Mum running a franchise business

Eight Best Franchise Business Types for Mums

A franchise can be a great way to start a business (if you want to know more, check out our post on franchising). You get to learn from someone else’s mistakes and have a business that you know can be successful. The key to successful franchising is choosing one that meets your needs and with so many to choose from that can be difficult. We’re rounded up the top 8 franchise business types that can work well for mums.

Franchise Baby & Toddler Classes

Baby and Toddler classes can be a great fit because they are generally term time only. You may be able to take your little one with you. It’s important that you like babies and small children and are happy leading a group. Lots of classes will require you to sing too so you can make use of all of those nursery rhymes you’ve learnt since becoming a Mum!

Pet Sitting franchise

If you like animals then pet sitting could work for you. This type of business can take many forms from, having animals stay in your house like family pets, a cattery or Kennels type arrangement, visiting other people’s homes to car for pets or just walking dogs while people are at work. While you could start this type of business alone, one of the main benefits of franchising is that insurance is generally provided for you.

Nearly New Sales

Baby and Children’s Nearly New Sales are becoming more and more popular. There are a number of different franchises around to choose from so you’ll need to do your research carefully. You’ll need to work at weekends sometimes to run the sales and spend plenty of time marketing the events to make sure they’re successful.

Castings/fingerprint jewellery Franchises

Children are small for such a short amount of time that we all love to have mementos. There are now many franchises that offer either castings, which can be of hand, feet or bumps or jewellery with hand, finger or foot prints. These franchises can offer flexibility and an outlet for creativity.

Franchise Parties

Children’s parties are big business with parents admitting to spending an average of £320. Some franchises offer a variety of party types while others are quite niche for example for example science or football. You’ll need a big personality and be happy to work at the weekends.

Cleaning franchises

Before you dismiss the idea because you’ve got enough cleaning of your own to do, cleaning franchises don’t generally involve you doing any actual cleaning. Franchisees market the business and hire other people to do the cleaning. Some franchises deal with PAYE and National Insurance which makes the business much easier to run.

Publishing Franchises

There are publishing franchises available both online and in print. There are a number of franchises that run print magazines, the basic content is created by the franchise and then franchisees sell advertising and distribute the magazines. Online publishers run large websites and franchisees buy the rights to sell advertising for a certain geographical area.

Virtual Assistant franchises

Becoming a virtual assistant (offering admin support from home to small businesses) is a popular choice with Mums. There are now a growing number of virtual assistant franchises that can help you get started. You’ll want to choose an established franchise so that you can benefit from their reputation and marketing.

With so many different franchises available it’s important to do your research to find one that will work for you. If you need help deciding which business is best for you then our course “How to become a Mumpreneur” can help.

8 best franchise business types for mums

Considering a franchise

Considering a Franchise? 5 Questions you need to ask

Starting a business is a big decision so it’s important to take everything in to account when considering a franchise and deciding weather its right for you.

What size territory should you look for when considering a franchise?

In some ways, the larger the territory the better. The more people in your territory , the more potential customers you have. However if you only want to work a set number of hours so will only run in one part of the territory then you may end up paying for areas that you won’t operate in. For example, if your territory has two major towns and you only plan to operate in one. If your business is something people will only travel a short distance for, like baby classes, then a small territory could be better. If you’re offering something that people will travel for then a big territory can help make sure you aren’t competing with other franchisees.

How much are the on going fees and what do you get for them?

Most franchisors ask you to pay a fee, usually monthly, quarterly or annually. This is to cover the cost of things like national marketing, maintenance of resources like websites and support. Sometimes the fee is a percentage of sales or it can be a fixed amount. If it’s fixed, bear in mind you’ll have to pay it, weather you’re making money or not and if you plan to keep your business quite small, it can be a big chunk of your profits.

To decide if the fee is reasonable, find out exactly what you get for it. How much national marketing do they undertake, how quickly is the website updated and how much Support do they offer you? Find out what their service standards are in terms of how long they expect it to take for them to reply to emails, make changes to the website etc.

What will your relationship be like with other franchisees?

