Is Buying A Franchise Really Buying A Job?

buy franchise, buy a job

One very popular question that’s asked of me during the numerous seminars I give on franchise ownership is this one:

“Aren’t I really just buying myself a job, when I purchase a franchise?”

The answer that I have been giving as of late may surprise you:

“What would be so bad about buying yourself a job today?”

As of this writing, the unemployment numbers are staggering. The U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics stated that the national unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in July 2009, seasonally adjusted, little changed from 9.5percent the prior month, but up from 5.8 percent a year earlier. Total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 247,000 over the month and by 5,740,000 from a year earlier. 14.5 million people were unemployed as of July 2009.

If you are one of those 14.5 million people, does buying yourself a job sound all that bad?

Although “buying yourself a job” is really not the goal of most prospective franchise buyers, you are guaranteed one thing: you can’t be downsized.

Most of the folks that I consult with tell me that the one thing they want more of is control. They want to control their own future. They also tell me that it doesn’t seem to matter how good they are in their jobs. If they happen to work for a large public company, it seems to them that the price of the stock dictates their job security. Payroll always seems to be the first thing that’s cut.

So what is your new career path going to look like? Chris Brogan, a social media guru, and a guy that I have been following a lot the past year and a half says this:

“The thing is, there really never was a career path for you. That was something for your dad, or you about four careers ago. But those paths are gone. There’s not really even an indent any more where they were left. So, let’s just level with you now: congratulations. You’re the president of your career.”

I think he’s right. A couple of years ago I attended a talk given by Steven Little. In it, he said this:

“The kids that are going to be graduating college in the next few years will have seven different careers. Not seven different jobs, seven different careers!”

Maybe the folks that are out there “buying jobs” are on the right track. I’d like to share some examples of franchise opportunities that one could say is exactly like buying a job:

  • HouseMaster Home Inspections – This is usually a one-person franchise, and one in which you need to be very comfortable climbing on roofs, crawling under furnaces, and inspecting the electrical wiring in homes. This franchise system seems to offer some unique methods when it comes to getting to market.
  • Global M.A.R.S. – If you love cars and trucks, and don’t mind getting a little dirty, this franchise offers reconditioning services to automobile dealerships. You’ll be doing things like fixing paint chips, removing door dings,  helping with interior odor elimination, and repairing torn leather seats, which will hopefully benefit your customers, by helping them get top dollar when they go to sell these now pristine vehicles.
  • The Dentist’s Choice – This is an interesting business. The expensive hand tools that your dentist uses to clean your teeth, and in some unpleasant cases, drill into the decayed areas of your teeth, actually don’t always work. They break down. Enter the local franchise owner of The Dentist’s Choice, a dental handpiece repair specialist. If you like detail work, this low investment franchise offers both. Hayes Handpiece is a similar franchise offering the same types of services, and has been around a long time.
  • Surface Specialists Services Inc. – This franchise offers surface restoration services, mostly for residential bathrooms. As a franchisee, you will be refinishing bathtubs, showers, countertops, and whirlpools. One interesting and much needed service they offer is retrofitting. They can make entry areas for tubs and showers lower in height, and add safety bars, which can help the ever growing senior population reduce their risk of injury in the bathroom, which is an all too common occurrence.
  • ProEnergy Consultants– Think Green. As a franchise owner of this new concept, your role will be one of energy consulting. Basically, you will do energy “audits” for homeowners. By using a tool called a thermography scanner, you’ll be able to tell where energy is escaping from your customers homes, and make recommendations on how to improve problem areas.This model is very similar to the home inspection type of business, except you are in more of a consultative role.

Do those five examples (and there are many more) give you a better idea of what I mean by “buying yourself a job?”

The franchises I have named could be great opportunities for the right people. If you desire freedom and control (not total control, but much more control than in a corporate setting) then these low-cost, one-person franchises could be one way to secure your future. Even if you have to buy it.

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Joel Libava on 2008 franchise trends About the Author: Joel Libava is President and Life Changer of Franchise Selection Specialists. He blogs at The Franchise King Blog.


