You can find your ideal franchise by spending countless hours sifting through thousands of franchise company websites and Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDDs). But you don’t have time for that, do you? Of course not! You want to quickly narrow down your search to a shortlist of options for closer examination. The good news is that this is the reason why I created Franchise Chatter – to help you make an informed decision about the right franchise opportunity for you, without overwhelming you with information you don’t need.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Franchise Chatter or a longtime user, this Start Here page will help you get the most out of the time you spend here. After all, we’ve been writing daily posts since 2011, which means there’s a LOT of information throughout Franchise Chatter.
No one expects you to read everything – your time is far too precious for that! This helpful page will quickly introduce you to the main sections of Franchise Chatter so you can easily get to the information that you need the most.
Each and every time you visit the site, this Start Here page serves as a great reminder of all the most important areas you’ll want to visit. Ready to find the perfect franchise for you? Start here:
A great way to jump-start your search for the best franchise opportunity is to look at the franchises that have consistently done well over time. But how do you measure that? On the America’s Most Lucrative Franchises list, I home in on three of the most important metrics: (1) average sales-to-investment ratio, (2) average revenues, and (3) average operating income. All the franchises on this list have met one or more of the following targets: (1) average sales-to-investment ratio of at least 2:1, (2) average revenues of at least $1 million, and/or (3) average operating income of at least $100,000.
There are many different metrics you can look at when searching for a top franchise. Two that Franchise Chatter users have frequently asked for are rankings of franchises by average annual revenues and average annual profits. How you interpret these lists, however, takes a little bit of guidance because the way average revenues and average profits are reported varies from franchise to franchise, and some don’t report either one at all. But don’t worry – the introduction to these lists tells you everything you need to know about how to use them.
When picking a franchise, it’s important to know which ones have done well over the past year. You want to sign up with a business that’s going places, and a change in sales can tell you a lot about where a franchise is heading. This list sprang out of the events of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic led to sharp declines for some businesses and striking growth for others. The key metric in this list is average sales. Winners saw average sales increase, survivors held steady or experienced a dip in average sales of less than 10%, and the losers experienced a decline in average sales of 10% or more. Use this list as another way to evaluate franchise performance from the perspective of the direction sales have taken during the previous year.
Another useful way to jump-start your search for the perfect franchise match is to take this free franchise matching quiz. All you have to do is answer a short series of questions, and then you’ll receive a customized list of franchises that best match the answers you gave. It’s a quick, easy way to generate a shortlist of opportunities that might include the franchise of your dreams!
You may be looking for franchises that fall within a particular industry or industries (or at least know what types of businesses don’t interest you at all). I’ve put together dozens of top franchise lists in different industry categories to help you quickly find the best opportunities that match your interests. Make sure to read the Methodology section at the end of each list to learn how the methodology differs from our flagship America’s Most Lucrative Franchises list.
When you have a shortlist of franchises that interest you, the FDD Talk posts become the meat and potatoes of your research. I take a deep dive into the financial performance data revealed in Item 19 of a specific company’s FDD. Each FDD Talk post has the same basic structure. It begins with some general background information and recent news about the franchise, links you to Franchise Chatter posts about the company’s franchise fees and franchise costs, and then analyzes what’s in Item 19 of the FDD. Each franchise has a lot of leeway concerning what it presents in Item 19, and I help you make the most of what’s there by comparing current results to the previous year’s results, as well as to results of other franchises in the same category.
Pro Tip: If you want to read our analyses of other franchises in the same industry, just click on one of the category links right below the title of the FDD Talk post you’re reading. This is a great way to discover new franchises in your area of interest!
A suitable franchise for you is one you can actually afford! Each post in this section of Franchise Chatter goes into detail about what’s found in Item 7 of the company’s FDD. It presents a range of what the overall startup costs will be for that franchise. This initial investment figure is presented as a range since some costs vary by location. It’s also just an estimate, which means your actual costs could end up being higher. But the detailed information definitely helps you determine whether or not you can afford to invest in any given franchise.
There’s a difference between franchise costs (the startup money you’ll need to set up and launch the location), as mentioned above, and the franchise fees, which are the amounts you pay to the franchisor upon signing a franchise agreement. The main item here is the initial franchise fee that you pay to the franchisor for the privilege of buying into a proven business concept. Most franchises will also require regular royalty fees and marketing fees (for regional/national advertising), typically paid on a weekly or monthly basis as long as you remain a franchisee. If your franchise contract is terminated for cause, you’ll likely have to pay liquidated damages. When your franchise agreement expires, you’ll need to pay a renewal fee if you sign a new franchise agreement. You’ll also learn about any other fees you have to pay to the franchisor or a third party.
When you’re considering a particular franchise, it’s nice to hear from the people directly involved with the company. Exclusive to Franchise Chatter, the Q&A section features interviews with executives and/or franchisees so you can get to know a franchise better – beyond just looking at the numbers. It’s also a great way to find out about the latest news and developments at the franchise being covered, and it often includes insightful advice to prospective franchisees.
If you’re visiting this site because you already have a list of franchises that interest you, then you’ll want to visit this handy page with its listing of all the franchises we’ve researched and written about. The franchises are listed alphabetically, so finding the ones you want to know more about is incredibly easy. Just click on the name of the franchise, and you’ll get a listing of every article we’ve published about it since 2011.