Unveiling The Truth Behind Franchising Success Rates


Franchising is often seen as a pathway to business ownership, offering a proven business model and support from a well-established brand. However, the reality behind franchising success rates is more nuanced than many might think. Let’s explore the factors influencing these rates and what prospective franchisees should consider.

Understanding Success Rates

Success rates in franchising are typically measured by the percentage of franchise units still operating after a certain period, often five years. According to the latest data from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), about 85% of franchise units survive past the first year, compared to only 45% of independent businesses. In South Africa, research conducted by the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) in 2023 indicates that 77% of franchised brands have been franchising for more than ten years.

While these figures suggest that franchising offers a higher chance of survival, it’s essential to examine the factors that contribute to these numbers.

Factors Influencing Success

1. Brand Strength: A well-established brand with strong consumer recognition and loyalty can significantly impact a franchise’s success. Consumers are more likely to trust and frequent a familiar brand, giving franchisees a competitive edge.

2. Support and Training: Franchise systems often provide extensive training and ongoing support to franchisees, helping them navigate the challenges of running a business. This support can include marketing assistance, operational guidance, and access to proprietary systems.

3. Business Model: Franchises operate based on a proven business model, which reduces the risk associated with starting a new business from scratch. Franchisees benefit from a roadmap for success, including strategies for marketing, operations, and financial management.

4. Location: Location must be considered when determining a franchise’s success. Foot traffic, demographics, and competition can significantly impact a franchise’s performance.

5. Franchisee Experience and Skills: While prior business experience is beneficial, it is only sometimes a prerequisite for franchise ownership. Franchise systems often provide training to help franchisees succeed, regardless of their background.

Challenges in Franchising

Despite the potential for success, franchising comes with its challenges. Franchisees must adhere to strict guidelines set by the franchisor, limiting their flexibility in decision-making. Additionally, franchise fees and ongoing royalties can impact profitability.

Critical Considerations for Prospective Franchisees

1. Research: Thoroughly research the franchise opportunity, including the brand reputation, financial performance, and support provided by the franchisor.

2. Financial Planning: Understand the total investment required, including franchise fees, initial setup costs, and working capital. Develop a comprehensive business plan to ensure its financial viability and affordability for the franchisee.

3. Legal Assistance: Consult with a franchise attorney to review the franchise agreement and ensure you understand your franchisee rights and obligations.

4. Talk to Existing Franchisees: Speak with current franchisees to gain insights into their experiences and the franchisor’s level of support. The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) requires franchisors to present potential franchisees with a Disclosure Document that includes contact details for existing franchisees. 

5. Be Realistic: Understand that success in franchising, like any business venture, requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to adapt to changing market conditions.


While franchising offers a higher likelihood of success than independent businesses, it is not guaranteed. Success depends on various factors, including the strength of the brand, the support provided by the franchisor, and the commitment of the franchisee. Prospective franchisees can increase their chances of building a successful franchise business by carefully evaluating these factors and making informed decisions.

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