Entrepreneurs searching for their ' antidote ' to the question ' how to finance a franchise ' in Canada seek to unlock the secrets of banks and franchising companies in Canada. We think we have earned the right (via experience) to have learned and now share some of those tips, secrets, and strategies on successful franchise financing in Canada.
You're somewhat close to being successful already when you have chosen to purchase a franchise in Canada, simply because you're buying what is hopefully a proven business model that has a higher probability of success oftentimes than starting your own firm. And it’s a two way deal; because your franchisor needs you to be successful that is how they succeed themselves!
Canada also has solid franchise disclosure rules and regulations, which help protect the investment you are about to finance - and that’s a good thing!
Naturally the goal of your business is to be profitable, so significant care should be done around your investigation into the overall profitability model - remember also that those profits pay back your franchise loan / loans.
To finance a franchise in Canada, successfully, revolves around two key concepts: knowing your start up costs, and being able to assess ongoing working capital needs. The latter is sometimes forgotten or receives less attention, and that’s not good!
Assessing your start up costs and ongoing working capital and cash flow needs involves the financial portion of your business plan. It's not as hard as you think, it’s just a simple case of taking a basic spreadsheet and focusing on the inn’s (your projected sales)... and the outs... your expenses in each category. Those include rent, royalty payments, and a salary draw for yourself, your cost of goods ... etc. At the end of the day it’s highly desirable to have money left, aka ' profit'!
In Canada franchise loans are usually 5-7 year term longs; occasionally they might be longer but certainly in our experience 5-7 is the norm.
There is a limited, in fact, only one full service franchising company in Canada that provides financing. They tend to be involved in larger national programs, and can assist with acquisition financing, refinancing of a current location, new builds, and in some cases real state if in fact that’s required. A very heavy focus is placed on traditional cash flow coverage. To non financial people we can simply explain that if your debt is 1 dollar in your business you have to be able to prove or demonstrate cash flow of around 1.25 ( a buffer is created ) to pay back the financing . Transactions from this firm tend to be larger in size.
But what about the hundreds of other firms out there who may not be aligned under such a program? Where do their franchisees go for help? Here is where it’s prudent to talk to two folks; one is a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who has experience in franchise finance. The other is a guy name ' BILL ‘. Actually, that’s B I L, and it stands for a specialized loan program that perfectly suits what many franchisees are attempting to achieve in a solid franchising loan. It also have very attractive rates, terms an structures that even larger more established firms cant achieve, i.e. lower personal guarantees, no penalty to repay, etc.
So, bottom line. As usual its focus on a franchise model that makes sense and suits your experience. Be prepared for a reasonable equity investment on your part, and seek the services of either a very specialized franchising companies that focus on finance, or, even better, the help of an expert who can package a solution that suits your individual situation. Those are solid antidotes to the ' how to finance a franchise ' question!