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Married Couples Turn to Franchises To Own Their Own Business

The last year-and-half has seen rapid changes to commerce and where we work and live. Beyond the much-reported ascendancy of ecommerce and working-at-home, there is strong evidence married couples are seeking new opportunities to be their own boss. They want to participate in the American dream to own their own business, opposed to working for others. Large numbers of married couples are turning to franchises.

Franchising has unique, positive benefits for married couples wanting to control of their careers while building a financial asset. Couples have unique advantages to join a franchise. They combine financial strength, talent, and family support frequently with participating children.

Research from FranchiseInsights.com by Franchise Ventures, a large collection of internet lead-source companies for franchisors, measures and analyzes online franchise candidates who come to them to investigate opportunities.  From January to April 2021, it is revealed that “Nearly two-thirds of prospects [candidates] interested in buying a franchise are married….” “This is significantly higher than the national marriage rate of 55.7% for adults aged 24 and older.”

Married couples exploring franchise opportunities, according to FranchiseInsights.com, account for 65.5% of inquiries and are significantly above the national marriage rate of 55.7% of adults 24 and older 

Business is exciting. Not only the financial rewards but also the emotional gratification especially shared by a man and wife team. As an entry-level business model franchising is a good option since you start up with a proven business, something that works. For married couples, the franchise business formula is ready to go and ongoing training and support enables the couple to combine their financial strength and apply different talents while maintaining a household or continuing a separate career or simply keeping either person from becoming exhausted. Plus the old saying about franchising applies: Go into business for yourself, but not by yourself.

From my years in the franchise business here are key ideas for married couples:

  • Test with discussion what is the most important, 1 goal spouses shared. Before looking into a franchise business, before investigating a formula—e.g., restaurant, senior care, cleaning, plumbing, educational tutoring, etc.—agree on the reason you want to own your own business. This is critical to combining talents and energy as business partners. A few examples:
      • Make as much money as possible
      • Build an asset and income bridge to retirement
      • Create a family business
      • Gain experience as a business owner while building an asset that can be sold
      • Have a business near home
      • Develop a multi-unit business with greater revenue and asset value

Investing in franchising by married couples has the career strength and creativity from two entrepreneurs with the multiplier of talent for operating the business. Below are three examples for how this has worked for others.

Elizabeth & Jim Bowe Franchisees (center), and Franchisors Andy Thompson (Right) and Fred Morache (left)

Couples focused on their shared No.1 goal in choosing a franchise investment. This is demonstrated in a couple’s priority to build a family business. The couple bought out of relative’s failing franchise and revived it into be a thriving, profitable venture. Combining their talents a commercial airline pilot and housewife-mother concentrated on building a family retail operation, turning the store into one of the national chain’s top performing sales units. They achieved a million sales operation in one store. 

But priories grow, just as families do. Now the couple own three franchise stores in southeastern Pennsylvania and employ many local people while their family business served as the nexus for their children to learn how business works, successfully finish college and venturing out on their own.


  • Only after a shared goal, begin investigating franchise concepts that excite both of you. Most important, be sure you agree on the knowledge, talent, and capacity that each spouse will provide to the business. Avoid that one-half effort is excited and the other is lukewarm for a concept. It’s too easy when on partner pursues a separate career or the household. Emotional, physical support and financial decisions suffer. A harmonious and cooperating married couple is a powerful business force.
  • When you land on a franchise concept know the requirements of the business. The franchisor will provide a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) document called the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). It is filed annually to certify the details of the franchise business. Both parties should review and discuss what’s required what the obligations are and whether you can do what it takes. There should be no verbal promises from the franchisor that are not in the FDD.
  • Often married couples have different talents that complement each other—one is a savvy user of technology; another is a people-person; one is focused on financial matters while the other is a visionary with creative business solutions; one has a high-level physical drive while the other is less so, etc. The best part, is unless the couple are newly-weds, a married couple should know each other.

