Whether you are beginning your first year of franchise ownership or wanting to prepare for what’s to come, your business’ initial year of operations is an exciting and busy time.

While there is no crystal ball to offer predictions, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not starting your business from scratch. Unlike other business ventures, you have the expert support of your franchisor and a proven business model to rely on. Since the blueprint for the business is already established, several of the operations and practices are standardized across locations, providing you with a clearer picture of what to expect in your first year of ownership.

Of course, every franchisee can have a different experience, but there are often some common threads. To give you a better idea of what to expect, we’ve listed some typical elements that franchisees often experience during their first year of operations.


If you come from a corporate 9-5 job, running a franchise business may be different from what you’re used to, especially in terms of the amount of time initially required. Although there are excellent opportunities to create a work-life balance as a franchise owner, when getting your location off the ground, you may need to dedicate more hours or work in a less structured manner than you were used to in a corporate role.

Remember, franchising is just as much a time investment as a financial one. In your first year, you will likely have a hand in nearly all aspects of operations. Expect your working hours to vary until operational processes are streamlined.


As a franchisee, it’s critical to understand the financial aspects of running a business. This could include closely monitoring weekly or monthly revenue, effectively allocating funds, projecting potential profits, and ensuring you meet the ongoing financial requirements made by your franchisor, such as royalty fees. Understanding the monetary side of running the business is essential for long-term, sustainable success and growth for your franchise location, as it will ensure you have the financial stability to forge ahead.

Expecting to be an expert in this area during your first year is unrealistic. However, you will need to manage the flow of the money coming in and out of your franchise business. Having financial literacy and understanding what areas of the business you need to closely track will help you navigate this aspect of ownership.

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The size of the team may vary depending on the franchise, but you will likely need to hire employees to help you run your business. In some cases, hiring a manager may be the first step, as they may be able to take on the responsibility of hiring a team. If you don’t have experience hiring someone, turn to your franchisor, who may offer training and support in this area. Even if you do have some experience, it can still be valuable to seek their insight, as they will understand the specific traits that align well with the business.

Once you have hired your team, you will then need to lead that team. As the franchise owner, your employees will look to you for direction, and you should expect to rely on and strengthen your leadership skills during your first year. Leading a team can take some getting used to, so planning how you will make a positive work environment, ensure proper communication, and navigate any challenges will be crucial. Building a strong, cohesive team is one of the keys to the success of your franchise, and that starts with your first employees.


A successful franchise is often one where the franchisee has made strong, long-lasting relationships with their customers. Although franchisees benefit from brand recognition when they invest in a franchise business—a significant upside when acquiring customers—forming and nurturing relationships with customers is essential, and you’ll start as soon as you open.

This early emphasis on customer relationships is vital for the long-term success of the franchise, and you can expect to lean heavily into relationship-building in your first year if you have invested in a consumer-facing franchise business. Reach out to your franchisor for assistance in maintaining and strengthening customer relations, as they may have customer service strategies and standards to help you generate success.


Regardless of your level of experience in the industry, the first year of running a new franchise business can be a learning curve and require some adjustments. Each franchise business varies, so there will be aspects that require time and effort to master. You can’t expect to be perfect right out of the gate, so anticipating that you will grow and learn in the first year of operation can help you set more realistic expectations.


What can you expect as a franchisee with Dogtopia? An enthusiasm for dog wellness, top-tier support from an experienced team, and so much more in between. Even after your location opens, we will be there to support you every step of the way, sharing the best practices that have contributed to our success as the fastest-growing franchise in the pet industry. Reach out to us today if you’re ready to bring a Dogtopia to your community!