What does the word “turnkey” mean?
You’ll see the word “turnkey” on a lot of franchise business opportunity materials, in phrases like “turnkey franchises” to “turnkey marketing.” Not all franchisors mean the same thing by this word, though.
The term comes from the idea that you could just turn the key in the lock of the business’s front door and start operating at full tilt from day one.
Contrast this with a start from scratch business. You’d need to need to come up with an idea, figure out the systems, source supplies and inventory, find suitable software and hardware, create a marketing plan, find a good location, remodel or redecorate, hire workers — obviously, there would be a lot more to it than just turning a key in a lock.
A franchisor might mean by “turnkey” that inventory, systems and marketing all are provided in a start up package that will be delivered to you. They might mean that there’s a good deal of work involved ahead of time, but that once you’re set up your business will go smoothly. They might even mean that they’ll sell you a fully-equipped vehicle for a mobile business or a kiosk that just needs to be set up.
Going into a franchise business with one understanding of what the franchisor meant in their marketing and discovering that the franchisor meant something else can lead to disappointment.
One example of the word “turnkey” is from EZ Casino Solutions, an online casino franchise that offers to help you make money while you sleep. In this use of the word, EZ Casinos is providing a ready-to-use system that doesn’t need monitoring. You’ll want to ask questions about the exact steps and the timeline it takes to get an EZ Casinos franchise up and running, but you can feel confident that you won’t have to deal with buildings and permits.
Another turnkey opportunity is DTC Mobile Drug Testing. They provide inventory and marketing materials that could let you call on your first prospect as soon as you complete your training. There are plenty of ways to build the business after that starting point, but you can launch very quickly after making your decision. As with many other turnkey business opportunities, much depends on the business location you choose, whether you expect to have employees when you first open your doors, and other questions of that kind. You’ll want to talk with the businesses you’re considering to make sure the details are clear.
Another thing to consider in “turnkey” claims is who is running the business. A lot of “turnkey” solutions marketed, especially for gym and fitness franchises, promise that a owner can do other things with their time—so who is turning the key on the door? Sometimes this means bringing in a Principal Operator, or someone who acts as the franchise manager who is included in franchise contracts. These Principal Operators often have more power than a manager and can make big decisions on how to run a business rather than just managing the day to day operations.
Even if the franchise business opportunity you are considering describes itself as a turn key business, be sure that you understand your responsibilities as a franchisee and how much time and effort it will take to get ready to open your doors on the first day of business.