One of the main benefits of running a franchise as opposed to going it alone is the support and much of this comes from more experienced franchisees. Is there a way for all franchisees to keep in touch, for example a forum or a Facebook group? Are there any training events or get together where you’ll meet in person? Do the local franchisees work together to benefit from local events, for example splitting the cost of regional advertising or trade show attendance?

How is Social Media dealt with?

Social media is a massive part of how people find out about goods and services these days. This means it’s important to understand how it will be used when considering a franchise. Are social media accounts set up for each individual franchise? Or are they regional with a number of people sharing a page? Are there guideline for how to manage it? Both in practical terms and the protection of the businesses reputation.

Also on the subject of social media, it’s also worth having a look at posts and reviews about the business. This will give you an idea of the sort of reputation they have.

What happens if it doesn’t work out? Or if it does?

While it’s important to be positive we also need to protect ourselves if the worst should happen. Find out if you are able to sell the franchise if you no longer want to run it. If you are, do you need approval of the franchisors? Do they take a percentage of the sale price? If you just want to stop running the franchise, will you owe them anything? Some franchise contracts include an agreement that you will continue to pay the management fee. This can be until another franchisee is found or your contract expires.

On the other hand, if you still want to carry on when the contract expires, what are the renewal terms? Is renewal automatic. Is there a charge? Can they increase the management fee when you renew?

If you’re considering a franchise then check out our Eight Best Franchise Business Types for Mum  and our directory of franchise opportunities.

Considering a franchise? Here are 5 questions you need to ask.

Running baby and toddler classes

What’s it Really Like Running Baby and Toddler Classes?

Running baby and toddler classes is a popular choice for Mums who are looking for a business that will fit around their families. Weather you want to run them independently or through a franchise, here’s what you need to know.

It’s about the parents as much as the children

The classes might be for the children but it’s the Mums who make the decision to come. I attended a music class with my son for a couple of years. The class itself was pretty rubbish but it was such a lovely group of Mums that I kept going. If you can foster a nice atmosphere and discourage cliques, you’ll get more parents coming each each term.

If there is time during, or at the end of, your session for parents to chat that can help to develop a friendly group. Less formal meet ups at parks or soft plays during the school holidays also help. Mums of under 5s are often left with nothing to do when classes stop for the holidays.

Finding the Right venue is key

Venue hire is an odd business. Mostly it’s done as an add on to an organisation’s real business (church’s hiring out their halls, school’s hiring out their gyms) and that means price and terms vary massively. This means that shopping around is key.

For running baby and toddler classes you’ll need good parking (make sure that the car parking won’t be used for something else when your customers will want to use it), baby changing and a room without hazards. A cafe and are near by park are also bonuses.

You’ll also need to be happy with the person that you’re dealing with and their reliability. I viewed a hall which was perfect but rejected it because I found out that they cancelled all bookings if a funeral was taking place. I also moved on from a venue because the person I was supposed to collect the keys from was so often not in when I arrived.

Facebook is your frieNd when running baby AND TODDLER classes

When I ran baby and toddler classes, I got very few bookings until I started using Facebook. If you only have a small advertising budget then this is where you should spend it. I paid a lot for adverts on parenting websites and in parenting magazines. They were all wasted money when compared to the number of bookings I got through Facebook.

There are also lots of free ways to advertise on Facebook. Every area has lots of Facebook parenting groups where you can post about your classes (just not enough to annoy people). You can also get your friends on board with spreading the word by asking them to share your posts

You’ll get recognised in the street (aNd you’ll feel a bit famous!)

Who knew that running baby and toddler classes could make you famous! The baby and toddler world is surprisingly small. I would often run into my customers when I was out and about. There’s nothing quite like having a toddler run up to you in the library and give you a big hug because they know you from your class.

Your own children will love it

When I first started developing my classes I would try my ideas out on my kids. Soon I found myself running baby and toddler classes everyday at home because my baby and toddler loved it! It was a great way to practice my songs but it did get a bit old in the end.

If you think you might enjoy running baby and toddler classes then have a look at the stories on our classes and education page or, if you think you’d like to go down the franchise route then you can check out our franchisees stories.

