Franchise financing is an integral part of the Canadian entrepreneur’s challenge of obtaining and building a success Canadian franchise. As most Canadian business owners quickly discover, franchisors do not provide direct or indirect financing in the Canadian marketplace. This leaves the business owner essentially on his or her own to generate the capital they need from chartered banks, finance firms, and other institutions.
It goes without saying that the budding entrepreneur needs to first make a significant investment in general franchise knowledge – i.e. the pros and cons, as well as of course focusing on financing the franchise.
Franchises in Canada are product and service related. When you purchase the franchise you should have strong level of confidence that the concept is proven and successful, as you will be trying to replicate that success based on the products, services and brand awareness of the franchisor.
Franchisees are encouraged to do a proper level of due diligence based on that availability of information with respect to the business success of the franchisor. If you are considered a franchise that is owned and run by a large well know public company – think McDonalds! You of course have the ability to carefully review the financial statements and management commentary that is available to anyone by virtue of the companies listing on the public stock exchanges.
The good news about franchise financing and the risk that the business entrepreneur takes is that there is a significant amount of disclosure required by law to you as a franchisee. In Canada, as well as the United States you should have the ability to get a copy of the franchisors financial statements. If you don’t feel qualified to read and interpret a financial statement you should use the services of a trusted franchise financing advisor, or even your accountant or lawyer would be good choices.
Many franchisors in Canada will of course gladly give your franchisee references, and you should clearly talk to other franchisees about financial performance with respect to what you hope to achieve based on your personal investment and borrowed funds. When we say ‘ financial performance ‘ we of course mean general business basics such as sales, profits, working capital challenges, leverage ( how much debt do you need to take on ), etc.
In financing a franchise you clearly want to understand how much debt you are going to take on – this is also directly commensurate with what you need to put into the business as your own investment. Most business owners today fully realize that a franchise can never be 100% OPM. OPM= Other Peoples Money!
Our experience in Canadian franchise financing is that the financing of your newly acquired business has is a combination of your own investment, as well as borrowed funds. Franchise financing success in Canada is most commonly achieved by your utilization of the CSBF program, which is one of Canada’s best programs for small and medium sized business. This program provides up to 90% financing of leaseholds and fixed assets. When our firm structures a franchise financing we supplement the CSBF program with a combination, as required, of lease financing, and in some cases a cash term loan if in fact that is required.
In summary, by carefully selecting your franchisor, understanding your overall financial risk, and carefully putting together a financing package that fits your needs, you will have a very strong chance of being successful in your franchise venture.