Franchise Financing Options: How to Find the Money

When buying a franchise, the key numeral you will need to know for franchise finance purposes is the initial investment. The initial investment is your “ all in ” costs and includes the franchise fee and respective inauguration costs such as deluxe open, initial inventory, signage, leasehold improvements, supplies, equipment and more. The initial investing for most franchises is between $ 75,000 to $ 500,000 — with about half falling under $ 250,000. however, the initial investment varies widely by diligence and sword, with some franchises at less than $ 75,000 and others approaching $ 1 million or more. But don ’ thymine shy away because of these numbers. Buying a franchise is very accomplishable. “ many first gear time franchise buyers can find an abundance of feasible franchise options between $ 100k to $ 250k, ” advises Mariel Miller, a national franchise adviser. “ And most of the meter, with the veracious franchise finance strategies, they can come up with respective funding combinations to afford it. ” many buyers put together financing options that include a combination of personal savings, SBA loans, conventional business loan products, 401 ( kilobyte ) rollovers, and/or franchisor in-house programs.

In this guide we help you identify existing assets you may have available. We ’ ll besides identify lenders for the best sources of franchise finance.

Assess Your Situation

To figure out your franchise finance needs, first assess your existing situation. Franchisors and lenders expect prospective franchisees to have some personal funds to put toward the initial investment. Candidates normally need 10 % to 30 % cash, provided they are open to considering the many popular fund strategies available today, says Miller.

Franchisors may impose two requirements :

  • Net worth. Franchise brands want to know you can afford the franchise. They specify a minimum net worth of  assets over and above debts.  (Calculate your net worth.)
  • Liquid assets. Some franchisors require a cash equivalent — such as $35,000 — in savings.  This is money you can get at quickly to cover unanticipated startup expenses, pay for living expenses until the business turns a profit, and/or apply toward the franchise fee.

“ We recommend and help clients in conducting a cost-of-capital analysis adenine well as a general fundability or prequalification discussion with a franchise finance expert early on in the process. Based on my have, it ’ s rare that we can not find a solid fund scheme that works, ” says franchise adviser Mariel Miller .

Personal Assets  for Franchise Financing

Always get your spouse ’ mho agreement to use personal assets. Retain a part for family expenditures such as children ’ mho education and emergencies. here are assets normally used for franchise financing :

Savings and Investment Portfolios Your personal savings includes savings bank accounts and investments in brokerage accounts.

Severance Package  Been downsized — or about to be ? A severance software can include all kinds of goodies. There may be rupture pay, unused vacation and disgusted give, deferred compensation, and company breed or stock options to be cashed in.

Home Equity People with equity in their homes sometimes choose to tap into it through a home equity lineage of credit. Although popular, this is not normally the best mind. It can limit your future credit handiness. And you could be mortgaging away your kin ’ mho security. Retirement Accounts Aspiring franchisees may want to withdraw from their retirement accounts — IRA, 403 ( boron ) or other account. But that ’ s not always wise. First, you could be risking funds you ’ ll motivation in your fortunate years. Second, you could have to pay a 10 % punishment for early withdrawal, along with taxes on the money — seriously eating into the available funds to put toward a franchise.

The IRS rules are complex. Before using retirement funds, get your accountant or a franchise finance adept to estimate taxes and penalties. Avoid unpleasant surprises belated .

401(k) Business Financing

If you ’ re hush intent on using retirement funds, an option is a 401 ( potassium ) rollover, besides called Rollovers as Business Startups ( ROBS ). See besides :
Use These 5 Financing Options for Your Bootstrapping Startup The ROBS rollover enables aspiring business owners to tap into their own retirement monies to fund their businesses, without paying taxes or early-withdrawal penalties. The business owner forms a new pot, and rolls the retirement funds over into a new 401 ( thousand ) in the newfangled corporation. then the newly 401 ( kelvin ) invests in stock certificate in the business owner ’ s own pot. The original retirement account is treated as a rollover. Therefore, no taxes or early-withdrawal penalties apply — provided all the one ’ mho are dotted and the deoxythymidine monophosphate ’ randomness crossed. ROBS are legal and the IRS says they are not an abusive tax avoidance strategy. But the IRS silent calls them “ questionable “.

