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Franchising Over Fifty

Owning a franchise can be a profitable investment. Purchasing a franchise can involve a significant outlay of funds, however, from $20,000 to $200,000 and more. After purchase, running the business requires an equally significant investment of the owner's time. While there are no age considerations when partnering with franchisees, there are distinct advantages to purchasers of franchises who are over 50 years of age. These advantages lie primarily in accumulated wealth and in past business experience.

For those over 50, purchasing a franchise is done for a variety of reasons. Some may be looking to finally realize the dream of business ownership. After decades of working for others, being your own boss can be an immensely rewarding experience and those in their 50s still have many years of work capability ahead of them and an opportunity to enjoy that work all the more by building and profiting from their new business.

A second reason those over 50 may choose to purchase a franchise is simply as a change of work venue. Whether the change in career occurs because of events in their previous workplace, or simply because they wish to try something new, the business provides new challenges and a new direction for a career that may have gone stale over the years.

Finally, many people choose to purchase a franchise because it's less risky than building a business from scratch. Though that particular franchise location may be new, the business itself is already established, with a reputation for success under a known name. Opening a franchise is far quicker and easier than beginning with a new idea and tweaking that idea into a successful business model. There's also a greater chance of a franchise becoming a successful business and bringing in early profits than there is with a new untried business.

Beginning a franchise after 50 isn't all reward with little risk, however. New franchisees may have the capital to make the purchase with little to no financing necessary, but there's still the usual risk associated with opening any business. An unsuccessful franchise can fold just as quickly as any other unsuccessful business, costing the owner in investment funds when there are few working years left to regain them.

In addition to the investment risk, there's the risk of lowered earnings when opening a franchise. After decades in another industry, the initial earnings gained from the business could fall far below what the over-50 worker may be used to earning. Early profits that the owner may be looking forward to can be quickly eaten away from franchise fees.

A final disadvantage to beginning the business when over 50 is in dealing with the demands of the franchiser. The new owner is a partner to an already established brand and franchise agreements reflect the need to maintain that brand's reputation. This often means decisions as to business location, design, business operations and whatnot can be offered as services or for sale are often restricted to the approval of the franchiser.

For those over 50 looking to open a new business and enter the ranks of the self-employed, franchising is a great choice. The time commitment and investment may be high, but the opportunities for emotional and monetary profit are often more than worth the cost.

Thomas Portesy President, MFV Expositions
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