Is a Franchise a Small Business?

Is a Franchise a Small Business?

When it comes to the business world, there are many different types and models to consider. One question often arises is whether a franchise can be considered a small business. This article aims to explore this topic in-depth, providing clarity and insight into the world of franchises and small businesses.

Understanding Franchises

A franchise is a business model where an individual or a company (the franchisee) is given the right to operate under an established brand’s trademark or trade name (the franchisor). This model allows the franchisee to sell goods or services already recognized and trusted by consumers, reducing the risk of starting a business from scratch.

However, it’s essential to understand that while a franchise operates under a larger brand, it is independently owned and operated by the franchisee. This means the franchisee is responsible for the business’s day-to-day operations, including hiring staff, managing finances, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Defining Small Businesses

A small business, on the other hand, is typically defined as a privately owned and operated company that has fewer employees and less annual revenue than a larger corporation or multinational company. The definition of a small business can vary depending on the country and the industry, but generally, it is a business that has fewer than 500 employees.

Unlike franchises, small businesses are not tied to any larger brand or corporation. They are independent entities free to operate however they choose as long as they comply with the laws and regulations of their industry and location.

Is a Franchise a Small Business?

Now that we’ve defined franchises and small businesses, we can address the question: Is a franchise a small business? The answer is not as straightforward as it might seem.

On one hand, a franchise can be considered a small business because it is independently owned and operated, much like a small business. The franchisee is responsible for the business’s day-to-day operations and has to make decisions about hiring, finances, and more.

However, conversely, a franchise is tied to a larger brand or corporation, which sets it apart from a traditional small business. The franchisee must follow the franchisor’s guidelines and rules, which can limit their freedom and flexibility in running the business.

Furthermore, while a franchise might be independently owned, it benefits from the recognition and trust of the larger brand. This can give it a significant advantage over a traditional small business, which has to build its brand and customer base from scratch.

Factors to Consider

Whether a franchise is considered a small business can also depend on several factors, including the size of the franchise, the industry it operates in, and the specific regulations in its location.

For example, a single-unit franchise operating in a small town with several employees could easily be considered a small business. However, a multi-unit franchise that operates in several locations and has hundreds of employees might not fit the traditional definition of a small business.

Additionally, some industries and locations have specific definitions and regulations for what constitutes a small business. For example, in the United States, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has size standards that define whether a business entity is small. These standards vary by industry based on factors like the number of employees and annual receipts.


In conclusion, whether a franchise is considered a small business can depend on various factors. While franchises share some characteristics with small businesses, such as being independently owned and operated, they also have unique features that set them apart.

Ultimately, potential franchisees and small business owners need to understand the differences between these two models and consider which one is the best fit for their goals and circumstances.

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