Joel Libava Joel Libava is the Franchise Expert for Small Business Trends. Joel, The Franchise King®, equips today’s prospective franchise owners with time-tested, proven techniques designed to increase odds of success. He does this through one-on-one coaching, and gobs of useful content that can be found on places like Small Business Trends, SBA.Gov, and his award-winning franchise blog, The Franchise King Blog . He’s been featured in Entrepreneur® magazine, and is frequently called upon by national media outlets and publications for his no-spin insights into the world of franchising.

17 Reactions
  1. Terrific post, Joel. I’ve told you before that I’ve considered franchises over the years. Each time, I’ve felt what you’ve described — I would buy my job and there’s nothing wrong with that!

    Control. It is about control. At a base level, we all crave that and if we have it, we are fairly stress-free. If we don’t, we’re constantly trying how to get some control. These are all worth a look! Thanks.

  2. The franchises which described here,are very useful for all.
    And they seems to be like buying a job.

  3. Joel,

    What’s the prize tag for buying the jobs you have listed?

  4. Thank you all for your comments,

    TJ, If the unemployment rate keeps going up in the US, this may not be too bad of a deal.

    These opportunities generally come in under $100k.

    No problem for a gentleman of your financial stature.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  5. Joel,

    Thanks for the information. I am open for buying a franchise sometime in the future, or even creating my own type of franchise as we have discussed before. Think a combo of coffee shop & open office / workspace.

    Right now, I am creating my new job as a social media “specialist” (read: enthusiast) & business intelligence analyst at company that will enter the North American market. We have products that could be of interested to franchises in the food & beverage, hospitality & restaurant area.

    Where in the United States is the best place to set up a franchise?

  6. I think franchises that amount to jobs are great for people who don’t want the hassles of dealing with employees, but are not willing to sit back and wait for the “perfect job” to fall into their lap. Make your own opportunities — that what these franchisees are doing.

  7. These are good options for someone not interested in running a large company with lots of overhead and employees. Most of these sound like you could run them from your own home office. Best of all, you don’t have to answer to anyone and you make your own schedule. Sounds good to me!

  8. “you are guaranteed one thing: you can’t be downsized”

    Is that really a guarantee? I’m betting 789 or so Chrystler dealerships would disagree. I’ll grant that it’s nowhere near as likely, but guaranteeing it might be a little much.

  9. Having control over your future and your earnings is a big bonus, something that most people will never have in their jobs.

    I also agree with the comment by Steven Little about having 7 careers. The workplace is a much more fluid place now and you have to be able to move, learn and adjust to stay afloat and get where you want to be.

  10. @David — I’m not sure if a large dealership would count as one of the franchises that Joel is talking about. Although, technically, I guess it may be akin to a franchise.

    You can’t be downsized in the traditional sense because you have more control than you do as an employee, right? You can fail, for sure, but not have someone else tell you — “we don’t need you any more….” No doubt customers and the market can tell you that if you’re not responding and serving market-based customer needs.

  11. Great Post Joel! It all makes clear sense. The above Franchises are a perfect example, although it may seem like buying a job, there is much more to it, you are your own boss, and you earn from the value’s you put into it rather than by the hour.

  12. David,
    Here is what I CAN guarantee;

    If you own your own business, the only person that could Downsize {fire} you is…you.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  13. Prettyy interesting stuff here. Pretty cool if I dont say so myself.

  14. I’m actually surprised to learn for myself that the field of dentistry is in someways like a franchise. To get in, you typically pay someone to take over their practice and purchase a job for yourself. Basically, you’re paying someone for work that you will do yourself. Its an interesting approach, so lets see how I make out on this whole process.

  15. Great article Joel. I’ve been laid off twice in the past 3 years due to downsizing & company restructuring. I gave both companies everything I had, but in the end, it didn’t matter. I no longer want to put my fate into the hands of someone else. If “buying a job” guarantees that I won’t be laid-off, then I’m willing to at least entertain the idea. If I fail at owning a business, so be it. At least I will have tried a different avenue versus setting myself up for yet another potential lay-off.

    • Thanks for commenting, Ben.

      I love your attitude.

      I have a funny feeling that you’re going to find a way to be the boss.

      Best of luck!

      The Franchise King®