Buying a Business

Buying a Franchise

Advantages of Franchising

There are many advantages to franchise ownership for new and seasoned business owners.  A franchise can help take away some of the uncertainty in a new business venture.  Four advantages to buying a franchise include:

Assessing the Franchise

Not all franchise opportunities are good ones. It is important to assess the franchise across a variety of factors to determine if it is the best fit for your skills, experience, and investment dollars.

Good standing with Canadian Franchise Association

The Canadian Franchise Association is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in franchising in Canada. Guided by in-depth industry and legislative expertise, the organization and members adhere to a strict code of ethics dedicated to ethical franchising.

Performance across franchise locations

Franchise performance can vary greatly across locations due to a variety of factors. When assessing a franchise, examine the performance of a variety of locations. Review franchise performance in locations that have similar demographics to the location you are interested in.

Initial and ongoing franchise fees

Initial and ongoing franchise fees vary across industries. The initial franchise fee is a one-time fee required to become a part of the franchise. Ongoing franchise fees include royalties, marketing fees, and required purchases of products and services. Fees should be fair and reasonable. Franchisors should be able to objectively outline the value franchisees receive in exchange for these fees.

Head office support

Head office support for franchisees can vary considerably across franchises. Prospective owners should review what supports are available initially and on-going. At minimum, head office should offer a comprehensive training and onboarding program, documentation on company- wide policies and procedures, and buying power.

Brand development plans

In today’s ever changing marketplace, ongoing research and development are more important than ever. Prospective franchisees should look for franchisors that are investing in ways to Improve the business formula, Increase customer attraction and retention, and Maximize profits.

Factors to consider

Initial and ongoing costs

In addition to franchise fees, there may be additional initial costs such as a lease, renovations, equipment, and supplies. Ongoing costs include payroll, lease payments, insurance, maintenance, utilities, supplies, equipment, and products.


Labour is one of the largest expenses for many franchises. It is important to understand all the costs associated with labour including wages, benefits, recruiting, onboarding, and replacing staff members.

Franchisee failure rates

Be sure to review failed franchises alongside thriving ones and find out why certain franchise locations did not succeed.

Current market trends

A successful concept from two decades ago may not be compatible with current and emerging consumer trends. A review of franchise-wide performance over the past few years, development plans, and projected franchise performance within the next few years can yield good information on how well the model is expected to perform within current and anticipated market trends.

Challenges of running a franchise

Employee Retention

Recruiting and onboarding new employees is a time consuming and expensive process for all franchises. Effort invested into retaining high-quality employees is less costly. Low to no cost employee retention strategies include flexible schedules, ongoing training and growth opportunities, and effective performance management tools.


High employee turnover, number of employees, legislative and reporting requirements must all be taken into account when selecting the most efficient payroll service.


Some franchise concepts may have limited opportunities to improve profitability due to tight margins and a lack of franchisee flexibility. If there are minimal opportunities to increase profitability, franchises may suffer when other costs rise such as lease rates, price of goods and services, and wages.


Innovation is the cornerstone of many successful businesses and franchises need to stay competitive. Franchise head offices should be working to ensure timely adoption of things like more efficient processes, loyalty programs, or online and app ordering since individual franchise owners may have limitations on adopting such strategies.

Setup your franchise for success

Franchiser earning projections

Review the franchisor earnings projections to help assess the franchise’s past revenue history. Earnings projections do not represent a guarantee. Reviewing projections in conjunction with other data such as market trends, industry specific influences, as well as the prospective buyer’s financial resources and business acumen can help inform a purchase decision.

Understand roles and responsibilities of franchisee and franchisor

Knowing what is expected of a franchisee and what supports are available from a franchisor is critical for business efficiency and continuity. Having a firm understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all involved parties can help avoid duplication of services, save time

Specialized team of advisors

Franchisee success is a team effort. Having specialized advisors who understand the franchise model is critical to short- and long-term success. Specialized advisors include a lawyer, accountant, and qualified business broker.


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“After dedicating many years to my business, I knew it was finally time to retire and started the hunt for someone to help me sell my business.  I spoke with a couple of real estate agents but soon realized what I truly needed was a Business Broker.  Ken and I met and I was immediately drawn to his steady, quiet confidence.  I knew this was going to be an emotional journey for me and that I needed someone who would be no nonsense and realistic.

