greater market reach, increased sales volume, easier access to finance and more influence within the brand. On the flip side, multiple sites also present risks and can change the nature of your role in the business. 

If you’re thinking it might be time to grow, ask yourself these three questions.

Is it really what I want?

As a single-unit franchisee your daily responsibilities range from operations to human resources to marketing. Going from one site to two is a huge jump – it’s 100 percent growth! You’re doubling your operations and your staff while effectively cutting your time in half.

For multiple franchise owners, the key to success becomes all about building a team. You can’t do everything yourself once you grow and the bigger you get, the more your role becomes focused on management and developing exceptional managers who can act for you. 

You need to consider if the change in scope and role is what you want and if you have, or can develop, the management skills necessary for success.

Do I stick with the same brand or diversify?

The advantage to owning multiple sites under the same brand is that you’re seasoned in the business and can take that knowledge and apply it to a second location. There is less of a learning curve and that’s a big advantage in business. 

If you’re keen to diversify, one option could be investing in a different brand under the same group banner. That way, you could tap into a different part of the market while still capitalising on your acquired skills.

Is the timing right?

There’s no point in owning two average franchises that make as much money as one outstanding one. To get ahead and stay ahead, you should only consider growth when you’ve perfected the operation of existing sites. 

Expanding isn’t an exact science and the right time varies from owner to owner. As a guide, you should feel you have a firm grasp on your existing site, understand the systems and operations, have a good team around you and have the required capital, plus the confidence that the numbers are stacking up.  

Questions you can ask your franchisor

Your franchisor is a great source of knowledge and advice so it makes sense to talk to them about your ambitions. They can help you assess growth opportunities and give you insights that may provide further clarity in your decision making. 

Questions you might want to put to them include:

  • Do they already have successful multiple site owners and can they provide examples?
  • What percentage of the existing franchisees own/operate more than one site?
  • Are there incentives/discounts for purchasing additional sites?
  • Do they have additional support/tools to help address the differing needs of a multiple site owner?
  • Do they have potential options for you in a nearby territory?

Meet a multi-site owner

If you’re still unsure, speak to a fellow franchisee who has already made the leap. Here are some insights from Amanda Hicks, who owns four JUMP! Swim Schools.

How long did you wait before buying your second site? 

I bought my first site in Fairfield in Victoria in 2015 then bought Craigieburn four years later.

What made you decide to expand? 

The site came up and I thought it was a sound investment opportunity because of where it was located and my successful experience with the brand up until that point.

How did you know the time was right? 

I’d finally got a great mix of stable staff at the first site. I felt like I was in a good rhythm and the site was operating smoothly and efficiently. I’d also hit the break-even mark with Fairfield so I felt financially confident in looking at new opportunities.

What advice would you give a franchisee considering add another site to their portfolio? 

Ensure you have additional management staff in the budget to allow you to focus on strategic growth and to give yourself a life outside of work. Prioritise the right management team and reliable, well-trained staff as they are the keys to growing a franchise portfolio. 

Belgravia Health & Fitness

Belgravia Health and Fitness has over 20 years’ experience in creating active, healthy communities. Its portfolio includes Genesis Health + Fitness, Coaching Zone and Ninja Parc Indoor Obstacle Course. Affiliated with JUMP! Swim Schools and BK’s Gym and Swim, Belgravia Health and Fitness supports more than 100 franchise locations across the country. 

With thanks to Magdalena  Schoeman, New Business Manager, Belgravia Health & Fitness