How to Find a Franchise for Sale

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Fast food establishments are one type of franchise for sale.
Fast food establishments are one type of franchise for sale. (Image: Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you have decided that owning a franchise is the best business option, start research with an industry data base, at a franchise expo and with a business broker. You can find local franchises available in the Sunday newspaper classifieds and the "Wall Street Journal." Finding a franchise for sale may seem difficult; there are many types of franchises available, each with its own qualities, opportunities and considerations. With a little research and some time, you will find the best franchise for you.

Decide what type of franchise you are in the market to purchase. With over 75 franchise industries, there are many choices for purchasing a business. Make your decision with a thorough knowledge of the industries, franchises and how operating a franchise works. Conduct online researches to learn about the available options and narrow down the choices based on your personal preferences.

Find franchises in your area that are for sale. Use an online database such as the International Franchise Association to help you. The IFA has a complete database of available franchises, listed by company, so finding one that suits you is relatively straightforward. You will find franchise for sale in the Sunday classified sections of newspapers, in the "Wall Street Journal" print and web editions, in "Entrepreneur" magazine and sometimes on craigslist.

You can find a franchise for sale from franchisors websites, from franchise expositions around the country and from franchise brokers, according to the Federal Trade Commission. A franchise expo may offer dozens, even hundreds, of exhibitors so you can comparison shop. You may find high-pressure tactics and "show specials." A franchise broker helps people who want to buy a franchise. Be aware that brokers may collect a commission from a franchisor if you make the deal. Brokers also call themselves "business coaches," "advisors" and "consultants," according to the FTC.

Contact the franchise representative and schedule a meeting. Here you will learn more about the franchise, including the earning potential, minimum capital required and net worth. Be prepared with your resume, recent tax returns, a financial outline showing your assets and debts and professional references.

Fill out an application if you are interested in purchasing a franchise. The company will run a credit and background check to ensure you are financially and legally capable of running the franchise. After completing the application and checks, you will be given a Franchise Disclosure Document. Read this carefully, as it lists in details all responsibilities of the parties involved, including you and the company. Review the document with an attorney and a financial advisor who are experienced in franchises. The FTC cautions that you must receive the disclosure document at least 14 days before you are asked to sign a contract or pay any money. This is known as the Franchise Rule.

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