Being part of a franchise association gives a franchise legitimacy, as it has been vetted by an institution that prides itself on following a Code of Ethics. All of these organisations are voluntary, and you must submit an application to be a part of these franchise associations.
There are three franchise associations that are worth mentioning in regards to franchising in the UK and Ireland:
- The British Franchise Association
- The Irish Franchise Association
- The International Franchise Association
The British Franchise Association is the premier self-regulating governing body for franchising in the UK. They have three tiers of membership: Full Members, Associate Members and Provisional Listing Companies. All members must follow the BFA code of business practice. Full Members are those established franchisors that already have a proven record of success. Associate Members must follow the same criteria as Full Members, but may not have been operating as long, have as large of a franchise network or have the same range of experiences. However, both Full and Associate members need to meet certain Membership Criteria (including viability, franchisable, ethical and disclosure) in order to be part of the BFA. The Provisional List is for new franchisors that are taking every step they can to properly develop and test their franchise method.
The Irish Franchise Association also hopes to establish ethical franchises throughout Ireland. By promoting franchise development through different programmes such as their website, franchise seminars, networking, franchise exhibitions and awards, the Irish Franchise Association is committed to creating a proper franchise network in Ireland. This franchise association aims to make sure that sound business opportunities are being promoted in the right way, and has strict membership criteria.
The International Franchise Association is a membership organisation made up of franchisees, franchisors and suppliers. By representing the interests of the franchise community, the IFA aims to admit franchisors that are committed to excellence and choose to follow their Code of Ethics. Although the IFA is a predominantly American organisation, they also have many international members that are part of the network. Since franchisees are also able to join, they get a network of other franchisees to become involved with. Suppliers, those who work with franchisees and/or franchisors to provide services, products or information, are also a part of the network and lend the IFA another important perspective.
These three main franchise associations function to keep franchising thriving in the UK and Ireland ... as well as ethical!