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Franchises are an extremely popular way of getting into business. In fact, in the United States, about one in every 12 businesses is a franchise. For those who work in the business-to-business sector, franchises can represent valuable opportunities because the needs of one franchise owner are usually the same as all the other owners in that same chain.
The trouble with franchises is that finding the name of the owner can be problematic. This is because the name of the franchise chain that is on the sign outside is never the name of the company that owns that specific franchise.
Buying a Franchise Email List
If you're interested in doing business with people who own franchises, the best way to get their names and contact information is to buy a list of franchise owners, also called franchisees. Like other types of contact lists you can buy, this is primarily used for marketing.
At minimum, a franchise email list should include names, email addresses and phone numbers. Some lists, however, contain a great deal of information in addition to the franchisee contact list, such as:
- Franchise name
- Mailing address
- Industry or sector
- Number of employees
- Years in business
- Credit rating
Today, the typical model for buying a list is to request access to the list-holder's database. You may be able to buy access to the names of people in specific states or the names of anyone in the country in a type of business sector. For example, you could specify that you want the names of everyone in your state in the restaurant or hospitality industry. The more data you want, the more the list will cost.
Getting the Name of a Specific Franchise Owner
The best way to find out who owns one specific franchise is usually to just ask. You can visit the business in person or call, and in most cases, you can get a name immediately. If the manager is unwilling to tell you the name of the owner, you can try contacting the franchising company's head office.
If neither of these approaches work, you can find the name of the business owner if you know the name of the company that owns the franchise. The key thing to understand is that a franchise name isn't the same as the franchisee's company name.
If you bought a McDonald's franchise, you would typically form a company and then use that company to buy the franchise. So while it says "McDonald's" on the sign outside, the company name could be "ABC Holdings Corporation" or "Bob's New Company, LLC." Many businesses have the company name on a license on the wall or on a health permit in the case of restaurants.
Doing a Business License Search
Business licenses are a matter of public record, so the state, city or county government should have the name of the company's owner on record. Once you know the company's name, you can find out who owns that company. Today, a growing number of governments have this information online, making this extremely easy.
Just search for "business license search" for your city, county or state to find the appropriate search portal. Then, you can simply type the name of the business into the search field to find the owner. Depending on the database, it may also give you that person's email address, phone number and mailing address.
If you're unable to find the name of the owner online, you can contact your local government office and ask how you can find out the name of the business owner. In this case, you will likely have to go to the office containing the business-license records and ask the clerk to do a search for you.
- If the franchise is organized as a corporation, the "owner" will likely be listed as a principal of the company on the corporation's paperwork.
A published author, David Weedmark has advised businesses on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years and used to teach computer science at Algonquin College. He is currently the owner of Mad Hat Labs, a web design and media consultancy business. David has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and websites including American Express, Samsung, Re/Max and the New York Times' About.com.