3 Tips for Real Estate Site Selection for Franchises
The phrase most people hear when discussing real estate for their business is “location, location, location.” However, there are many factors a franchisee or franchisor must consider ahead of the site selection process.
Demographics. The first factor to consider is demographics – not just the demographics of your customers, but also the demographics of your community and potential workforce. When it comes to your target customer, ask yourself, Who is my target demographic? Put yourself in their shoes. Where in the area do they live? Where do they spend their time? It is essential to know your target audience and their habits, interests, and dislikes. If your target audience is a mom, look into available real estate near local schools. If your audience is healthy eaters, identify local gyms.
Outside of your customers, think about the demographics of the surrounding community. Does a high percentage match your customer profile? Is it a highly involved community, and is their economy dependent on one industry? These are a few elements to consider that could affect your future business in a given location.
Workforce. Next, be sure to consider your potential workforce. What skills will be needed to work at your business? Are there likely to be people with these skills in the area? Also, consider housing, culture and schooling opportunities for your workforce and their families.
Pro tip: Use market research. The data from these types of surveys will prove invaluable for a franchisor or franchisee exploring site selection and the best locations within a region for their business.
Mission and purpose. Second, don’t forget what your business is set out to do. Most franchises, and businesses in general, are offering a solution to their customer. Be sure to pick a location that provides a frictionless experience to the client. For example, a shopping center with a grocery store or department store is an excellent anchor point for customers. However, if your customer might need to cut across a busy street or median to get to your location, perhaps you should look into other areas. Significant things to consider are parking, accessibility, and the other tenants in the area. Do these things offer your customer an easy, no-hassle experience when they come to your location?
Corporate support. Third, lean on your franchisor’s corporate support team. Part of the beauty of working alongside a franchisor, rather than opening your own business from scratch, is the expertise and the team the lend you. Major franchise players will offer experienced real estate and development teams to assist you from start to finish. They will see you through site selection, lease and rent negotiations, construction, and the grand opening. Having professionals guide you through this process ensures that you get the best deal, choose the best location, and are geared up for success once you open.
Chris DeJong is the founder and president of Big Blue Swim School.
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