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Thinking of Buying a Franchise?

Before diving into the franchise world, Boris Katsnelson, CEO of SpeedPro Imaging, recommends you take these steps.

By Michelle Valigursky

SpeedPro's mascot Hue says, "Printing isn't just black and white anymore."

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Before diving into franchise operations, Katsnelson recommends doing your homework on the type of business, support systems and unit economics you are looking for. “Franchises within a company should be fairly consistent. In a highly regulated industry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) governs what we do. Every franchise offering must present a common document called a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), like a prospectus.”

Franchise start-up costs vary. For SpeedPro franchisees, an independent business requires an initial investment of approximately $250K. In return, the prospectus spells out that “new business owners get everything from soup to nuts—all equipment, initial training, website build, access to workflow systems, ongoing training. Everything from paper clips to printers and everything in between.”

Katsnelson points out, “Each franchise opportunity is unique, and franchising isn’t for everyone.” SpeedPro has consistently scored high on the Entrepreneur Magazine Franchise 500 list. He advises studying the corporate prospectus and asking these basic questions before embarking on franchise ownership:

  • Boris Katsnelson

    Boris Katsnelson 99B

    Understand your personal goals for the business (income, lifestyle, wealth, debt elimination, equity) and how well does each franchise match up to your goals?
  • How much revenue does the industry sector make?
  • Who are the key competitors to this franchise and what is their market share?
  • What up-front costs are required to purchase a franchise – and what do those costs buy (see FDD Item 7)? Is financing available?
  • What are the unit economics of the franchisees (see FDD Item 19)?
  • Will day-to-day operations be dictated by uniform processes, or will you have autonomy as an owner?

“If you are still interested in pursuing the franchise opportunity, be prepared to do extensive due diligence on the business reputation for working with franchisees, corporate fiscal health, potential franchise locations, reporting structure, and training and materials provided,” Katsnelson says. “It’s a big decision to become a franchisee, but the rewards are great.”

Editor’s Note: Katsnelson points out, "SpeedPro Imaging is seeking qualified franchise candidates across the United States that are interested in a fulfilling next phase of their career."