by Bruce Silver
While attending the 2012 Franchise Expo South at the Miami Convention Center, I was amazed to see all the new and exciting franchise opportunities that were present this year. Every aisle featured a wide array of franchise enterprises offering almost every category of business and consumer products and services. The Expo represented a who’s who of the franchise industry.
Exhibitors included well known veteran operators like Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream and Sign-A-Rama, as well as two new entrants from Palm Beach County, FL. The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company and Hurricane Grill and Wings, were rolling out fresh new restaurant concepts with delicious and original menu items that are sure to please the entire family.
A variety of personal service concepts were on hand, from accounting and financial services to health care, home care, and personal security, to beauty services and spas. There was one common theme throughout—the franchise industry was alive and well despite a weak economy and tight credit environment.
The advantages that successful franchise systems offer are numerous. First time business owners acquire a franchise system’s time-tested formula. Individuals willing to invest their time and money can purchase a recognized brand within a protected territory from an organization that provides training, marketing support, and a proven business model.
There is no shortage of potential franchise business owners either. The economic downturn and high unemployment has created a large pool of potential entrepreneurs yearning to operate their own business. Thousands of returning American Veterans can take advantage of special financing and training programs from over 400 franchise systems who participate in the International Franchise Association’s VetFran (www.vetfran.org) program.
Leading franchisors help entrepreneurial servicemen and women, and inexperienced business owners to hit the ground running by offering a “turn-key” operation. The franchise team supplies all the required expertise, guidance and support, beginning with site selection through vendor relations, making certain that every new franchisee is generating revenue from day one.
Most franchise systems help franchise owners get up and running. They provide the model and the franchisee operates the business. However, many franchised business models can’t operate without employees, and many owners have never recruited, trained or managed a workforce before. Fortunately, small business owners can turn to HR outsourcing companies, called professional employer organizations, which can pick-up where the franchise system leaves off. PEOs or staff-leasing firms assume many of the employment responsibilities that franchise owners must contend with.
The majority of new franchise operators are unaware of the myriad of Federal and State laws imposed on small businesses today. Failure to comply with labor and wage and hour rules, submitting timely payroll reports and tax payments can result in severe penalties and fines. Defending your firm against a wrongful termination, independent contractor dispute, or sexual harassment can lead to expensive litigation, and have a catastrophic effect on your bottom line. All too often, a business owner hires a ‘bad apple’ whose behavior causes accidents, costly claims, and disrupts your ability to maintain an engaged and productive workforce.
Just as a successful franchise system provides a “One Stop” solution for operating a business, employee leasing and PEO companies are the answer to managing franchise employees. They are true HR companies providing comprehensive human resource services to employers under a co-employment agreement. Franchise owners operate the business, while the HRO or PEO acts as the administrative employer of record. Employment-related reporting, HR compliance, payroll administration, workers compensation and workplace safety are handled by an experienced staff of HR and payroll professionals. Highly trained safety engineers and risk managers are assigned to examine and evaluate any worksite for potential hazards.
Another advantage employee leasing and professional employer organizations share with the franchise industry is that they both achieve economic efficiencies by bringing together large numbers of subscribers. By serving thousands of small business owners, many PEOs offer franchise operators a wide range of discounted insurance programs, employee benefit plans, and workers’ compensation coverage at significant savings to small business group rates. Franchisees gain a high level of HR and safety expertise, valuable employee benefit and incentive programs, and the latest HRIS technology at one low cost. Outsourcing your tedious and non-productive employee administration responsibilities to a comprehensive HR company is a win-win for the franchise owner and franchise employee alike.
Bruce Silver is the founder and managing member of Employers Rx LLC, an employee management consulting firm that specializes in the HRO and PEO industry. A nationwide consulting firm, whose focus is helping businesses compare, select, and form successful HR Outsourcing or Professional Employer Organization relationships. We assist firms and SME’s with 5 to 500 employees to become more profitable by outsourcing their non-productive employee management functions, saving busy executives and business owners both time and money. Bruce is a regular guest blogger on PEO.com, you can find additional information about Bruce at http://www.employers-RX.com