Franchise adviser Joel Libava believes that under the right field circumstances, ROBS can be appropriate to finance a franchise. But he emphasizes caution. “ ROBS are not for everybody. a long as the IRS says they are legal, and they are set up correctly, I can see their value. however, the scenario needs to be right. A 25-year-old with $ 12,000 in his IRA — not a good fit. But 50 year-olds with $ 400,000 in their IRAs ? much more applicable. however, people should never dig into retirement funds besides profoundly. In other words, they shouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate use $ 375,000 of the $ 400,000 sitting there. ” Libava warns it ’ s essential to set up a ROBS — besides called 401 ( k ) business financing — correctly. not following the rules could be dearly-won. “ I ’ ve seen franchisees use 401 ( thousand ) finance successfully, provided it ’ s done by rights. If you ’ re going to do one, find a firm experienced in setting up ROBS plans correctly. Understand precisely what you can use the funds for, and what not. ” Guidant Financial is one firm that specializes in these 401 ( kelvin ) rollover plans. Read more on ROBS plans .

Franchise Loans

Any discussion of franchise finance options normally addresses one winder issue : how to get a loanword for a franchise.

Some lenders that offer finance for franchise business owners make startup loans for modern franchisees. Others work entirely with existing owners already in business .

  • For first-time, new franchise owners, the best options are a term loan or an SBA loan.
  • For existing franchise business owners who want to expand, refinance or get working capital, the best options include short term loans, medium-term loan, SBA loan, equipment financing, business line of credit, alternative lending, or merchant advance.

To get a occupation lend, your personal citation score is key. The unsheathed minimal is a credit score of 600. To get an SBA lend most experts agree that you need a score in the range of 640. A credit score of 700 and improving will get you the biggest number of finance options and best terms for a bank loanword. fiscal institutions typically require personal guarantees for belittled business loans. They may require collateral and a down requital angstrom high as 20 % to 25 % .

SBA Loans for Franchisees

small business administration loans are made by lenders but backed by the U.S. government and can be used by franchisees. The U.S. Small Business Administration ( SBA ) establishes all requirements and generally guarantees 75 % of the loan. To be eligible to get SBA financing for franchises, the post must be listed in the SBA ’ s Franchise Directory.

Small Business Administration finance is available to borrowers who otherwise would not be able to obtain financing. A lender can assess the franchise finance options available to you. Try to find an SBA-preferred lender, which has assurance to give aim approval and helps you get through the application process promptly. The two chief types of SBA loans are the 7 ( a ) and 504 programs .


An SBA 7 ( a ) loan is the best small business administration option for new franchisees. This lend can besides be used by existing franchisees that need working capital, to refinance or for growth. Advantages are :

  • A 7(a) loan can be used to open a new franchise business.  Conventional lenders are often hesitant to lend to a startup with no track record of sales. But 7(a) loans can be based on future projections.
  • The required down payment can be lower than conventional financing. Business owners can finance a significant chunk of the project costs – up to 90%.
  • The maximum amount for a 7(a) loan is $5 million.  The repayment term can be longer than conventional business loans – up to 10 years.
  • Interest rates are often favorable.
  • Veterans may be eligible for reduced fees under the Veterans Advantage Program.

One downside : the lender is required to tie up your personal real estate as collateral by placing a spleen on your home. This can hamper future personal plans, such as your ability to sell your existing home and buy a newfangled one.


The 504 SBA lend can be used to finance actual estate, facilities and equipment. A 504 loanword is not a good option to get a newly franchisee business going because of the limitations of what you can use the funds for. But it may be appropriate for existing franchisees who want to grow and expand by, say, buying a new construct. SBA 504 loans can have terms up to 25 years for real estate, with favorable sake rates .

