Multi-Unit Franchise Experts

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the Disadvantages of a Franchise Business

With the plentiful opportunities that come with franchising, it can often be difficult to decide whether franchising is the right business decision for you. As the International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG) is a membership-based franchise consulting network, many of our members across our 1,300+ franchisors, franchise consultants and vendor members have found themselves asking the same question: what are the potential drawbacks of a franchise business?

Franchise businesses are popular because they often allow potential business owners to quickly hit the ground running by leveraging the strength and strategies of the franchisor’s existing infrastructure. However, opening a franchise comes with a number of potential cons, from the cost to the lack of autonomy in decision-making. A fully-functioning business system is an enticingly beneficial concept for entrepreneurs who want to own a business but don’t necessarily want to build an entire business from scratch. But what exactly are the potential disadvantages of investing in a franchise?

What Are the Disadvantages of a Franchise Business?

In order to understand the disadvantages of a franchise business, it is essential to understand the unique structure of the franchising industry. The franchisor is the “head” of the franchise system – they are responsible for developing the strategy, plan of operations and brand. The franchisee is the “branch” or the individual who takes out a license from the franchisor to access their existing infrastructure to build a mutually beneficial business.

Franchisees then pay the franchisor a licensing fee to operate as a part of their organization. This fee can often be quite expensive for the franchisee, as it can range from a few thousand dollars to a substantial total depending on the total investment cost of the franchise.

High Investment Costs

Before opening a franchise, business owners should consider the total investment cost. Certain franchises are much more expensive to get off the ground and can involve a number of unexpected costs, such as training and supplies. While this should already be a factor in one’s decision-making process, it is important to know that these costs can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the franchise in question.

Restrictions on Local Autonomy

While in theory, franchisees benefit from being part of the existing infrastructure and frameworks of the franchisor, those same frameworks can come with some severe restrictions on local autonomy. This is true for even the smallest decisions, from what systems to prioritize to what steps to take to reach customers and drive sales.

It is important to note that this could potentially be a serious drawback, as it limits the franchisee’s ability to respond innovatively to local needs and changes in the market.

Short-Term Relationships

One of the biggest disadvantages of a franchise business is that the franchisee’s relationship with the franchisor is often short-term. So while certain franchises may offer long-term opportunities, many franchisees will find themselves in the difficult position of having to start from scratch and grow the business in a limited amount of time.

Limited Opportunity

Additionally, potential franchisees should take into consideration the overall opportunity that a particular franchise offers. Not all franchises are created equal and each has its own unique business model and set of advantages and disadvantages. That being said, potential franchisees should consider whether the franchise will have the potential to reach their desired growth. This may be especially true for those who are looking to start a business in an industry with plenty of competition.

Which Is Not a Disadvantage of a Franchise Business?

It is important to note that there is no definite disadvantage of investing in a franchise. Every franchise business is unique and has its own set of potential drawbacks. However, there is one potential advantage that many franchisees may not realize: the ability to leverage the support of the franchisor’s existing infrastructure.

Franchisors often offer a variety of resources to their franchisees, including marketing campaigns, quality control, training programs, operational procedures and more. This can be a huge benefit for those who are looking to start a business without having to go through the trouble of creating these systems from scratch. Because of this, many franchisees are able to start a successful business without the same risks and investments that come with building a business from the ground up.


In the end, the decision to invest in a franchise business should be made carefully and with the pros and cons of franchising in mind. While there are some potential drawbacks, there are many advantages that entrepreneurs can benefit from, including the ability to leverage an existing infrastructure and the potential to succeed quite quickly.

It is important to take your time and research the potential risks associated with the franchise before moving ahead with the business. By taking the proper steps and doing the right research, potential entrepreneurs can make informed decisions that will lead them to success.



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