Running a Pink Spaghetti Franchisee

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Laura and I am married to Ricky, a head chef, and we have 2 children – Gracie is 4 and started big school in Sept, and Poppy is 19 months and at nursery. We live in Ashford (Surrey not Kent) in a 3 bed semi. We are both born and bred in West London but moved to Ashford 10 years ago. It’s a lovely place to live and has a close focus on family life which we love.

What’s your business called?
Pink Spaghetti

Can you describe it in one sentence?
We are the 25th hr in your day. A pick up, put down PA service as and when you need, helping busy people with their home and business needs.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I started Pink Spaghetti in Sept 2016 so it’s relatively new.

I was feeding my youngest in Chessington World of Adventures and looking through a parenting forum. It was about 6 months from my return to work and I was having that wobble….”I can’t possibly go back to work, my babies need me at home!”. I saw a post on a forum from another Mother with the same dilemma and someone had mentioned Pink Spaghetti Virtual PA’s. I didn’t even know what a VPA was so I looked Pink Spaghetti up and loved what they did. I had been a working Mum, the pull between work and home is intense sometimes and there’s a real frustration around not being able to do it all! I loved the solution they offered – an extra pair of hands to give you that 25th hour in the day. It was such a simple idea, but for small businesses who don’t have the finance or the inclination to hire a full or part-time member of staff, paying for someone by the hour as and when it’s needed, is a great solution!

I started to think about whether I could be the VPA offering that help to small businesses. I worked in Market Research and had been with the same company for 9 years, and in the industry for 15 years. I was ready for a change and needed one too – with school hours looming as my eldest was due to start school in September, I needed a job where I could get in after the school drop off, and leave early to collect her. Where in the world would I find a job with that much flexibility?!

I couldn’t put the Pink Spaghetti idea down. It would be a huge change – was I ready? Did I want to give up my career? Joining the team meant buying into a franchise, did I want to own my own business? Could I afford the initial outlay? I’m not a risk taker, and walking away from my career felt risky. But my gut said it was the right move – for me, for family life. I am that person that has a to-do list on the go 24/7. I love to organise people. I enjoy creating processes and procedures for new ways of doings things. My filing system at home means I can lay my hands on paperwork from 5 years ago at the click of my husband’s fingers. I had the right transferrable skills. I couldn’t think of a reason not to do it!

How did you fund your start up?
Savings! I am boring and sensible and always make sure I’m putting something into savings each month so I took it from there and told myself it would be an investment.

How do you manage working around your children?
My youngest is at nursery and so I have childcare for her Mon-Thurs. My eldest is at school so she’s there 5 days a week. I work after dropping them off and stop once I do the school run. I often log back in, in the evening – it’s a compromise that means I get to be the one at the school gates dropping off and picking up, I was adamant I wanted to do that!

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I don’t have a typical day – every day is so different and that’s what I love. Some days are spent building my business, so I might be networking and meeting new people, or planning my marketing for the next month. Other days are purely client work so it’s head down and crack on – I might be working on someone’s social media accounts, doing some research for them, basic bookkeeping, decluttering their office space, writing a newsletter for them, building a client database etc.

I’m very structured with my time, I time box so I decide before I get started what needs doing that day and how much time I’m going to dedicate to each task. The internet is such a useful tool but it’s like a blackhole so I time myself when I’m on it!

I LOVE being a VPA, the feedback I get from clients is motivating – when I’m told they couldn’t have managed ‘that’ crunch without me, they hate book-keeping and are grateful I took it on, they love their new Facebook and Twitter pages that I’ve re-branded, they wouldn’t have had time to do that research that I did on their behalf, they couldn’t have re-organised their home office the way I did. That feedback coupled with being at home when the girls are in from school and nursery, is priceless.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Getting started has been tough at times and starting from scratch with no clients is frightening, but you have to be patient and put in lots of hard work upfront – lots of getting myself out there, constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and lots of networking and 121’s with other local business owners.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Total freedom with my time, while making something of myself. I didn’t want to choose between being a Mum and working, and now I don’t. I am there for the children when they’re not in nursery and school, but when they are, I am a business owner who makes life easier for other businesses – it’s incredibly rewarding and I feel like I get to have my cake and eat it.

What are your plans for the future?
To grow steadily, have a constant and reliable source of work, to make a real difference to my clients, and eventually to hire staff and expand – the sky’s the limit!

