Questions to Ask Before Buying a Franchise – Location, Location, Location

There’s an old adage that in real estate there are three supremely important factors: location, location, location. The same holds true for franchises. A prime location will have high visibility, easy access, lots of customer traffic and minimal nearby competition.

One question it’s easy to overlook, though, is how many franchises the business already has in your area. In the Starbucks boom, the number of new franchises became so high so quickly that in some areas the market became oversaturated, forcing a company-wide strategic shift and the closure of many franchises.

The same thing can happen on a smaller level if you’re not careful about where you open your franchise. Check with your business’s corporate offices to find how many other franchises they have in your city and where they are located. Make sure you’re in compliance with any corporate restrictions on the minimum distance between franchises or on how many franchises can operate within a given area. Research the locations of your top competitors. Find an area that is relatively underserved in your industry so that you can carve a distinct niche in your city’s market share.

Once you’ve found the top few options for where to locate your franchise, investigate the visibility, accessibility and foot traffic of each site. The best locations are the ones where customers are already coming for a non-competing reason, such as in malls, near tourist attractions or convenient to heavily populated office space. Your signage should be easy to see from a distance, and the store should have convenient parking and easy access for customers on foot.