Franchising for the Future

by H. Alan Mooney, (M.ASCE), Pres.; Criternum Engineers, H. Alan Mooney and Associates, Portland, ME,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 7, Pg. 71-72

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Franchising is no longer reserved for hamburger stands or quick print photo processors. Now engineers may decide to join lawyers and dentists in future franchise operations. In today's demand business and technical environment, the franchising of engineering services could be an important step forward for the engineering profession. It combines the opportunity to achieve independence for engineers who wish to run their own small consulting offices with the resources of a much larger firm. Franchised businesses tend to have a better chance of success than other small businesses. The Small Business Administration reports that 38% of independent business start-ups fail in the first year. After five years, only 23% of independent operations are still in business versus 92% of franchises. A small, independently owned firm may also be hampered by lack of depth in technical areas. It may lack the buying power of a larger organization, the time to properly recruit and train employees and the resources to perform necessary market and technical research. But bigger is not always better. The large office with a well-defined corporate structure will always be relevant for large-scale projects. The company with many branch offices, however, imposes severe restrictions on management proactives as well as individual employee growth, and may no longer be the most efficient way to operate.

Subject Headings: Engineering firms | Engineering profession | Engineering services | Small business |

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