All franchise companies are required to publish how much the total investment will be and you can find this information in Item 7, “Your Total Investment,” located in the Franchise Disclosure Document.
You will see a range of low and high amounts for the franchise investment and the costs may vary due to real estate, tenant improvements and other variable costs.
We recommend that you plan for the higher investment amount indicated in the FDD. If you have a credit score of 680 or higher, you can qualify for an SBA 7A Express loan. This loan will allow you to borrow up to $150K in unsecured capital. The liquid capital that you will need to inject will be 10% of the $150K, which is $15K. If you need over $150K, the bank will require that you collateralize the loan with an asset such as real estate. You will also need to personally guarantee the loan, indicating that you will pay the amount back whether you succeed or fail in the business. This loan process typically takes under 5 weeks, if it is a home-based business. And loans for retail locations take longer, as you will need an executed lease agreement before the loan can be submitted.
If you don’t want to use an SBA loan to fund your business, you can use your 401K and rollover your retirement capital to fund your franchise without any tax penalties. We work with several reputable companies and a rollover typically takes less than 4 weeks. A credit score is not necessary for this funding vehicle.
The least expensive way to fund a franchise would be a home equity line of credit; the rates are very reasonably priced and may be an viable option to consider.
Once your business is established, you may want to consider a business line of credit. Most banks, including the larger institutions don’t typically lend on a startup business.
There are several options to consider when funding a franchise. We analyze all the costs with each client and compare what will be the best and least expensive funding solution using minimal liquid capital.
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Sue Bennett is the Co-Founder of FranFinders, a franchise consultancy and funding group.
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