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Tips for Running a Family-Owned Franchise Business

Tips for Running a Family-Owned Franchise Business

Opening a franchise business with family can be rewarding yet challenging. Follow these 6 tips for a successful experience.

Working together to grow a family-owned franchise business that can be passed on to future generations can be an exciting and rewarding experience. There are many advantages of running a business with family including access to human capital in the form of talented family members with a vested interest in the success of the business. Shared values and familiarity with coworkers can make pulling together to achieve a common goal come more naturally. However, balancing a business within the family dynamic can have its challenges. Depending on how it is managed, it can be a blessing or a curse. If you’re considering opening a franchise business with family, keep these tips in mind.

Put Everything in Writing

Document every contract or agreement in writing. Oftentimes family members are naturally drawn into the business without a formal plan for what they will get out of the endeavor. Relying strictly on verbal agreements or figuring things out as you go creates the potential for conflict. To avoid hard feelings or misunderstandings, put everything in writing.

Clearly outline what can be expected in terms of duties, job descriptions, operating procedures, ownership shares, compensation, benefits, perks (if applicable) and other matters associated with being involved in the business. Disagreements are bound to happen but having everything spelled out in writing will help settle disputes.

It’s also important to draft a succession plan that specifies when and how the business will be transitioned to the next generation when the founder dies or chooses to retire. The plan should provide financially for survivors to take over ownership, establish a timeline for training new management and outline what role (if any) the founder will continue to play. Seek professional advice outside the family, from an attorney and accountant, to ensure a smooth hand-off to the younger generation.

Define Criteria for Employment

Avoid the trap of providing a “sympathy job” for family members in your franchise business by defining the criteria for employment. Just like any other job, employment should be based on the benefits each employee brings to the business. Outline requirements such as prior experience, desired skills and education or technical proficiency.

Management plans help assess competencies and evaluate the skill level of your management team. Train managers to maintain employee accountability to improve performance and minimize perceptions of favoritism to family members. Once management plans have been created, allow each partner to lean into their skill set. Assign responsibilities based on areas of expertise.

Clarify Roles and Responsibilities

After considering talents and strengths to find the best fit, clarify the roles and responsibilities of each family member. While multiple people may be qualified for similar tasks, define how duties will be allocated and draft job descriptions for each position to avoid conflicts. Also, remind family members of the vision and mission of the business. This sense of shared purpose will provide motivation for everyone to work together to achieve a common goal and help overcome differences.

Treat Family and Non-Family Members Fairly

Maintain the balance between family and business. Strive to keep the two separate and do not allow issues within the family to impact business decisions.

Avoid showing favoritism to family members over other employees. Treat everyone fairly. Work schedules, pay scales, promotions, praise and criticism should be handled the same way for family and non-family employees. Be careful not to overcompensate by setting standards higher for family members than for others.

Focus on Communication

Open communication is critical in any business, but especially in a family-owned entity. Do not assume that family members understand one another so well that it is not important to communicate expectations. It can be difficult to disagree with family members or confront them about issues; however, avoiding the situation can cause long-term difficulties. Consider holding meetings regularly to assess progress, discuss differences of opinion and resolve disputes.

Although clear communication is essential, it is important to set boundaries. Talking shop 24/7 and mixing business with personal life can be tiring. Limit business discussions outside of work, or at the very least save them for an appropriate time.

Embrace Differing Perspectives Across Generations

Establish a policy for how decisions will be made and listen to all generations. Younger family members will likely have a different point of view than older family members. More perspectives considered will result in a more informed decision. Fresh ideas and creative thinking can become stifled by the narrow scope of family. Seeking occasional guidance from impartial outside advisors can provide a broadened viewpoint and help with incorporating new ideas into your franchise business.

Running a business with family can add an extra layer of difficulty. But a successful family-owned business can provide an invaluable opportunity for young family members to gain work experience and create a legacy to pass down from one generation to the next. If you’re considering opening a franchise with family, take the extra steps outlined above to strike the right balance between personal and professional life.

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.