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Make sure it’s the right decision – do your sums and think about it from every angle. Talk to people, get advice and know exactly what you’re signing up to – you don’t want any nasty surprises. If you do jump in with both feet, hold on tight, be bold and enjoy the ride!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Pink Spaghetti was the right choice for me because they have been, and continue to be, incredibly supportive. I owe my fabulous start to the franchisors, Caroline & Vicky.

Pink spaghetti franchisers

Creating a Franchise: Pink Spaghetti PA Services

Becoming franchisers is something that many small businesses consider as a method for growth, Caroline and Vicky from Pink Spaghetti PA Services have done just that.

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Caroline Gowing, 44, Mum to Charlotte, 12 and Imogen, 9, wife to Pete
Vicky Matthews, 44, Mum to Holly, 12 and Tom, 7, wife to Chris.
We both live in Cheshire

What’s your business called?
Pink Spaghetti PA Services

Can you describe it in one sentence?
We offer small business owners the elusive 25th hour in the day for their business and domestic tasks.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
We started Pink Spaghetti in 2009. We were inspired by the need for flexibility in our working life, where children and long hours simply did not mix.

How did you fund your start up?
We funded our start up from savings, and budgeted very wisely!

How do you manage working around your children?
Our business is based on flexible working. Our phone systems allow us to only answer a call if we are free from screaming or giggling children, we use technology so we can work from play bars or a home office, our work can be done mainly in the hours we choose, so during school hours, or very early/late during the holidays. We are at every school run, assembly and sports day and we are proud of that.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Every day is a varied one! For customers we may be doing book keeping, writing social media posts or researching a holiday. To build the business we will be doing marketing, lots of networking and social media. As we run a franchise we also have lots of contact with our franchisees, training and supporting. Every day is varied, without a doubt!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Growth has been a challenge for us, trying to balance bringing on staff but only when we are sure. We are both risk averse, so we use a lot of talking, reporting and planning to make sure this is done at the correct time, supporting the growth but making sure we will still get paid after the staff do!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Flexibility! All our franchisees have this flexibility too. Every hour you work is for yourself not for someone else – that is so valuable. Neither of us would ever go back to corporate life.

What are your plans for the future?
We are building our franchise offering steadily. We currently have 24 franchise areas across the UK, and we aim to grow that next year – we have another three going live in January 2017.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Go for it! Take advice, don’t plan too much but deal with everything as it comes in, and be prepared to take your business in a direction you don’t expect, if customers want something slightly different to what you thought they would want.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
We have this year won Working Mums Most Supportive Franchisor award, and the Smith & Henderson best new entry award to franchising. In 2014 we won the EWIF (encouraging women into franchising) award for best new franchise, sponsored by McDonalds. We have been finalists in many more awards.

Mum working on her franchising

Franchising and Licensing – What’s it all about

Most people have heard of franchising and licensing but not everyone understands what the terms really mean and what the differences are. Both can offer opportunities to Mums who are looking to start a business.

Franchising and licensing are both ways for businesses to leverage their success. They do this by allowing other people to use the knowledge, branding, intellectual property or business model that they’ve developed. These methods can offer a route to expansion in businesses that are “local” by nature and so don’t lend themselves to national expansion.

Licensing takes quite a hands off approach. The licensor grants someone permission to use something, a design or intellectual property, for a set period. They don’t offer any on going support to the licensee and have no say in how the businesses are operated. Licensees usually have no limits to the area in which they run their businesses and don’t Pay management fees.

Franchising is more like running an independent branch of a business. Franchisees are usually granted the right to run the business in a specified territory, for a specific period of time. There is an initial payment to purchase the franchise (anything from a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds). This is then followed by an ongoing management fee, either a set amount or a percentage of sales. Franchisers retain much more control than licensors and franchisees are usually expected to run the business in a particular way. They often follow a manual, to ensure consistency across franchises. Franchisers will provide ongoing support for their franchisees to make sure that they are able to operate correctly. Franchisers also sometimes make additional money from franchisees by selling items that they use to run the busines. These might be branded merchandise that franchisees can sell on. Franchisees can usually sell on their franchise although the franchisor may include some limitations on this. They might insist on a certain amount of time running before it can be sold and will probably want to approve the buyer.