Best Franchise Financing Sources

One of the best advantages of working with a franchise adviser or adviser is referrals to companies that specialize in franchise financing. “ experience advisors have a wide-eyed range of contacts and can refer you early in the serve, without any sort of commitment or costs, ” says Miller. Another option is your local anesthetic community bank if you have a good relationship there. And there are on-line sources including : ApplePie Capital – ApplePie Capital is a lend marketplace focusing entirely on franchise loans. It brings together a nationally network of lending partners. It besides offers its own conventional loan product called ApplePie Core. ApplePie Capital supports first-time franchisees and existing franchisees.

credibly – Credibly offers a variety of loans for modest occupation owners, including for franchisees. SmartBiz – SmartBiz is known for being experts in SBA lend for small businesses. But the group besides offers bank term loans. Balboa Capital – Balboa is best for franchise finance for existing franchisees ( in occupation at least one year with $ 100,000 in tax income ). Balboa works with a variety of franchise brands. It provides options such as short term and medium term loans. OnDeck – OnDeck offers term loans and a business line of credit intersection. Requirements are a credit score of at least 600 and one year in commercial enterprise. Funding Circle – Funding Circle is a market that underwrites and funds loans for small clientele borrowers and then finds institutional investors for those loans. Funding Circle is best for existing franchisees, and offers SBA 7 ( a ) loans and term loans up to 10 years in length. CAN Capital – CAN is best for existing franchisees and offers a short-run lend of 6 to 18 months. The maximum total is $ 250,000. CAN besides offers merchant cash advances. In addition to the above lenders, the franchisor may offer options, as per the adjacent section .

Franchisor Provided Financing

many franchisors are will to provide franchise finance resources in some way. Assistance takes diverse forms, as follows .

In-House Franchise Financing

It ’ s possible to find franchisors that offer in-house financing, but it ’ s the exception quite than the average. “ only about 12 % of franchisors offer in-house financing, ” says Miller. One exercise is 7 ? football team. Its web site says it has “ an home program that provides up to 65 % financing on your initial franchise fee. This plan, which is rare to most franchisors, besides provides an loose account ( or finance ) for the inventory purchases and operating expenses of your store. ” Ask the franchise sales representative or your franchise adviser for any in-house options .

Preferred Franchise Lenders

many franchisors have “ preferred lender ” partners. The franchisor sets up a working relationship with one or more lenders that offer finance to its prospective franchisees. Subway, for exercise, offers three prefer lender choices : Ascentium Capital, JenCas Financial and IPC Franchise Financing. early franchisors merely point you toward a list of franchise lenders. Auntie Anne ’ s software documentation says, “ we can provide a list of lenders who have expressed interest in lending to franchise partners. ”

Financing Consultants

Some franchisors engage a financing adviser to work with you — for unblock. Moe ’ s Southwest Grill, for model, states that it “ may engage an adviser who will provide consulting services to franchisees to assist them with securing finance and it pays the adviser for this aid to franchisees. ”

Franchise Incentives

Franchisors today may offer incentives to encourage new business. Incentives include reducing the franchise fee and relaxing early requirements to make it less expensive for a new business. For case, hundreds of franchisors provide incentives to U.S. veterans, active military and sometimes military class members. See the listings on the VetFran web site. If you are transitioning out of the military, besides control with the VA ’ s Transition Assistance Program ( TAP ). “ not only are more brands honoring discounts for military families, some have extended the same consideration to beginning responders, ” says Miller .

How Do You Qualify for Franchise Financing?

Qualifying for a franchise lend is like to qualifying for any other kind of loanword. Remember, to start you besides need to meet the franchisor ’ second requirements. At a minimal you will need these qualifications :

  • Acceptable personal credit history.  Your personal credit score reflects whether you are reliable as a borrower.  Check your credit history to make sure all information is accurate before applying for any kind of franchise financing.  Your small business credit score may also come into play if you apply for credit for an existing business.
  • Required down payment.  Almost any kind of SBA or conventional business loan will require a down payment.
  • Financial information.  Be prepared to submit a business plan — or revenue and expense forecasts, or a P&L.
  • Franchise information. Lenders want to know: is the franchise brand an established name, with a track record of successful franchisees?

How Do You Buy a Franchise With No Money?

The curtly answer is : you can not buy a franchise with no money. Every franchise requires an initial investment. While it ’ s not possible to buy a franchise with no money, you can target lower-cost franchises. See : If you have no money at all, think longer term — and plan. Sometimes it ’ sulfur best to step back, accumulate savings, and apply for finance options late after your fiscal situation improves. visualize :

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