Where to Get Loans for a Franchise
Shelly Sun of BrightStar shares her experience regarding financing franchises. She says that the most common cause “for failure for franchisors is under-capitalization”. In her article in Enterpreneur.com, she gives advice on where and how to get a franchise loan. Banks, government programs, friends and family can give you the financing you need.
The No. 1 reason for failure for franchisors is under-capitalization.
If you’re thinking about, it’s important that you have enough capital to launch and enough capital to sustain the operation until recurring royalties can cover your overhead.
Many franchisors wrongly assume that the amount they collect from sellingin initial franchise fees will cover overhead. But often the franchise-fee revenue does not fund the necessary infrastructure, leaving the emerging franchisor scrambling. If you’re not sitting on a cash war chest of $500,000, you may run out of cash.
When I was launching my health-care staffing franchise, BrightStar Care, in 2005, we estimated we needed to invest $300,000. I contributed $100,000 of our own money and accessed $200,000 in debt financing. We were about 18 months in when the cash began to get painfully tight.
We had overspent on unnecessary or ill-advised hiring. While you might avoid similar pitfalls, you should still plan on $200,000 in additional cash reserves–over and above what your financial model shows you need–for unexpected expenses.
Once you’ve figured out a realistic estimate for your opportunity, the next part is pursuing the funds. Here’s a look at the most common sources.
–Banks. The capital markets have gotten tighter, but there is still money available. Banks review lots of requests, and they are going to be more inclined to loan to those who make their job easier by anticipating their concerns.
These days, you might need to pitch 10 banks before finding a lender. You will need great market research on your industry and your performance compared with peers. You must exert strong confidence in your abilities to achieve your business-plan goals and to repay the loan. Expect to give a personal guaranty for the loan.
So be prepared before you meet with the bank. Make sure your package includes the following: a full business plan; financial statements for the first five years, including a statement of cash flow; and the competitive analysis on your industry to show that your assumptions for unit sales by year, royalty revenue per year and per unit, and earnings as a percentage of revenue are within the ranges of what has occurred historically in the industry.
–Government programs. You’ll be amazed by the number of resources that may be available within your state, especially if your company-owned units are performing well.
When meeting with bankers who would underwrite the state program’s loan, I prepared binders with tabs for five-year projections of income statements, balance sheets, and, most important, cash flows.
We had to access more capital and really build, or entrench and stall growth. At that point, we had 12who had signed up because of their belief in our vision. So we tabled our pride and asked my husband’s parents for a $200,000 loan.
They agreed to help us. We structured the one-year loan with 14% interest (to match their returns in the market, since they had to pull out the money to loan to us). We were able to pay it back in 11 months. We will always be grateful that they stood by us. Receiving financial help from family members is humbling and is something that stays with you, grounds you, and drives you to never have to repeat the experience.
Photo by Bljunk