It’s a great client question: What in fact is the difference between a franchising loan and a regular business loan when it comes to arranging franchise finance in Canada?
The answer? There are some differences, but you just might be surprised at the similarities when it comes to comparing the two. Let’s explain.
When it comes to the ‘ players ‘ in your finance loan, it’s pretty simple. Contributions are required from you, and your lender / lenders! In Canada those lenders are specialized franchise financing firms, banks, and third party commercial finance companies. While it is extremely difficult in Canada to obtain full financing for your franchise via a Canadian chartered bank the good news is that thousands of franchises are financed via the Government Small Business Loan which can provide funding up to $ $350,000. That’s not chump change! . And when you hear what rates and terms and structures are required you’ll be even more pleasantly surprised.
Clearly franchising fits into the area of the SME sector of Canada, and for that reason a lot of the challenges that the franchisee faces revolve around the same issues faced by any other start up. Yes , we agree that you’re acquiring ( hopefully ) a proven business model but the early stage financing required to get you to a turnkey ‘ in business ‘ stage is still viewed as placing a heavy onus on the entrepreneur to come up with a decent portion of the capital yourself .
Franchising, as well as any other type of business requires two key components for initial capital… a ‘ plan ‘ and ‘management expertise “. And that plan by the way is known as the ‘ business plan ‘ – which is simply your well thought out road map to financial and operational success.
The type of financing that you obtain when you finance a franchise revolves specifically around ‘ use of funds ‘, another common term for any other business financing. In your case that might be real estate, construction, equipment and fixtures, leaseholds, and some opening inventory if you have a product as opposed to a service franchise.
We mentioned the Govt business loan previously as a great conduit to get you approved for your new business. But we point to out clients that that loan program only covers equipment and leaseholds, so items such as the franchisee fee and opening inventory are not financeable. We wish they were… but they’re not!
We have referenced the fact that while Canadian banks provide millions every year for entrepreneurs in the franchise sector via the specialized BIL loan, they in general are reluctant to finance the business outside the Govt program. So discussions around bank financing quickly gravitate to personal collateral, home equity collateralization, etc. It’s simply not the optimal way to go if you want to separate your business life from your personal life.
Another strong similarity in franchise finance when compared to other business financing is the fact that a strong emphasis is placed on your personal financial history. This is typically documented by your credit report and a solid amount of emphasis is placed on this report. In Canada this report is in effect a scoring system and a good score of ‘ 650’ is required.
Simply speaking, the bank or any other commercial lender wants to know you will run your own business in the same manner as you have arranged and run your personal finances, and that of course makes sense – especially if you’re the lender!
So as we have seen many of the concepts and lender views around any business finance loan or proposal pertain to franchise finance, with some nuances / differences. Seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor for franchise finance assistance.