Ken laid out the plan and the expectations right away.  He was forthcoming and I knew I could trust what he was telling me.  During this process, I never felt that I was unimportant or too small of a business for Ken’s attention – he always displayed so much patience, even when hiccups arose.  He found me a great buyer who I know will take care of the business I worked so hard to build.  I was right – it was an emotional journey, however I would do it again provided I had Ken’s support and knowledge to guide me through.”

– Sandy A, Calgary

“When it came time to sell my business, it was Ken’s honest and realistic approach that really appealed to me.  He didn’t play games or make false promises – he was very straight forward about the timeline and what I could expect throughout the process.  In the end, he was right on target about both.  I appreciated knowing that Ken was taking care of details such as vetting potential buyers leaving me to focus on the business.  Overall, this was a positive experience and I would highly recommend Ken to others looking to put their exit strategy into action.”     

– P.J., Whitehorse YK

“I worked with Ken while purchasing a restaurant franchise.  This was my first business purchase and Ken’s assistance was invaluable as we worked through the process.  He stayed in touch with me throughout the entire deal and was always available when I had questions.  I found Ken extremely easy to work with and more importantly, easy to trust.  Ken’s business acumen is invaluable in dealing with business buy and sell transactions from both the sellers’ and buyers’ perspective.  He puts his clients’ interests first and consistently goes above and beyond without even being asked. The entire experience was very positive, so much so that I have kept in touch with Ken and am currently seeking new opportunities with his help.  Ken works hard for his clients and I would not hesitate to recommend Ken to other business owners.”

– S. Guo, Calgary

“It came time to sell our business and I was referred to Ken through a personal connection.  Throughout a complex transaction with multiple parties, Ken was a top level professional and consistently worked to ensure our interests were looked after.  From the first interaction with Acuity, I was immediately impressed with the professionalism and organization exhibited.  The processes in place, including Acuity’s comprehensive questionnaire, demonstrated that Ken was very purposeful about his action plan.  All of these steps led to a great experience during what could have been an otherwise stressful process.  We have already recommended him and will continue to do so.”

– D. Sabo

“With a number of corporate stores ready to be turned over to franchisees, we enlisted the help of Acuity Business Group to find the right franchise partners. Besides being an exceptionally good business broker, Ken Wither is also a very experienced business manager who has filled a vital role in helping Fatburger to achieve its objectives. His market knowledge, professionalism and diplomacy have been instrumental in the successful refranchising of several of our Alberta and British Columbia locations. Ken’s vetting process for prospective franchisees has been invaluable, allowing us to ensure we select the most compatible partners. It has been a true pleasure to work with Ken, I only wish I had met him sooner.”

– Frank Di Benedetto, Fatburger Canada
FDF Restaurant Brandz

“Working as a medical professional for a number of years, I began looking for an investment opportunity to suit my expertise.  I soon came across a home health care business opportunity listed with Acuity  Business Group.  I was initially concerned that Acuity would be working strictly for the seller’s best interest however quickly learned this was not the case at all. 

Throughout the process, Ken Wither ensured that  both the seller and I were aware of all aspects of the opportunity, both positive and negative.  He made himself available to both of us at anytime and was genuinely looking out for the best interest of both parties.  It was clear that Ken sincerely cares about his clients and wants to see success for all involved. This was the first business I have purchased, and at no time did I feel unwanted pressure or unease about the decisions that I was making.

Ken made the process easy and the transition with the seller was very smooth, thanks in a large part to his efforts. Ken Wither is an ideal example of how  brokers should work – he is an honest and genuine professional who works hard to provide his clients the best possible experience.”

– B.V., Calgary

“To sum it up, Ken Wither was amazing to work with.  While recently selling my retail shop, Ken supported me every step of the way.  The business sold much faster than I had expected and although we stumbled across a few challenges that were beyond our control, he was there to work through them with me.  Ken always made sure that I knew exactly what was happening, taking away any guesswork on my part. Ken also recommended a specialised business lawyer who was absolutely fantastic. He made what could have been a very overwhelming and stressful experience much easier.

 I’ve already passed along his information to another business owner and would have no hesitation referring him in the future.”

