Are global franchise opportunities the best franchise opportunities?
Gillian Harper| Overseas Representative | Gutter-Vac
Many Australian based franchise companies are exporting their know-how overseas by providing franchise opportunities to markets as diverse as the USA, India, South Africa and the Middle East. While this may mean that their Australian success has attracted international interest, it may also provide a distraction to providing a quality offering to their local Australian franchisees.
Overseas expansion can mean less focus on supporting local franchisees or it can mean better support with increased royalty fees coming in from overseas, which help support local operations.
When a franchise turns its attention overseas it is important to understand the structure they will use to support the international expansion and still provide a great service to their franchisees.
We caught up with Gillian Harper, Overseas Representative for Gutter-Vac - a Queensland based company that is currently in the process of expanding its operation overseas in the US - to talk about the importance of keeping a high level of support to Australian franchisees even when big franchise opportunities and growth opportunities arise.
Gutter-Vac decided that now was the right time to work on expanding its brand and providing franchise opportunities in other countries. The franchise felt that it had put together a set of proven systems that had been embraced by the local market. With little foreign competition and plenty of expansion opportunities for gutter cleaning services internationally there were many markets to choose from. The USA was an easy decision for Gutter-Vac because of the commonalities of the environmental and social factors.
However, when expanding internationally there are many challenges that any franchisor needs to overcome, and it's important as a prospective franchisee to do your homework on franchisors with strong international expansion plans.
First off, the better franchise systems keep the right balance between the growth of their franchise network and the level of satisfaction of current Australian franchisees: that means not taking their eyes off support for franchisees in Australia whilst the head office is setting up operations in other countries.
During the expansion process, choosing the right people for the new territory is fundamental to keep the current professional support staff fully committed to supporting the existing franchisee network.
In this regards, Gutter-Vac is looking to appoint local regional developers - as they have a clear understanding of their country and territory - in order not to divert precious resources from the Australian franchisees. Their local knowledge will help Gutter-Vac create a competitive offer for the service itself and ensure Gutter-Vac' s Australian staff remains focused on the success of our Australian franchisees.
"However, when expanding internationally there are many challenges that any franchisor needs to overcome, and it's important as a prospective franchisee to do your homework on franchisors with strong international expansion plans."
Support-wise, expanding the operation across another country can bring other benefits for existing franchisees.
For a franchise company, one of the advantages of an expanded franchisee network, whether overseas or locally is growing the size of the business thanks to the increased royalty fees coming in. For Australian franchisees, this can be highly beneficial as economies of scale come into place and larger budgets allow for the improvement of support systems in place, and greater opportunities to promote the brand on a national basis.
Increased revenues could mean more training for the field support staff - and consequently more expertise and experience available to deal with any potential issue - but also more tools, software, and programs available.
By establishing a new franchise business into the economy of the US, Gutter-Vac is not only aiming to increase the franchise opportunities for potential franchisees in the US, but also to amplify the franchise opportunities within Australia by further reinforcing the operation internally.