A franchise that requires premises, a van or advance stock is liable to cost more than a purely home-based one. But costs aren't massive, ranging from £8000 for Colour Counsellors to around £50,00 for Urban Planters.
"For Colour Counsellors you only really need a small home office," explains Banbury Counsellor Sara Allday. "Clients very rarely come to the house so I have a small room for my computer and phone and an awful lot of shelves for storing samples."
The nature of Urban Planters means you need premises to store plants and operate from. But again this doesn't need to be fancy or expensive, as franchise director Nick Gresty reassures. "We will help you locate an small industrial unit in your area, 750 to 1000 square feet is big enough."
There is a definite public interest in the idea of interior design. "But what you have to do," says Helen Gilzean of Decorating Den, "is build awareness on a local level. Local magazines, yellow pages full colour fliers will get you going until you can start to get repeat and referral business."
There is a considerable amount of self-promotion with all these franchises. This means knocking on doors and talking to everyone you meet about your service. This is hard but it won't cost you anything, as the above methods will. And getting people talking about you is the best form of advertising.
For Decorating Den you need to have a van to carry supplies - but this can be leased rather than bought outright. And if you go to the central suppliers you can get the livery put on for a special rate.
Where you don't need a specific vehicle - as for Colour Counsellors, a reliable personal car will be adequate. As with most franchises you are given a specific territory so the mileage add up to big petrol costs.
"The thing about Urban Planters is that once you've paid the initial costs, the overheads don't increase," maintains Nick Gresty. "You shouldn't outgrow your premises in the first five years and you don't move out until your turnover justifies and will pay for it. Similarly with transport for any employees you take on."