Older workers are increasingly turning to franchising as a second career rather than starting up businesses from scratch.
The latest snapshot of the franchise market by the British Franchise Association and NatWest bank has found that the number of people aged over 50 going into franchising has risen sharply in the past decade.
The over-50s accounted for 32 per cent of franchisees last year, compared with 19 per cent in 1994, and were the only age group to grow in that time period.
The average age of a UK franchisee is now 45, against 40 a decade ago, and 80 per cent are married, said the survey.
The image of franchising is also changing. While a lot of franchises are still goods or services offered from vans, sold in shops or through the home, the concept is also attracting people with senior management experience.
Executive coaching and consultancy group the Academy for Chief Executives, based in Letchworth, Hertfordshire is one organisation aiming specifically to attract people on their second or even third career.
The organisation, which offers coaching, advice, support and monthly discussion forums for top executives, has a national franchise network that is currently 36 strong.
Franchisees, often former senior or chief executives, invest £20,000 to buy a “licence” to start up the business, which is normally expected to be profitable within the first year.
The body is hoping to expand its franchise operation, and wants to recruit around six people a year.
Peter Pritchett, 47, was a member of the academy before 15 months ago buying the licence to run the organisation’s Coventry franchise, and his business is already profitable.
“I became a member of the academy at a relatively young age, so it is definitely a second career for me,” he explained.
“It has a strong set of values and it is about improving people’s lives. I want to make people’s lives and businesses better,” he added.
A key attraction of franchising for many older workers is that they still get to be their own boss, but without the hassle, cost and heartache of starting a business from scratch.
“It is not really for someone who has retired, but quite often it will be someone has made a bit of money but does not want to sit around doing nothing,” added Pritchett.