– Jaime Sanderson, Calgary

“Ken recently helped my partners and I purchase a restaurant.  Being first time buyers, the process seemed overwhelming but Ken did such a great job of explaining everything clearly.  He was very patient and helped us throughout the entire process.  When it was time, Ken was also able to recommend a lawyer that we were very happy with.  I would recommend him to others in a heartbeat.  If we ever decide to sell a business in the future, Ken will definitely be my first call.”

– N.D., Calgary

“I recently worked with Ken Wither to sell my established high-end landscaping business. A service-based business can be difficult to sell since there are not many tangible assets and the value is in the goodwill. Ken did an excellent job selling the business to the right Buyer. It was important to me that Ken really understood who my ideal Buyer was. He listened and secured a Buyer that was a good fit for the business. Throughout the process, he took my needs into consideration.

From start to finish, Ken was professional and fair. He was honest and easy to get along with. Ken was always quick to get back to me. I have been very impressed with his high level of service during this whole process. Even after the transaction was complete, Ken has been available for questions and to offer additional support.”

– A. Semco, Calgary

“Ken Wither recently helped me to sell my franchise business in Western Canada. Ken was very knowledgeable about the various components involved in selling a franchise business. The business sold sooner than I anticipated and for a price I thought was fair. Ken was professional in his interactions with myself and my team of advisors. I would recommend Ken to anyone hoping to sell their franchise business. In fact, I have already recommended him! ”

– D.W.

“I worked with Ken Wither to facilitate the sale of my auto repair business. Shortly after signing the listing papers, I was able to find a Buyer through my network of contacts. Once it was determined that the Buyer was qualified to purchase the business, Ken assisted during the due diligence process and helped with closing the deal. I found Ken to be reliable, organized, and professional throughout the process. I would use Ken again in the future and would recommend him to others. ”

– Mike Meghji

“I worked with Ken when I was buying an auto repair shop. Although Ken was the Seller’s Agent, he worked with me to help the transaction close successfully. Ken was very reliable and very easy to get in touch with. He was helpful throughout the process and even gave me some suggestions and advice as I took over the business. Overall, my experience working with Ken was very positive. I will be recommending Ken to friends and family who want to buy or sell a business. ”

– Nick Hu

“I found Ken’s website when I was looking online for someone to help me sell my publishing company. The first time I met with Ken, I felt at ease and knew that the sale of my business was in very capable hands. From start to finish, Ken’s skills, style, and expertise helped the process to be relaxed and relatively stress-free. His expertise helped take the uncertainty out of the process.

Ken was extremely professional in all his communications and interactions with myself and every other individual involved in the sale of the business. Ken was diligent at all times and this helped the process to move forward. One thing that I truly appreciated about working with Ken was that he did an excellent job screening the potential buyers so that my time was never wasted by someone who was just kicking tires or who wasn’t in a financial position to purchase the business. I would definitely use Ken’s services again in the future and I highly recommend him to anyone who wants to sell their business. “

– Mike Hunter

“I worked with Ken Wither and Acuity Business Group to sell my Bakery. The business sold in 4 months! From start to finish, I was very impressed with Ken’s level of professionalism. Ken was very knowledgeable. He knew what questions to ask and when to ask them. Ken excelled at passing information between all the involved parties to help the transaction proceed as smoothly as possible. Ken handled more details of the purchase than was required and I really appreciated that extra attention and effort. I would use Ken and Acuity Business Group in the future. I have already recommended Ken to others!” 

– Jan Petrasek

“I recently worked with Ken Wither when purchasing a business in British Columbia.  My experience with Ken was exceptional.  Ken was very reliable and easy to get in touch with via email and phone calls.  As a first-time Buyer, I appreciated Ken’s in-depth knowledge of the purchase process.  Most impressive was Ken’s hands-on coaching. Prior to a meeting with the Landlord, Ken helped me put together a strategy to keep the meeting on track and provided me with a detailed checklist. This one on one coaching left me feeling very empowered. I would definitely recommend Ken’s services.  He has set the bar high for all other Business Brokers!” 

– Sandra Manning

“I recently worked with Ken Wither to purchase a Vancouver-based meat shop.  Two words that best describe Ken are thorough and professional.  His guidance throughout the process was extremely helpful.  Ken is knowledgeable.  He is extremely organized.  I would absolutely use Ken again in the future and I highly recommend his services to anyone who is considering buying a business.” 

