If you’re reading this, chances are you have already started your search for a franchise investment, so it will likely come as no surprise that this billion-dollar industry is massive. In just the U.S. alone, the number of franchise establishments is expected to reach approximately 805,000 this year—a significant jump from the approximate 773,000 reported in 2019 pre-pandemic.

With numerous franchise industries out there, and even more niche markets, you will likely come across several types of franchise systems that vary in size; some are large and well-established, while others run on a much smaller scale.

Which one is right for you? To help answer this question, here are some pros and cons that can help shed light on the components within big and small franchises.


Brand Recognition

One of the stand-out features of franchising is the built-in recognition it offers franchisees. Compared to someone launching a startup, where it can take time to build a reputation and acknowledgement from the public, franchise systems can offer this from the jump, as the franchisor has already invested the time and effort.

Big franchises take brand recognition to the next level, thanks to their size. With many locations in their network that may spread across the country or even globally, there is often increased customer awareness, boosted marketing efforts, and greater consumer recall, resulting in familiarity among the public. With brand recognition comes trust, as customers know they can rely on a recognizable brand over unknown alternatives. Greater brand recognition can be helpful for franchisees, as it can lead to a streamlined process for building a solid customer base.

Training & Support

Having ongoing support to provide the skills and knowledge you need to succeed can be critical when investing in a franchise. Although training and support is offered by both big and small franchises, big franchise organizations have not only the resources but also the experience and insight from the number of locations in their network to provide specific, in-depth training and tips to their franchisees.

Big franchises also have more data to work with than smaller franchises, which can result in a greater understanding of precisely what franchisees need to succeed. This can be a major plus for franchisees, especially if you are new to the franchising world or running a business. Working with a franchisor that has experience supporting several other franchisees over the years can be very reassuring when entering into this investment.

Economies of Scale

Many large franchise systems often have well-established relationships with vendors and suppliers who can offer deals for bulk purchases. This can result in savings for franchisees when purchasing inventory and/or products, leading to lower operational expenses. Having these pre-existing relationships with vendors who have already undergone a vetting process can be particularly helpful for franchisees and can lead to long-term deals as the relationship continues.


A Greater Need for Consistency

When there are many franchises in a network, there can be a greater need to remain consistent in how each operates. After all, franchisors want customers to have the same positive experience no matter which location they visit to maintain their reputation and uphold expectations. Therefore, when many locations are involved, operations can become much stricter.

This is not to say small franchises are more lenient in their operations; consistency is one of the building blocks of franchising. However, franchisees can have less input and opportunity for personalization in big franchise systems to maintain consistent practices. This can be a con for those seeking greater independence or who prefer to work under fewer restrictions.

Larger Monetary Investment

Franchising can be a significant investment for many, and more often than not, big franchises will cost more than smaller franchises, as there can be more advantages that come with it. Big franchises can bring widespread recognition, larger marketing budgets, the benefit of working within a robust network, and more. That said, there can be more risk involved when investing more money. And while big franchise systems have a proven track record, monetary success is not a given. Therefore, this larger investment may seem like a con to some.


Reduced Investment Cost

Compared to a bigger franchise, small franchises can cost less. With less monetary investment comes a smaller level of risk, which can be appealing for franchisees who may not meet certain financial requirements or who do not want to take on a big risk. A smaller cost can also be appealing if you are seeking to purchase multiple types of franchises and pursue a semi-absentee or absentee ownership model. A smaller price tag may mean more opportunities to add franchises to your portfolio.

It is important to keep in mind that if you are considering financing options, the process can be easier if you’re investing in a big franchise compared to a small one, as there is a proven track record among large franchise systems, which can be appealing to financial institutions. However, seeking loan options may not be necessary when pursuing small franchises.

Greater Involvement

Smaller franchises that have yet to grow to scale can grant franchisees more involvement in the business’ practices and decision-making. This is not to say all small franchise systems will offer this opportunity. However, you may find increased flexibility to share your opinions on how things operate and bring your own techniques and working styles into play compared to the structured practices of a big franchise. Although some prospective franchisees feel comfortable in the structure a big franchisee can provide, especially if there is a lack of industry experience, some may want the freedom to try new things, which may be permitted because of the smaller network of locations and the decreased need for widespread consistency.


Unpredictable Growth

A small franchise may not have as much growth potential. If you invest in a small franchise with a limited number of locations in its network, it is up to the franchisor to expand into different markets, attract more franchisees, and reach new territories. A lack of growth can mean a lack of brand visibility and recognition, making it harder for franchisees to attract and build a customer base.

Tighter Resource Budget

Small franchises may not have the budget for a range of resources for franchisees, such as extensive training or dedicated support. This means that training might be not as in-depth, and the team may not be able to offer one-on-one, ongoing support like a big franchise may provide.


At Dogtopia, we offer unparalleled support that franchisees in our network need to succeed. If you are interested in bringing a dog daycare to your community, find out why Dogtopia can be the right choice for you.