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What to Expect in Your First Year Owning a Franchise

What to Expect in Your First Year Owning a Franchise

Prepare for what you can expect during your first year owning a franchise. 

As with any new endeavor, it’s important to have realistic expectations when opening a franchise business. Although exhilarating, the first year is often the most difficult. From settling into processes to hiring and training staff and building a customer base, it’s a lot to manage. While franchisors strive to adequately prepare new franchisees to achieve success there is still a degree of the unknown. Every franchisee encounters different challenges, and you will be learning as you go. Get a head start by preparing yourself for what to expect in your first year of owning a franchise.  

You Will be Busy

Don’t expect a lot of free time. If there is one guarantee, it’s that you’ll start off busy. When opening a franchise, many franchisees relish the idea of no longer being tied to the traditional 9-to-5 schedule of corporate life. However, when you own a franchise, your workday doesn’t have a clear beginning or end, especially in the first year. Prepare for long days and stressful nights as you find your groove. Owning a franchise requires a significant amount of preparation and adjustment, and as the business owner you may not always get to clock out at closing time. While you may have wanted to open a franchise to be your own boss, that means more, not less, responsibility. Overseeing it all means there are no set hours for you, at least not until things begin to run more smoothly and your day-to-day becomes more routine. 

Finding Customers Takes Time 

When you open a franchise as opposed to starting your own business, you get established brand equity in the franchise name along with a proven business model, system of operation, training, and support. However, you still need to find and build your customer base. Marketing to the right target audience is crucial, especially if the franchise brand isn’t well known in your area. Look into affordable ways to get your name out there and look to both fellow franchisees within your network and competitors to build a strategy that works for you and your new business. 

Roller Coaster of Emotion

Regardless of what industry you enter and what franchise brand you choose to partner with, there will be good days and bad days. The important thing to keep in mind is that the road to success isn’t linear. Every business has its ups and downs, but this may be the first time you’re experiencing them firsthand. One benefit of owning a franchise is having the experience and support of an established brand behind you. You can always lean on your franchisor for advice if you need assistance, but perseverance is key. Opening a franchise business can be a rewarding experience, making the struggles you may encounter initially worth it in the long run. 

Be Financially Prepared 

When opening a franchise business, it’s easy to focus on only labor and overhead costs. But you need to consider—and allow for—costs that may not be a part of your daily operations but vital to your business. Hiring an accountant early on will help keep your finances straight and your paperwork in order. Also, keep in mind that most of your earnings in the first year will go towards covering expenses or be reinvested in the business. Talk to your franchisor and fellow franchisees to get an idea of how long it may take to become profitable and plan accordingly. 

Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

While it’s true that a stroke of unexpected luck can give a business a boost, the real key to growth and longevity when opening a franchise business is simply hard work. There is no magic solution to make your franchise successful. It requires a significant amount of time and effort, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Be careful not to look at long-established fellow franchisees as a benchmark for comparison in your first year. Those franchise owners most likely experienced many highs and lows to get where they are now. Study successful franchises and talk to other owners in the network for pointers on ironing out processes and strategy and even draw inspiration, but do not use them as a basis for comparison.  No one takes the same path and you need to be patient with yourself as you seek your own finish line. 

Whether you are a new franchisee about to open your doors for business or still researching to find the perfect franchise to invest in, keep these things to expect in your first year of owning a franchise in mind. Opening a franchise business comes with many advantages, thanks to the nature of the business model itself, but anticipating smooth sailing from day one is not realistic. The old adage, “Expect the unexpected” could not be truer when it comes to owning your own business. Your best defense is to expect problems to arise occasionally and be proactive in avoiding them.



2023 Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 Top Rated for Veterans badge

We Proudly Support Our Veterans

Participating partners with the VetFran program, The UPS Store offers qualifying veterans $15,000 off their franchise fee to start their new business. To learn more, contact The UPS Store Franchise Development Team.

Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 Ranked #4 in 2023 badge

Ranked for over 30 Consecutive Years

The UPS Store has been ranked #1 in the postal and business services category for over 30 years and remains in the top 5 overall for the seventh consecutive year according to the Franchise 500 list.

Kristin Howard

Franchisee, Michigan

The reason my husband and I decided to go into franchising and specifically with The UPS Store, is the different opportunities we're given with the business. The UPS Store has name recognition as well as opportunities to expand.

