In the current economy, questions arise more than ever about how to finance the purchase of a franchise. In fact, many people think that it simply will not be possible to borrow money for the purchase of a franchise. While it is true that it may be more difficult and that lenders are being more careful about lending money, there are some ways a franchisor can improve the ability of a prospective or existing franchisee to get financing.
Franchisors should be aware that some lenders are paying greater attention to the information contained in the franchise disclosure document (“FDD”). Therefore, when preparing an FDD, a franchisor should take into account the necessity of prospective franchisees to obtain financing.
For instance, more lenders are looking for information that might be provided in Item 19 of the FDD. Such information is known as financial performance representations. Not surprisingly, lenders may want to know about the earnings and earning potential of units in the franchise system. Of course, a lot of factors must be considered when a franchisor decides whether to provide Item 19 information and if so, what specific information to provide. But one of those factors should be that franchisees are going to require financing and if so, some lenders may expect and require such economic data.
Also, lenders may want assurance that the franchisor will provide the franchisee with the necessary training to succeed. One of the great things about buying a franchise is that a franchise is supposed to be a “turn-key” business. That is, a franchisor is supposed to provide a franchisee with all of the knowledge and skills necessary to operate the franchise. When deciding whether to lend to a prospective franchisee, lenders are more and more interested in assessing the type and extent of training the franchisor is going to provide. Therefore, when providing information in Item 11 concerning the franchisor’s obligations, a franchisor should take care to ensure that sufficient detail is provided about the training program. This way, lenders will be able to ascertain whether a franchisee without any experience may be provided with the tools necessary to succeed.
While financing for the purchase of a franchise is harder to come by these days, it is possible for a prudent franchisor, with attention to detail, to increase a prospective franchisee’s ability to obtain such financing.