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Having the right physical spot for your Canadian franchise business is a vital part of your success. With a business that does not rely on vehicle or foot traffic, you're free to look for the least expensive site or may even be able to run it out of your house. If, however, your business needs a steady supply of traffic, you'll have to do some research to find the ideal geographic location.
The franchisor's process
Each franchise has its own process when it comes to site selection for a new location. You should go over the selection process for the franchise you're considering to ensure you're comfortable with their method. Some brands are directly involved in the process and will help you along the entire way, while others provide criteria that your location should meet but leave the hunting up to you. A franchisor may have a real estate broker that they use to help franchisees find locations, but if yours doesn't, consider speaking to a broker anyway. He or she can offer insight about locations and areas you won't be able to find using Google.
What you can do
Contact local transportation and police departments, the chamber of commerce and city engineers to get valuable stats such as traffic counts, demographics, pedestrian traffic and areas that are currently being re-developed. Your franchisor may be able to provide some of this data if the brand is very involved in your site selection.
Ask your franchisor for a list of current brand locations that are open or under development in your area and find out where your competitors are. Plot all these locations out on a map to identify any openings. Take a look at the most successful formats in your franchisor's system - traditional, mobile or non-traditional - and see if you are able to find a spot for that prosperous format in your area.
Drive through the areas you are evaluating to see if your target customers are in that area. If, for example, your franchise is aimed at children, having playgrounds and schools nearby is an advantage. Take the time to observe the areas around potential location spots, too. If you see businesses already targeting the same type of customer you're after, chat with those owners about their clientele. When it comes to area visiting, plan to visit these sites at different days and at different times so you have a clearer idea of the local traffic.
Location can be crucial to the health of a business, so invest the time needed to ensure your spot is ideal. If you're having trouble finding the right location, speak to your franchisor for assistance.