As a business owner or franchisee, choosing the right franchise location is one of the most important business decisions you will make.

Whether you manage one franchising business or are a new franchisee, the perfect location improves visibility, regular traffic, and the opportunity to quickly expand and grow.

Alternatively, a poor franchise site selection leads to low visibility, and low traffic, and could be the reason you shut your doors before you ever get off the ground.

We want to make sure that doesn’t happen for you, so in this article, we’ll help you figure out how to choose the right franchise location for your business so you can enjoy all the benefits of franchising.

What is a Franchise Location?

Your franchise location is the physical building where potential or returning customers directly interact with your business and engage with your services.

Your franchise location is also the public face of your business.

When people drive by, they see your sign and logo and they look at the building, the neighborhood, and the parking lot to get a feel for the credibility and safety you provide.

So it is crucial that your site selection positions you in a strong light.

You’ve witnessed this first hand if you’ve ever pulled up to a business and had a gut feeling that you were in a shifty part of town and should probably keep your car doors locked.

A great franchise location not only puts customers at ease but helps instill in them the confidence to buy your products and services and to return for more.

4 Tips for Picking a Franchise Location

Location is important. But how do you find the perfect location? How do you even know what to look for? We’ve got a few tips to help you out.

1. Start With Your Customer

Who is your potential customer? Who do you want to attract to your business? It helps to know their age, income level, and how they think about and make purchase decisions.

If your services target higher-income demographics, then a downtown location on a sketchy side street probably isn’t ideal.

On the other hand, if your target customer is young and adventurous, a trip downtown to a hole-in-the-wall dive could be exactly the right vibe.

Your franchise location plays an important role not only in the customer’s general perception of your franchise business but in your branding.

So keep the customer in mind as you start to think about locations. Always ask yourself, “If I were the customer, how would I feel about this place?”

2. Visit Multiple Locations Multiple Times

When you start to look for franchise locations, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of the journey. Unfortunately, that excitement can lead to overlooking key details.

  • Is the building up to code?
  • Does it have enough space to accommodate your business needs?
  • How many people can the building hold at one time?
  • Is it accessible?
  • Are there plenty of egress routes?
  • Will you need to do any construction or tear-downs?
  • Will you need zoning permits?

These are all important considerations. They’re also questions that can go overlooked while imagining your future franchise business in that space.

To avoid this challenge, it is worth it to visit several potential locations multiple times. Each time you return, you’ll notice more than you did during the previous visit.

After several visits, you’ll have many questions, and you’ll also have a good idea about which location is probably best compared with others.

3. Look Beyond the Building

The physical building for your franchise location is particularly important. However, what’s beyond the building is just as important as what’s inside.

Start by considering the surrounding area.

  • How easy is it to find your location?
  • Will GPS systems bring people to your door or just “close”?
  • How many people drive by the location each day?
  • How easy is it for those people to quickly stop in?

What does it look like if you’re located in a residential area or on a side street?

  • Is the area clean and modernized?
  • Do the surroundings look run down?
  • Are the buildings and streets well-lit?

Parking is also a major consideration here. If people can find you, but can’t find a place to park, they may get frustrated and give up.

Does the location have its own parking lot? If not, are there designated places for your patrons to park? If not, is there a parking garage nearby, and is it safe?

4. Let Your Intuition Guide You

The three previous tips give you plenty to chew on, so as a final tip, we suggest you let your intuition serve as your guide.

When you first saw the location you’re considering, how did it make you feel?

What was your first impression?

Did you cringe a little? Did it put a big smile on your face?

Was your first thought, “This is the one!”

Or was it something more akin to, “I hope we don’t get robbed!”

Human intuition is designed to help us interpret signals from the world around us to keep us safe, happy, and healthy.

If you get a strong negative vibe about a place, that’s something to listen to.

When your gut tells you something’s off, or makes you feel like a franchise location just isn’t a good idea…your customers are likely to feel the same way.

How to Analyze the Market

Now that we’ve discussed general tips, let’s dive deeper into some other particularly important factors in choosing a franchise location.

Getting to know your customer is priceless franchise information, but how do you analyze the market? Where do you even start?

Market analysis can mean many things when it comes to different franchises; however, it is generally a good idea to consider the number of similar businesses in your location, and how close in proximity they are to your potential franchise location.

Just because similar businesses exist around you doesn’t mean you can’t launch a successful franchise, by the way.

It could indicate high interest in the kind of services you offer. That could mean there is more than enough business for everyone.

What’s more important is how well your competition is positioned and whether or not customers are likely to choose their location over yours.

Be mindful of the following as you analyze your market:

  • How many competitors exist in the area?
  • Where are they located?
  • Is your location superior to theirs? If so, how?
  • How can you capture more market share in that location?

Ask around in local Facebook or NextDoor groups to find out where consumers shop right now, and what they like/dislike about that business’s location.

Then try to improve on that.

Scoping Out Competitors

While you’re analyzing the market and thinking about competitor locations, you may want to swing by their facilities.

Ask yourself some of the same questions you ask about your own franchise location.

  • How do competitor locations feel? Safe? Sketchy?
  • How is their parking situation?
  • How easy is it to find them?
  • Are they in a high-traffic area, and is there room for competition there?
  • What are the pros and cons of visiting their franchise location over yours?
  • What are the pros and cons of your franchise location over theirs?

Capturing market share when competitors already exist can be tricky.

You need to find value skews for your business. Those can come in many forms (i.e. better location, better marketing, better facilities, better services).

To provide “better” anything, you first need to know what your competitors offer.

Consider Your Franchise Budget

A final consideration is your budget. We’ve placed it last on the list, but it is very important in your consideration process.

If your budget is tight, investing in a state-of-the-art location may not be in the cards for you right now.

Even if it would give you an advantage over competitors, it could put you in a tough spot for business survival if the business takes more than a few months to turn a profit.

For this reason, we recommend finding balance.

At the start of your journey, it’s usually better to strike a balance between a franchise location that serves your customers well and won’t break the bank, rather than going “all-in” on a location that offers every bell and whistle.

Remember, the goal isn’t to have the most expensive franchise location.

The goal is profit.

Look for the best franchise location you can find WITHIN your budget, not beyond it.

Once you’re profitable and have evidence to support a bigger, more modernized investment, you can always upgrade at that time.

In other words, when your budget supports an upgrade is when you should consider more expensive options.

Summarizing the Benefits of a Great Franchise Location

A great franchise location provides high visibility in a high-traffic area, with easy access, and is affordable within your budget.

The top franchise locations pull your branding and image together while presenting you in the best possible light and while putting customers at ease, so they feel safe and confident in doing business with you.

It takes time to find a great franchise location. The effort and patience you put in are absolutely worth it because it could be the difference between a successful franchise and one that simply can’t support your operations or market.

If you’re just starting out, or if you want to invest in a franchise unit that already offers great locations, take a look at iCode Franchise.

iCode offers locations throughout the United States with a high probability of success.

Plus, iCode provides their franchisees with ongoing training, development, and support to help ensure they can open their doors and get profitable as quickly as possible.

Learn more about what an iCode Franchise can do for you.