Home now is not just where the heart is – it’s also where the work is! 2018 has been a year of many stories within the franchise industry, but one that’s certainly stood out has been the continued surge in popularity of home based franchises.
The popularity of working from home generally is on the rise – in the UK where I am based, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of UK workers who have moved into remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over the past decade, and this number is expected to continue its upward spiral, with half the UK workforce expected to be working remotely by 2020. In the US, according to the US Census 2017, 5.2% of workers in the US worked at home in 2017—or 8 million people. That share is up from 5% in 2016, and 3.3% in 2000. Lower in percentage terms than in the UK, but still an increasing trend.
And who could blame us for this new desire to work from the comfort of our own homes? No commute, flexible working, the option to work in your pyjamas should you so wish – and of course with superfast broadband as standard these days and the improvements in tech generally, working from a home based environment has never been easier.
Add into that mix the growing popularity among the population of self employment in general and this seems to be exactly why more and more people are looking towards home based franchise opportunities as a possible business venture.
So what are home based franchises? Quite simply, it’s a franchise business that doesn’t require fixed premises such as a unit or retail outlet. And before people start to panic thinking that they’d go stir crazy sat looking at the same four walls each day, what that doesn’t mean is that the business is fixed at the home. Many home based franchises are mobile ones, things like lawn treatment services, children’s activities, coffee vans and consultancy services. So whilst the paperwork side of the business is generally run from a home office, often the service or product is delivered out and about in the field.
One of the biggest attractions of home based franchises is that generally speaking they tend to be lower cost – both in terms of initial outlay and then ongoing overheads. This makes a home based franchise an attractive opportunity for a wide pool of potential franchisees who do not want to invest or risk a significant amount of capital – although that’s not to say that a home based opportunity carries any lower percentage of risk than another franchise venture. Home based operations also tend to be fairly easy and quick to set up in terms of training and just getting off the ground and will generally be either owner operated or involve just one or two other people.
One of the other growing reasons for the popularity of the home based franchise must be the rise in “parentpreneurs” – parents looking to run flexible businesses around family life and very often work around the commitments of caring for young children. It could be said that home based opportunities attract this type of potential franchisee not just because of the home based element, but also the lower financial investment and the appeal of the type of business – many home based opportunities are based around education, children’s activities and health and well being.
For the franchisor offering a home based opportunity, the advantage of a wide pool of potential franchisees makes launching into this industry a very attractive proposition indeed for the emerging franchisor – hence the increased number of players in the market. However conversely they can arguably also attract a proportion of potential franchisees with weaker backgrounds, less ambition and simply attracted by the low numbers and high degree of flexibility. This is why, as of course with any franchise recruitment process it’s extremely important that the franchisor is cautious when selecting franchisees. It’s important to ensure that a potential home based franchisee possesses the same drive and focus as a franchisee in any other sector, that they are motivated and self disciplined enough to be able to grow and develop a business which does not have a fixed base and that they are ready to deal with the inevitable feelings of isolation and loneliness that all home workers must experience at times, no matter what their background or set up.
In fact, it could be said that even more discipline and self motivation is needed to succeed with this type of franchise business than with a bricks and mortar one with a team of employees, and a franchisor in a home based enterprise will need to consider very carefully how they structure support and keep lines of communication constantly open to ensure that their franchisees remain on track, focused and feel very much part of the network, team and brand.