Who is it suited to?
Unlike service sector franchising, the quick print industry involves a lot of money from start to finish. It costs a lot to set up, but the potential returns are equally high. So if your motivation is profit, this could be the ideal business.
"Money is probably the most important motivating factor - what other reason is there for going into business?" says Keith Harman, franchise sales manager at Prontaprint.
But money can also be a barrier. With an outlay as high as £150,000, the door is often closed to younger franchisees. The standard profile is people aged between 30 and 50.
Franchisors largely agree on what they are looking for in a franchisee. Having sales and managerial skills counts highly in your favour, as does business experience. In the business to business market you need these skills to relate to customers and staff.
A lack of print experience is not considered a handicap. AlphaGraphics' David Holliday says he looks for a managerial, rather than a print, background. If you can manage and motivate staff then your chances are good.
Only Prontaprint said that candidates should ideally be "technically aware". It seemed to one franchisee that people with no knowledge of the print industry are almost encouraged. Reading through the franchise literature, you could be forgiven for sharing this view.
Kevin Watkins owns an AlphaGraphics franchise in Bristol. Although his background is in IT, he hasn't found the print industry difficult to get to grips with. "AlphaGraphics have a requirement that you hire an experienced printer and designer. You can then rely on their expertise."
Whatever your area of expertise, it is likely you will be able to put it to some use. AlphaGraphics is a global company and is keen on developing its internet services. Watkins has used his IT knowledge to get really involved in web design and digital print technology. He was impressed by the freedom of a business plan that allowed him to do this.