An entrepreneurial couple’s shared goal was to diversify their agricultural, seasonal business in their Oregon smalltown. They invested in a mail, pack & ship service franchise opening “…where everybody knows your name.” Both husband & wife are savvy customer service and marketing experts sharing owner-operator duties in-store while the partner switches off to manage other outside priorities. The wife contributes her talent gained from advertising experience. The husband adds a sharp eye for new sales opportunities introducing new services and products that attracts customers.

Postal Connections franchisees Don & Sue Harteloo,

In their 18th year as Franchisees, the couple’s harmony and talents have consistently made their hometown franchise store a success while continuing a successful second unrelated mail-order business.


 

  • Funding is always a key issue, especially for married couples, are there more than themselves to consider. Do you lead a family unit with kids or parents? The household budget needs to be kept in place at greater or lesser levels. It will affect funding a franchise. The FDD gives you a range a range for initial investment. You have the advantage of combining incomes and investments. Currently, SBA backed loans are offering favorable funding terms and low interest rates. Typically, these loans require 20% to 30% down of the total loan and a logical business plan. Experience in the business is a big plus. Be sure to consider in your loan application two key expenses that often are overlooked
    • Household expenses projected for the next year. Which spouse can cover this with separate employment until the business is making money? Or perhaps a household reserve set up by adding to the loan debt?
    • A business operating reserve is always needed for a new business. It’s rare to open a business and have salary or profit to support operations with labor cost, maintenance and repair, marketing and advertising cost, etc. The best way to get an answer for how long is phone calls to current franchisees and ask “how long?”

A married couple’s shared commitment started with building an asset bridge to retirement. They brought savvy and unbending enthusiasm to their franchise investment following a lay off due to a corporate failure. The couple’s partnership has been supported a two-track career strategy with the wife as an employee of a private educational system and the husband develops a new franchise business that is the asset that can be increased and cashed in when the times comes.

Located in Boise ID, the mail, pack & ship service center has had one of the fastest new store revenue climbs and continues in 2021 on a rapid pace with 6-month 2021 sales 75% higher than first half 2020. The wife continues to bring home stable employment and benefits; while the husband succeeds in being his own boss. He brings retail and sales experience to his operation; and keenly understands how personalized customer service is key to loyalty where a population relies on ecommerce yet starved for face-to-face service attention when needed.


  • An important aspect of choosing a franchise is how well will you get along with the franchisor. My company, Postal Connections®, a mail, packaging, shipping & business services retail service center arranges a personal, face-to-face meeting with one of the owners and the candidates where they live. We asked that both spouses attend. It’s important to know each other as persons before an Agreement is signed. This is not a howdy visit, but a meeting for a day or more to discuss goals, remaining Agreement questions, business practices, obligations, etc. There are many ways franchises do this personal introduction: discovery days at HQ, phone conversations, regional meetings with representatives, etc. Because a franchise relationship is for several years, it is important to know each other. The confidence of both spouses that commitments and support will be there and when you pick up the phone there already is some understanding for why you called.

Franchising Trends

Franchising Trends

With franchising growing every year for the past six years, the successful franchisees and franchisors, for that matter, stay on top of societal trends to keep business booming.

Demographic Changes

US population shifts impact today’s consumers and as well as the labor force. Owners must adapt to this shifting base to mine growth opportunities:

Millennials- This cohort, born roughly between 1981 and 2000 affect everything because of their sheer numbers which are greater than that of baby boomers. Raised on the internet and technology, this group loves to be catered to. They want the owner to know what they want before they even go shopping!

Baby Boomers- As they age, boomers need new and customized services including housing, fitness, aging parent assistance and financial and retirement planning. Other programs and services tailored to their aging experiences will be in high demand.

Minorities- A new majority consisting of Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans is being formed. The growth here presents new opportunities for franchises focused on serving these groups.

Growth Areas

Recession-proof businesses- Businesses like shipping and packaging, hair care, tax preparation, childcare, pet care, computer services and many more do well in any economy. House cleaning and mailing services businesses especially appeal to those who want to stop doing maintenance work in order to pursue more life-fulfilling activities.