Debbie Adams

Franchisee, Kentucky

What I enjoy most about being a The UPS Store owner is working with my customers. We are the solution specialists for our customers.

Jim George

Franchisee, Illinios

My favorite part about The UPS Store network is the camaraderie with other franchisees. Everybody loves to help everybody else. You’re really part of a family.

Greg Murray

Franchisee, Florida

The interesting thing about The UPS Store is that when a customer walks through the door there's an extremely high probability that they're coming there to do something that is important to them. So at the end of the day, what we do for customers is very important and they are trusting that we are going to do it well.

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Mariana Huberman

Franchisee, Washington, D.C.

One of the things that I love about The UPS Store franchise system is that you're not ever in this by yourself. The franchisees of The UPS Store network are great.

Heidi Morris

Franchisee, Colorado

The thing I enjoy most about being a The UPS Store franchisee is I get to get up, go to work and know that I'm helping other business owners succeed in what they're doing.

Bob Brown

Franchisee, Tennessee

Owning a The UPS Store franchise has changed my life because it's finally given me the opportunity to engage my customers and my staff and be able to take real pride in what I do. As a franchisee, we get faced with solving peoples' problems every day and we do everything we possibly can to try to help.

Marie Jensen

Franchisee, Oregon

My favorite thing about The UPS Store is the variety. I love the variety of customers, I love the variety of services; getting to know the customers, meeting their needs, finding out how we can help them accomplish what they need to accomplish and seeing how happy they are. That makes me ecstatic.

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Tad Mollnhauer

Franchisee, Florida

With the products and services that The UPS Store provides we can make a difference in people's lives and that is the best reason for being a The UPS Store owner.

Joy Batchelor

Franchisee, Idaho

What makes being a The UPS Store franchisee worthwhile at the end of the day is the customers. The customers treat us like we're family.

Paul Erchinger

Franchisee, Texas

One nice benefit of owning a The UPS Store franchise for me has been that it gives me the opportunity to be more involved in the community. As I make relationships with others it seems like no matter what the environment is, in one way or another business comes out of that and that's not my objective—it's been a secondary benefit to being involved in the community.

Chris Reminder

Franchisee, Ohio

There are several things that I really enjoy about being a The UPS Store franchisee. First and foremost it allows me to get to know the people in the local community and that is a lot of fun. We get to see people on a regular basis. We get to know their life stories. That's a lot of fun.

Bruce Jones

Franchisee, Kentucky

Since we have joined The UPS Store, our life has changed by just having more time to spend together as a family. We've been very fortunate with the stores that we have and we have a great staff that looks out for our best interest and we look out for theirs.

Lonnie Williams

Franchisee, Oklahoma

What makes The UPS Store so successful is it gives each individual an opportunity to grow with the network and just meet the challenges that are brought to them on a daily basis. Every day gives us a new opportunity to help another person, to help another small business, to answer a question and to solve a problem.

Jeff Graham

Franchisee, Alabama

I love my customers. I love my employees. I love every person, every face that comes into my store. I enjoy every day going into work and I can't see doing anything else for the rest of my life.

Stacie Stigar

Franchisee, Alaska

I think that this franchise is so successful because of all of the resources that are available to us as center owners—we have marketing materials, we have so many different opportunities for help from the home office, and it just really makes for a great franchise.

Don Pollard

Franchisee, New Jersey

I think the thing that makes this franchise successful is a number of things. First of all we have an outstanding system, we have a great product, a great brand, and we're able to attract dynamic people to run these centers and run the business. So I think when you put all that together it really provides for a winning combination.

Mary Ellen Nichols

Franchisee, Tennessee

The thing I love about the franchise is that you have the UPS name backing you but yet you also have the autonomy to make your own decisions to promote.

Laura Griffin

Franchisee, Florida

In the eight short months I've owned my The UPS Store it has really changed my life. I've gone from being an employee of someone else to being an employer of my associates. It's a big responsibility but it's exciting every day.

Sandy Scandrett

Franchisee, Wisconsin

Being a The UPS Store franchisee has improved every aspect of my life. It's very rewarding financially, professionally, and emotionally. I have a large number of regular customers who are really, really appreciative of everything we do.

Kristie Robison

Franchisee, Alabama

I would say owning a The UPS Store location has changed my life to where I have more time and flexibility. In owning your own business you get your store up and running and you get employees that you can trust that are going to help keep your store running. This allows me to attend my two boys' ball games and also travel and do things with them so it has really changed my life for the better.