If you’d like to read more about Mums running franchises check out Claire’s story of running a Talking Tots franchise or my story about running a Mum2mum Market franchise. You could also have a look at our franchise business types for mums.

Both licensing and franchising offer a way in to business using something that has been tried and tested. Licensing can work well if there’s a great product or service that you want to bring to a market. Franchising allows you to start a business that you know has the potential to be successful along with getting some support to run it. You can find out more about franchising from The British Franchise Association.

If you’re trying to decide if a franchise business is right for you our course “Business for Mums: Finding the right idea for you” can help.

Franchising and licensing


Tally toes toddler dance classes

Running Baby & Toddler Dance Classes – Tappy Toes with Emma

If you love dance then running baby and toddler dance classes might be a great business option for you, check out Emma’s story of doing just that.


What’s your business called?

Tappy Toes

Can you describe it in one sentence?

A unique and captivating baby and toddler dance classes, for babies and toddlers and their parents/carers.

When did you start it and what inspired you?

I started training in January 2015 and started running classes in April 2015.
I used to be a Primary school teacher which I loved. I worked in two Outstanding Primary schools with children from aged 5 to 11. After having my two girls I really wanted to work part time during school hours so that I could still spend some time with them. A friend of mine was starting Tappy Toes and she suggested that I look into it as she knew I loved teaching and enjoyed sport. Once I researched Tappy Toes I knew it was the one for me! I loved the syllabus and was confident with the teaching. I also thought the challenge of running my own franchise would be a great opportunity.


How did you fund your starting up your toddler dance classes?

I had to borrow money to buy the franchise and the equipment I needed.


How do you manage working around your children?

My Mum has been a great help looking after my youngest daughter one day a week. She also goes to nursery for 3 half days a week. My eldest has just started school so Tappy Toes classes fit perfectly into the school day. I manage to do my accounts and admin work in the evenings and I do my planning for the week at the weekend. As my children get older I will have more time in the week to run more classes and do my planning during the week. Tappy Toes is fantastic for me, not only because I love the teaching but I can choose my class times and make it work for me and my family.


Can you describe a typical day?

My Mondays are always ‘go, go, go!’ I start by getting myself ready, making breakfast for my family (and packed lunches for those who need them) and then I wake the girls and get them ready. After breakfast we pile into the car and take my eldest daughter to school. On return, I tidy up while my youngest plays (or tries to help!) and then I get my Tappy Toes bags ready. My Mum arrives to look after Emily and I go off to run my first two classes. I then have an hour for lunch where I grab some shopping from a supermarket or take my neighbours dog for a walk. My afternoon class starts at 1.30pm and then I am back home at 2.45pm. After a quick change and a goodbye to Granny, we go and pick up Daisy from school and take her straight to gymnastics. We arrive home by 5.30pm, the girls have tea and a bit of down time. They are usually in bed at 7pm and I eat with my husband when he comes home from work.

Wednesdays are very different as both girls are at school/nursery. I then run Tappy Toes at two different nurseries which I really enjoy. The classes are much larger but the nursery teachers join in too and I love being part of the school family again. I have a little time to play with Emily when I pick her up before the afternoon school run.


What have you found hardest?

The hardest thing at the beginning was finding the time to advertise the new classes and respond to every call, email and message. I have learnt to manage my time better and as my girls get older, this is getting easier.


What’s the best thing about Running toddler dance classes?

I love being part of the Tappy Toes team but also being able to make my own decisions on when and where I run classes so that I can give my best to them. I am pretty self motivated and have high standards which I think is important if you are self employed.


What are your plans for the future?

I plan to open more classes in other areas so that even more little ones can enjoy Tappy Toes! Also to do more parties as the few I have done so far have been fantastic fun.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
Make sure you have at least a whole term for training, planning, preparing and advertising before you actually start your classes. I did this and it was a huge help.


Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

The best thing about Tappy Toes really is the difference I make to the children and their parents. I see so many happy faces, children having fun, little ones gaining confidence and parents proud as punch as they watch on.

Looking for Mum’s business inspiration? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can also check out the other stories of mums running baby and toddler classes.