We’ve seen toy stores that made 90% of the year’s revenue in the run-up to Christmas, wedding services that were busy all summer and scraped along through the winter, and tax services that didn’t even stay open outside of tax season.
If you want a full-time income throughout the year, numbers like that should be a red flag. Unless you can think of a good way to push the season out or to bring your happy customers back in the off season, you’ll spend most of the year building up debt and your busy season paying it off, year after year.
But the seasonal franchise can be ideal when your day job or your other responsibilities give you an off season.
School teachers get three months off each year. That’s a nice long break, but it could also be an opportunity to use their skills in a kid-oriented franchise business. Businesses that offer tutoring, summer camps and activities, child care, or sports are ideal for a summer focus.
Short term franchises can be great summer projects for college students, too. Turnkey systems like vending machine enterprises can be started with a burst of very hard work and then maintained as a low-key side gig during the school year… or an executive opportunity.
You might even choose more than one seasonal business opportunity and have the off-season of one give you time for the busy season of the other. Landscape gardening paired with winter holiday lights, summer nanny services and winter tax services, or house painting and snow shoveling can make complementary work plans.
Here are some questions to ask yourself — and the franchisor — if you’re considering this approach:
- Do you rely on your off time? A summer job is a classic for students, but those who have demanding coursework and after school jobs, athletics, or research obligations may really need a break.
- Is your off time already full? It’s easy, if you have an off season, to imagine that you will have more free time than you really have. By the time Your off season comes around, you’ve booked a cruise, scheduled a couple of conferences, and agreed to have the grand-kids come visit for a month. Where did your off season go?
- Is the franchise really seasonal? Some are, but some aren’t, even if they look that way at first glance. If you invest in a franchise, you may not have the option of shutting it down during slow times. If you plan to do so, make sure you’re up front with your franchisor so you’ll understand your options.
- Will there be consequences at your day job? Teachers often take summer jobs, but a teacher who takes on a stripper-gram franchise for the summer might face a negative response when he heads back to school in the fall. Even if you’re planning two franchise business investment for opposite ends of the year, discuss your plans with both franchisors to ensure you won’t run into problems.
If you’re looked into these issues and it still looks good, franchising can make for a great off-season opportunity.