Personal care- This includes fitness centers, spas, tanning centers, healthy fast good and tailored education programs designed to improve physical appearance and mental well-being.

Green businesses- With LEED-certification and other guidelines aimed at sustaining and improving the environment, opportunities have arisen in areas such as home improvement, energy savings and green home care.

Staying current with these trends helps the franchisee and franchisor stay relevant in the ever-shifting market.

Fred Morache is a franchising expert and a partner in Postal Connections of America and iSold It franchisors.

The History of Franchising

The word franchise originates from the Anglo-French: franchir (to free) and franc (free). The concept of franchising slowly developed in Europe from roots going back to the middle ages. Back then, titled land owners granted rights to people to hold fairs, operate markets and conduct other business on their land. The rights became rules and as such, part of European Common Law.

The Sewing Machine

In the US, credit for beginning modern franchising, goes to Isaac Singer, founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In the 1850s, Singer wanted a wider distribution for his sewing machine but did not have the cash to increase manufacturing them.  Another issue he faced was that people would be reluctant to buy his machines without some type of training which was not provided by retailers at the time.

Singer decided to assess licensing fees to individuals who would own the rights to sell the machines in certain geographical areas. The licensees also were responsible for teaching customers how to use the machines. This created a platform for making a sewing machine commercially available to the public.

Howard Johnson and Ray Kroc

In 1932, Howard Johnson established the first modern restaurant franchise system stemming from one successful restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts. The concept was to allow independent business people to use the same name, supplies, logos and procedures in exchange for a fee.

Ray Kroc was a salesman of milk shake makers. When he bought a small hamburger joint in 1954, he saw that the owners had perfected a high-volume food production system that combined fast service and low costs with consistent food results. Kroc became their licensing agent and first recruited franchises in the Chicago area (The first was in Des Plaines, IL, a northwestern suburb of Chicago).

The franchising business method got so big that the International Franchise Association was founded in 1960. Their purpose was to provide guidance to the entire industry. In 1978, the Federal Trade Commission got involved by creating laws designed to protect franchisees.

The franchising system has a stalwart history and has proven to be the path to success for many an entrepreneur.

Five Reasons to Buy a Business

The franchise business has weathered the recession better than most industries and it shows considerable promise moving forward. Plus, this is the time when more people are patronizing local shops allowing for the flourishing of family capitalism rather than big business capitalism.

Good reasons to buy right now include:

Seasonality: Be ready to take advantage of the seasonal spikes that occur during the holidays. This can make a huge difference in revenue if you time it right. For example, Postal Connections of America does 2 to 2.5 times their average monthly volume between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That might be the best time to buy that franchise.

Financing: Not only may sellers and franchisors be more willing to finance but other funding options such as SBA loans, penalty free 401k funding and using unsecured credit are being made more readily available. This trend is definitely headed in the right direction especially when compared with a few years ago.

Buyer’s Market: Right now, prices on business and the equipment to run them (including real estate) are lower than usual. As with the stock market, it’s good to buy low and sell high which makes now a fertile business buying time.

When it comes to leases, landlords are open to negotiating favorable terms on prime space for a new franchise operation.

In addition, interest rates are at all-time lows. If you have a good credit history, you will be able to find excellent interest rates. Keep in mind that as the economy continues to heat back up, so will expenses.

Job Market: In addition to it being a buyer’s market for opportunities, it’s a good market for hiring qualified employees. Because individuals in all sectors are experiencing layoffs and downsizing, it’s highly probable that you will be able to get the right individuals to help your business prosper.

Risk: If you are concerned about the risk of going it on your own, an established franchise system reduces the worries of business ownership entry. In fact, it’s one of the big advantages of franchising. You build on the experience of a franchisor and established franchisees that can support and guide you through the process. Another positive is that a franchise system offers the buying power, efficiencies of scale and training you need to build a successful operation.

If you have a dream to be a business owner now is the time to go out there and make it happen.