Clients who are contemplating purchasing a new or existing franchise in Canada are always asking how financing a franchise works in Canada. The Canadian franchise industry is of course huge and covers almost every type of business in Canada. Certainly the majority of franchises seem to be in the Hospitality and QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) industry, but in actuality every type of business has some sort of franchise model attached to it. The franchise concept is many an entrepreneurs’ answer to the Canadian dream of growth and profits through business ownership and self employment.
It should not come as a surprise to Canadian entrepreneurs that there is no one single option of solution for financing a franchise in Canada. The reality is that a number of possibilities exist, and in some cases you must use a combination of these sources to complete the financing successfully.
The main source of financing in Canada for franchising is a government ‘subsidized’ and ‘guaranteed ‘loan from the Federal government. The program has two names, the CSBFL, and the BIL. These are acronyms for the government’s formal name for the program.
We firmly believe that this is the best program, bar none, for rates, terms, and loan structures in Canada. While the program is available and applicable to all Canadian businesses the majority of businesses in Canada that are franchised fall under this program.
That’s the good news, the less than good news is that in many cases you cannot totally complete your business franchise purchase with this loan financing on it own. Why is that? Simply because the program is structured and has limitations on what can be financed.
What can be financed under this program? The answer is 3 items only-
So if your acquisition of a new franchise involves anything other than these three items additional financing sources are needed. Those additional financing sources tend to come from your own personal resources, other structured term loans, and in some cases a vendor take back from either the franchisee you are buying the existing business from, or potentially the franchisor itself. Don’t focus too much on the latter because in case you haven’t guessed by now, franchisors or master franchisors are interested in selling you a franchise so they can build another franchise unit into their network! They aren’t in the finance business per se.
The benefits of the franchise loan structure of the BIL/CSBFL program are significant. For a starter they carry only a 25% personal liability, and secondly the rates (3% over prime) (In 2010 Canadian primes continues to be very low!) are excellent. Under the spirit of the program the loan finances 90% of your eligible expenses. But don’t think that only a 10% equity or personal investment by yourself is going to get you approved. You should in general be thinking of anywhere between 25%+ as your own personal contribution to the business.
In summary, financing a franchise in Canada is a unique specialty type of financing. You don’t want to do it wrong the first time and endanger your prospects of success by poor planning and mis information. Speak to a trusted business financing advisor who has credibility, experience and background in this area of Canadian business financing. With proper planning and assistance you will be on our way to achieve the Canadian dream of business ownership through the franchise model.