– Nathan Manning

I worked with Ken Wither and Acuity Business Group when purchasing a pet supply business in the greater Calgary area.  Although Ken was representing the Seller, he was very fair to both parties involved in the transaction.  Ken made sure to take care of my needs, too.  Ken was professional and respectful.  He was very prompt in answering my questions and following up with me.  I would use Ken again in the future and recommend him to anyone who is buying or selling a business.

– M. Choudhry, Owner of Global Pet Foods Airdrie

I worked with Ken Wither when I was buying a fitness franchise in Calgary.  Ken was acting as the Seller’s Agent but I found that he was an excellent resource for me, too.  Ken was very organized, knowledgeable, and helpful. He maintained regular contact with me throughout the process and clearly explained what was happening and what the next steps were. After the transaction was completed, Ken took the time to follow up with me and offer some business advice that I could put into practice.  I would use Ken’s services again in the future and I would definitely recommend him to others.

– Isaac Obodo

“I worked with Ken Wither when I was selling my fitness franchise business.  It was an extremely time sensitive transaction. Ken kept the entire process moving as smoothly as possible. I found Ken to be reliable, diligent, and organized.  He was knowledgeable, professional, friendly, and a pleasure to work with. I would definitely work with Ken in the future and I would recommend him to others.  In fact, I have already recommended his services!”

– Kathy Vooys

“I was referred to Ken Wither via a real estate agency when I was looking for assistance in selling my hair salon business. During my first meeting with Ken, he was upfront and informative. Ken outlined the steps that he would take to sell my business. I decided during that first meeting to move forward and work with Ken. Throughout the process, Ken was extremely helpful, reliable, and professional. He was excellent at following up with me regularly. This helped to take much of the worry out of the process. From beginning to end, Ken was diligent and organized. I would highly recommend Ken’s services to any business owners who want to sell their business.”

– Brian Redgwell

“I recently bought a hair salon business and worked with Ken Wither during the buying process. I found Ken to be very professional. During the purchase process, he was diligent and organized. We worked very well together. I would definitely use Ken’s services again and highly recommend him to anyone who is buying or selling a business.”

– Petar Senek

“We used Ken Wither from Acuity Business Group to sell our business. Our situation was unique since the sale involved an established business, a residential property, and an additional commercial property. There were quite a few details that needed to be tended to, and Ken handled everything expertly and professionally. We always felt informed and prepared for what would happen next during the sale process thanks to Ken’s diligence and organizational skills. Ken was up front, honest and extremely personable. He was always easy to reach and kept us updated throughout the process. He handled this large sale very well. We would recommend Ken to anyone who is looking to sell or buy a business.”

– Mike and Lesley Patterson

“Acuity was a huge asset during the purchase process. Ken excelled at keeping all parties on task, and his communication skills definitely helped the process go smoothly. He took time to ensure that everyone understood each step. I would highly recommend him.”

– Stephanie Kozina, Owner of Ella Bella Maternity Boutique

“The sale was handled with impressive efficiency. The price offered was highly satisfactory and confirmed our view that Ken’s style of customer service is far superior to any of the brokers we’d dealt with previously. All our questions were answered with great courtesy and care. We were particularly impressed by his pleasant manner and diligent attention to detail.”

– Dave Temple, VP of Music Centre Canada

“Ken helped us drill into the financials, clearly showing us the risks and opportunities. He also hosted one-on-one meetings between us and the seller. We’ve since brought him back to look for additional businesses to help us grow.”

– Daniel Ball

“Someone recommended we discuss our succession planning ideas with Acuity. I’m at the stage where I’m thinking about exiting. Ken gave us a number of assignments to complete, pointed out the current market situation, and expanded our overall lens. We’re indebted to his wise counsel.”

– Danielle Gault

“I selected Ken to share his insights on sustaining and expanding business ventures at the 2014 IEA Conference. Thank you, Ken, for sharing your time and talent to inspire the world of leaders.”

– Denise Baril, President of the Workplace Speaker Network

“He went above and beyond to help me during the sale of my business. I would recommend him to anyone.”

– R. Poitras

“Ken was easy to work with, and well educated in business evaluations. His recognition of privacy and professionalism was great. He never disclosed financials to people who weren’t a fit to buy the business. He was also helpful in finding a lawyer. He even visited the store to show a personal touch. Ken’s a smart man. I appreciate his help.”

– Sara Witzaney

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