An Escape Room Franchise: The Pros and Cons at a Glance


If you're working a regular job, then the idea of self-employment must seem very tempting. You imagine working your own hours, doing something you enjoy, and getting paid what you think you're actually worth. Many people in those shoes have thought about jumping on the latest and hottest craze, escape room games. Maybe you've played through a few, seen the number of bookings, and then done some rudimentary math on the back of a napkin. But setting up a new escape room games isn't quite the walk in the park we would like it to be.

What is a Franchise?

At its most basic, a franchise consist of 2 parties, the franchisor and the franchisee. The former is normally, someone with an existing business who wants to expand. But instead of going through the same headache they had when they first opened, it makes more sense to them to simply sell the rights for the business. In the same way that many fast food places are not actually owned by the supporting company, but can utilise the name and all the materials. 

Most people would likely assume that McDonald's is the world's biggest franchise, but you'd be wrong. It's actually Subway. They have been operating their franchise for over 40 years and have over 42,000 locations under their belt. Other large franchises you probably already know include Spar, Hertz and the Body Shop. In the entertainment industry, there are also some massive franchise networks, including, Hello kitty, Micky Mouse, Winnie the Poo and the Star Wars franchise.

The Pros of an Escape Room Franchise

By going the franchise route to setting up your first escape room, you'll make some considerable savings in both money and time. All the room layouts are already done. The same goes for the puzzles and clues. many franchise owners will also be happy to provide:

The company logo and design, along with a website 
All advertising materials
A booking system
Help with setting the project up and getting things off the ground.
Help with employment and finding the right staff.
Ensuring health and safety rules are followed.

Other points to consider are:

Opening Quickly
Many businesses take forever to get started as there's always so much practical and regulatory ground to cover. But working within a franchise means that they have already done most of the heavy lifting for you.

Beam Effect
This means that, by simple association with the franchise company, you'll rise up in the eyes of the public. If other escape room sites under the same umbrella have all received positive reviews on Trip Advisor, Facebook or Google, then you already have a head start when it comes to credibility.

Large Support Network

Having a group of the same businesses around you can be a massive aid. You're all able to discuss issues and problems and their respective solutions. This is the vitally important role of the network, which also comes from being under the same franchise.

Credit Score

Financing matters, especially if you're based in the US. You're going to be needing some capital, as that's the one thing the franchise will not supply you with. Though escape rooms are famous for how quickly they return back their initial investment, you will still need to carry over some considerable costs from the very beginning of the project. With money being so cheap at the moment, it makes good sense to take out a bank loan until you manage to turn a healthy profit. On the whole, a bank is going to be more forgiving of your credit history if you're joined at the waist with a larger franchise. The reason is simple. It's that the lender can see the same business, but one that's already been running and generating cash.

Disadvantages of an Escape Room franchise

There are a number of disadvantages you should are in mind before jumping into bed with a franchise. Let's go through the major ones.

High Initial Investment

First things first, you will need to pony up a considerable amount of hard cash from the get-go to the franchise for the rights to use everything. This initial fee can be very high indeed. But, you're paying for being able to make money off the back of an existing and already successful brand name. This is such a huge help for a starting business, that they have every right to charge for your almost instant profits.

Franchise Fees

This is your basic franchise commission that'll have to be paid monthly or annually. Essentially this is the payment for the ongoing use of the brand, including the name and all the game rights. Though it's almost impossible to place a real price on the benefits, we'll leave you to decide exactly what's important and what's not. 

You’re Not Always in Control

Of course, the reason you originally left your job was to be able to work for yourself with you acting as your own boss, making all the important decisions that directly affect you and your family. Well, if you decide to tie yourself to a franchise, then in many cases, they will be calling most of the shots. This can include things like pricing and the opening hours. Take care, as these can really impact your business, and once you've signed on the dotted line, there's not much you can do about it.

Lack of Creative Control

In the escape room industry space, we can find two very different types of owner. The first one just looks at the space and calculates how many players he can fit in per hour. His major priority is the ROI (Return on Investment) and how to achieve it as quickly as possible. he's first and foremost a businessman. The second owner is completely different. His main concern is the games and their game playthrough. He's the type of guy who's actually crazy about escape room games and is passionate about this gaming genre. He loves things to be done his way because he has some creative juices lowing through his veins. One of these guys isn't going to like working with a franchise. 

Possible Image Damage

Keep in mind that you are in many ways joined to the franchise. If they make a bad marketing move, send out a racist tweet or suffer an accident in one of their rooms, then those things can reflect badly onto your business. 

Conflicts of Interest

Like a marriage of convenience, you don't know the ride that well. You might have read about her and seen that she seemed to be a perfect fit. But maybe he starts setting unrealistic goals, expecting a bigger income, or doesn't like your favourite escape room master. Often times you might find that the marketing approach is wrong for you. We suggest that before you decide to get involved with any franchise, you make the effort and go speak with some of their existing parners. Thanks to the internet, and with so many marketing forums, it will not take long to find the down and dirty about any possible partner. 

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