The British Franchise Association
The British Franchise Association (bfa) is the only voluntary self-regulatory body for the UK franchise sector, with a standards based approach to membership. Its aim is to promote ethical franchising practice in the UK and help the industry develop credibility, influence and favourable circumstance for growth. As a result one of the bfa’s main jobs is to help potential franchisees recognise the good, the bad, and the ugly for what they are.
Membership of the bfa is only open to franchisors and professional advisors to the franchise industry that are able to successfully satisfy the accreditation criteria.
Because of the vast amount of work that has gone in to developing, protecting and promoting these standards, bfa membership brings with it a highly recognised and valuable credibility and recognition of standards and ethics in franchising
All Full and Associate members of the bfa must meet four key criteria: that the business is viable, franchisable, ethical and fully disclosed. With these checks in place, franchisors can be admitted to membership, providing also that they commit themselves to abide by the Advertising Standards Authority’s code of practice and also to the Association’s own complaints and disciplinary, appeals and re-accreditation rules. Full members will have a proven trading and franchising record. The length of time a franchised business has been in operation, and the changes in business and financial circumstances it must have survived before it can be said to be “established”, will vary from sector to sector.
The following are the principles that are applied to franchisors applying for membership, and which underpin the accreditation process before membership is granted. As part of their application, franchisors are expected to demonstrate how they meet these standards and provide evidence of the same, where appropriate.
Franchisors should be:
Viable The business to be franchised must be viable. Evidence will show that the product or service is saleable, and at a level of profit that will sustain a franchised network.
Transferable There is a means for the transfer of the know-how to a new operator at arm’s length, essential if the business is to be franchised.
Ethical The franchise is structured and operated in accordance with the ethical principles set out in the European Code of Ethics for Franchising, which covers matters of advertising, recruiting, selecting, and dealing with franchisees. The applicant’s franchise agreement is formally assessed.
Disclosed All information on the business that is material to the franchise proposition and contract is disclosed without ambiguity to prospective franchisees.