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What Is the Initial Franchise Fee??

For recently retired professionals looking to stay active and engaged in a business venture, investing in a franchise business might just be the right fit. But before taking the plunge into franchising, it is crucial for aspiring franchise investors to understand the basics of franchising, so they can make an informed decision as to whether it is the right investment opportunity for them. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of the “initial franchise fee,” a key element, and sometimes the largest expense, of any franchise agreement.

At the International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG), we work alongside a network of more than 1,300 franchisors, franchise consultants and vendor members, all of whom have a vested interest in helping aspiring business owners understand and safely navigate through the complexities of franchising. Our mission is to foster a culture of collaboration, ethics and integrity throughout the franchise industry, while empowering investors with the necessary tools and resources to make educated decisions.

So what exactly is an initial franchise fee, and why should aspiring business owners put so much emphasis on it? Let’s explore the subject further.

What Is the Initial Franchise Fee?

In a nutshell, an initial franchise fee is the fee that must be paid upfront in order to secure the rights to a specific brand. This fee can vary significantly, depending on the size and scope of the franchise operation, but typically ranges in size from $10,000 to $60,000. It is important to realize that this fee represents only the start-up costs of the franchise. There are additional expenses which must be taken into consideration such as ongoing royalty and media fees, all of which will need to be paid on a regular basis and in full.

In most cases, the initial franchise fee is non-refundable, meaning that investors are taking a considerable financial risk of putting up the money upfront and hoping that the franchise is successful. The more common practice though is for the franchisee and franchisor to agree on a “success fee” schedule, where monthly payments are made out of the franchise’s revenue stream to cover the cost of the initial franchise fee.

It is worth noting that the initial franchise fee is not the same as other start-up costs, such as construction costs, accounting fees, and legal fees. These costs, and what proportion of them will be paid by the franchisee and franchisor respectively, should be clearly outlined in the franchise agreement.

What Do Franchisees and Franchisors Receive in Exchange for the Initial Franchise Fee?

Franchisees and franchisors benefit from the franchise arrangement in different ways, but primarily the initial franchise fee serves as compensation for the franchisor’s efforts in training, marketing and support for the franchisee. This fee compensates the franchisor for the cost of setting up a franchise business, which includes things such as developing the brand, signing up new franchisees, providing training and support, registering the business, and advertising.

In exchange for this fee, the franchisor provides the franchisee with a ready-made business plan complete with a successful and proven marketing strategy, operational know-how, and the necessary resources, tools and technology to make the transition from aspiring entrepreneur to business owner easy and straightforward.

What Is the Difference Between the Initial Franchise Fee and Other Start-Up Costs?

When considering the cost of a franchise business, it is important to note the difference between the initial franchise fee and other start-up costs, as the two are often lumped together when discussing startup costs. As mentioned previously, the initial franchise fee is the fee paid upfront to the franchisor upon signing the franchise agreement, while other start-up costs can include the franchisee’s initial working capital, construction costs, legal fees, accounting fees, and other incidentals.

The best advice for aspiring franchisees is to understand the financial ramifications of each component of the cost associated with investing in a franchise, so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not it is the right business opportunity for you.


Investing in a franchise business can be a great way for recently retired individuals to stay engaged in business. It is important though that they have a thorough understanding of the franchising industry and the costs associated with it, particularly when it comes to the initial franchise fee, so they can make an educated decision as to whether franchising is right for them.

At IFPG, our goal is to provide aspiring franchise investors with the necessary tools and resources to make an informed business decision, and to foster a culture of ethics, integrity and collaboration throughout the franchise industry.


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