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    How to buy into a franchise

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    Former wine wholesale owner, Andrew McAllister, switched bottles for burgers when his small wine wholesale company started to head south. Getting the taste for Urban Burger fare, Andrew, 36, ended up opening a franchise in Richmond, Victoria, with plans for a second in Glen Waverley.

    On my rounds trying to flog wine to bottle shops, I would call into this burger bar called Urban Burger in Port Melbourne. I loved their food. When times got tough I needed to get a second income, so I approached Urban Burger for a job cooking at night. I soon learned they were starting to franchise and asked the owners if I could work full time and “learn the ropes”.

    I closed down my wine business and was employed full timeat Urban Burger. Starting with cooking, I moved on to building a burger, customer service, ordering, invoicing…. After two years of solid work, I had enough capital to afford my own Urban Burger (with a little help from my family).

    You can sometimes feel like you’re not really the boss. People can tell you what is going to happen in your own business. But that’s the reason you invested in the business in the first place. If a franchiser is any good, they will help you every step of the way and guide you. Remember, they are the experts – you’re paying them for their knowledge on the business that you’re buying.

    Looking back, I’d manage the cost of goods like a hawk. I’d also promote my business better, as local advertising is critical. And I’d work as hard on my business as I do in my business.

    Franchising provides you not only with an investment and income, but a lifestyle, too. In the three years of owning my shop, I’ve experienced every emotion possible but the diversity of roles is the thing that keeps you coming back for more. You need to love what you do.

    Andrew’s tips for franchising:

    1. Do your research on the franchise before committing.
    2. Make sure your franchise has excellent formulas and processes in place.
    3. If you’re thinking about selling, make sure your franchise is working at its best when you go to sell.

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