It can be difficult to decide whether you should you start a franchise as opposed to a completely new business. It’s a common question and the answer could decide how much money you make and how happy you will be with your new life as an entrepreneur.

As a hypothetical example to put this question into some type of realistic context, let’s suppose that you have worked in the cleaning industry for a number of years, learned a large number of skills and diligently paid yourself 10% of everything you’ve earned year after year. Now at the end of, say, a decade, you have more than enough experience and startup capital to go into business for yourself.

Moreover, you don’t just want to start a general home or office cleanup business, but a specialized one. In the course of your work for other people, you came to realize that there is a great deal of money to be made from a crime scene, hoarding, and meth lab cleanups, as well as additional profits, to be earned by offering related services, like mold remediation and infectious disease decontamination work.

So, given your background, is it better to launch your own specialty cleanup business on your own or to sign up for a Spaulding Decon franchise, which has been doing this type of work since 2005?

Although the question is simple enough, the answer is fairly nuanced and complex. One way to provide a comprehensive answer is to take a look at this critical question through the lens of SWOT analysis:

A SWOT analysis of starting your own business 
  1. Strengths: You already have plenty of real-world experience and a considerable amount of knowledge and skills to be a formidable competitor in this niche.  Now, instead of making someone else rich, you have everything you need to build your own wealth. In addition, you can run the business the way you think it should be run. After working for so many dysfunctional businesses, you have a fairly good idea of how to organize a project well.
  2. Weaknesses: While you may have a lot of technical skills, you have little or no experience with running a business, particular things like business administration, accounting, finance, marketing, and sales. You also have no established track record of your own which will make it difficult to convince bankers to lend you money or potential customers to hire you.
  3. Opportunities: There is a lot of work available for the type of jobs you want to do. Moreover, you may be new as a business owner, but you have an insider knowledge of how the business should be run.
  4. Threats: Since you have no experience with training people to do the work as well as you do, you may end up spending more time working in the business than on the business. In other words, you’re not really a boss but still work as diligently as any employee.
A SWOT analysis of buying a franchise 
  1. Strengths: You will be working with an organization that has plenty of field experience on how to manage and organize projects. Whatever technical skills you will have acquired on your own can now be augmented by the considerable business knowledge of the franchise. Moreover, everything has been figured out—from what products to use to what processes.
  2. Weaknesses: Since everything has already been tested and improved as much as possible, making your own independent decisions will only disrupt the workflow. This is not the right style of business for people who hate to follow rules, even if they happen to be practical, proven ones.
  3. Opportunities: It is easier to get a bank loan should you need more money to get started, you can get discounts on all your equipment needs because of a long-standing relationship with vendors, and you will benefit from a franchise’s brand name recognition when talking to new clients.
  4. Threats: You may not be able to agree with the franchisor’s perspective on how the business should be run.

In the final analysis, of course, there is no right answer, it all depends on how much you already know and how much you are willing to learn. If you know a great deal about how to run a business, then you will probably do really well starting your own business from scratch.

If, however, you only have technical skills and know little to nothing about how to run a cost-effective, efficient, and profitable business, then you might be better off joining a franchise in a field that already aligns with your knowledge, skills, and experience.