Can I Be a Franchise Owner Without Working Onsite?

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A person sits on the ground outside with a computer in her lap, working as an absentee franchise owner

Most franchises ask owners to work a minimum number of hours onsite each week. Many want their owners to commit to a full-time schedule at their site. Others are more flexible with how and when the owners are on premises.

Lots of owners say this flexibility matters. It gives them the option of keeping their full-time job, juggling multiple opportunities, or accessing a new stream of income without being burdened by a traditional working schedule. For these owners, “semi-absentee” ownership is a must-have. However, it’s not a perk that every franchisor offers.


How can I find out if a franchisor will allow me to be a semi-absentee franchise owner?

Many franchisors have clearly stated rules for spending time onsite. You’ll probably find these rules on your franchisor’s website or in the materials they provide. If not, be sure to should ask your franchise rep for details.


If I buy into one of the absentee owner franchises, can I keep working at my full-time job?

Often, yes, if you’re willing to hire an onsite manager and spend time on franchise tasks in the hours you spend outside work. The typical workload for an absentee owner of a franchise is 20-30 hours a week, especially when ramping up and working through the first few months of operations.


I plan to hire a manager. How much can that person take on?

Your onsite manager should take on the daily concerns of your business. Here is a sample of some of the work you might pass on:

  • Hire, train, and oversee the team
  • Create work schedules
  • Offer feedback and reviews
  • Deal with customer service matters
  • Order and manage inventory
  • Reconcile cash
  • Make bank deposits


As you build trust in your manager, you might involve that person in higher-level work. This work could include sales forecasting or some strategic planning. It’s also ok to hold onto these tasks and allow the manager to stay focused on current matters.


Can I avoid the onsite requirements by making my onsite manager a partner?

In many cases, yes. But here’s what you should know:

  • Most franchisors will ask that at least one partner fulfills the time onsite requirement.
  • Your franchisor may have rules around partnering that you’ll need to be aware of
  • They’ll likely want to vet any person who will have a shared ownership stake in the business.


Speak with your franchise rep to learn about this option.


How can I decide whether semi-absentee ownership is right for me?

Try to answer these questions. They’ll help you decide whether you’d benefit from being an absentee or semi-absentee franchise owner:

  1. Based on the cash flows you project, could you afford a full-time manager?
  2. Will you earn enough income after hiring a manager to make this investment pay off?
  3. Are you willing to give someone else a say in the key parts of your business?
  4. Does the franchise need special licenses or education that may be hard to find in a manager?
  5. Can you be available during your operating hours to answer questions or address concerns?
  6. Are you willing to review sales targets, study financials, make forecasts, handle performance, attend to compliance matters, and offer support and feedback to your site’s manager in your free time?
If you haven’t already chosen a franchise and are interested in absentee owner franchises, look into franchise resale opportunities. Investors like you can buy a fully operational franchise unit that often has a reliable manager, capable team, solid performance, and a steady base of customers in place. These franchises are often the easiest to navigate as a semi-absentee owner.


What’s next?

Looking for support as you start up your franchise unit? We can help. Log into your owner’s portal for a free step-by-step guide to make your venture a success.

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