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Finance for your coffee franchise

Do you have a passion for coffee? Make everyone's work days a little bit brighter by starting your own coffee franchise.

There is no doubt that Kiwis love their coffee. This Kiwi devotion to caffeine is partly down to the satisfying experience of drinking a good coffee and partly due to the social aspect that comes with café culture.

If you’re passionate about coffee and would love to share your passion with the world – or with your local neighbourhood, at least – read on to find out how to obtain finance for a coffee franchise of your own.

Costs and profitability

How much does a coffee franchise cost in New Zealand?

Coffee franchises tend to come in two distinct flavours: mobile coffee vans and fixed-location cafés. Understandably, the initial cost for a coffee van may differ from that of a full-service café.

Example initial costs of a coffee van franchise:

  • Cafe2U mobile coffee franchises cost between $55,000 and $150,000 plus a monthly flat fee charge. Initial cost includes three weeks of training.

Example initial costs of a café franchise:

  • Sierra Coffee requires an initial investment of $150,000 for an espresso bar and $350,000 for a fully fitted café.
  • The Coffee Club is considered coffee elite and requires an initial investment of about $300,000–$450,000 depending on location and other factors.
  • Streetwise Coffee’s designer coffee outlets require an initial investment of around $155,000 plus GST.

What other costs do I need to consider?

The majority of franchise arrangements include ongoing royalty and support fees, which can either be calculated as a percentage of your revenue or at a fixed rate.

Other costs associated with purchasing a coffee franchise can include:

  • GST. If you buy an existing franchise that is already operating, GST will not be payable on the purchase price. On the other hand, when setting up a new franchise you will need to pay GST at the usual rate of 15% on the initial franchise fee. You can claim the amount paid as a credit on your first business activity statement but will need to wear the cost in the meantime.
  • Legal costs. Remember to factor in your own legal costs incurred in purchasing the franchise. Check the franchise agreement carefully as some franchisors will also pass on their legal costs to the buyer.
  • Working capital. Even after you have purchased your franchise and paid all the initial costs, you will still need cash on hand to finance the ongoing operation of your new business. This is referred to as working capital and it is a franchise expense that is often forgotten by new franchisees.

How profitable are coffee franchises?

As with other franchise opportunities, coffee franchisors will never state a guaranteed income or profit level as much of the profitability comes from the hard work and determination of the franchisee.

However, it’s general accepted that coffee van franchises require shorter hours than other small business owners, with the majority working five days a week from 6:30am until 1pm. But there is potential to earn additional money if you are willing to extend your working hours. If you’re franchising a mobile coffee van, this might include weekend events like markets and sporting events.

Brick and mortar coffee franchise

Finding coffee franchise finance

What options do I have for financing a coffee franchise?

Options for purchasing a coffee franchise include:

Franchise loan

A franchise loan is very similar to a standard business loan. The major difference is that a franchise loan allows a greater amount to be borrowed against the value of the business than if you are purchasing a non-franchise business.

As such, a smaller deposit or a lower amount of equity will be required when applying for a franchise loan compared to a regular business loan. Note that the value of the business will be determined by the bank and may not correspond with the agreed purchase price. Franchise loans usually range between 50 and 70% of the franchise cost.

The term of the franchise loan is directly related to the term of the franchise agreement, which is generally between five and 10 years and therefore shorter than a standard business loan term. The loan amount will cover all aspects of the purchase and initial set-up of the franchise but will not include working capital.

Franchise loan with franchisor on lender’s approved list

Some major lenders in New Zealand have a franchise accreditation programme, which is a list of franchisors that they perceive to be strong, low-risk business opportunities. While banks update their lists of approved franchises regularly, if you can identify a suitable lender you could potentially borrow up to 70% of the loan amount.

Business loan

A business loan requires residential property as security and has a standard loan term of 25 to 30 years. With an appropriate residential property as security you can potentially borrow up to 100% of the value of the loan.

Low entry coffee franchise finance

It may sound counterintuitive but it can be difficult to obtain finance for a franchise with a low entry fee. Some franchises, particularly those based on the provision of mobile services, like a coffee van, have a lower initial investment, making it difficult for potential franchisees to obtain finance. When it comes to franchise loans with a franchise that is on the lender’s approved list, a minimum initial investment of $250,000 is not uncommon. In this instance, a personal loan may be a better choice.

Savings or equity

While most people will need to borrow money to finance a new franchise, consider any savings or other liquid assets you could use rather than going into debt. You could also consider refinancing a residential property mortgage to free up some of your equity to purchase your franchise.

Family or personal finance

If you have a family member or friend who would be willing to lend you the money required to start up your new franchise, this could be an option to consider. However, ensure that any agreement is drawn up properly and that all parties are clear on the terms, including interest rates and the repayment schedule.

Franchisor finance

While not available in all types of franchises, some franchisors have recognised that potential franchisees find it difficult to obtain finance from banks and other major lenders. Some franchisors may provide other options for frustrated potential franchisees, including direct lending, stepped royalty payments and other schemes. Ensure you receive independent legal advice before entering into a franchisor finance agreement.

Compare these business loan options

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Min. Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Monthly Service Fee Application Fee
Simplify Commercial Vehicle Loan
6.25% - 14.5%
1 to 5 years
$100 - $500, depending on loan amount, lender and term
Eligibility: Must be 18+, a New Zealand resident or permanent citizen and have an income of at least $500 per month.
Secured vehicle finance from $5,000 to $500,000.
Lending Crowd Business Loan
6.89% - 20.26%
2, 3 or 5 years
$350 - $650 depending on your borrowed loan amount
Eligibility: Be an NZ resident/citizen and have a good credit score.
Secured and unsecured loans up to $200,000. 100% online with no paperwork or early repayment fees.
Prospa Small Business Loan
13.9% - 29.9%
Up to 24 months
2.5% of loan amount
Eligibility: Be 18+, be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, own a business with a valid NZBN.
Special offer: No repayments for the first 4 weeks on approved Prospa Business loans. T&Cs apply.
Prospa Plus Business Loan
13.9% - 29.9%
Up to 36 months
2.5% of loan amount
Eligibility: Be 18+, be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, own a business with a valid NZBN.
Special offer: No repayments for the first 4 weeks on approved Prospa Business loans. T&Cs apply.

What should I consider when comparing my financing options?

  • Loan term. Remember that the loan term of a franchise loan is linked to the term of the franchise agreement, whereas the loan term of the business loan can be up to 30 years.
  • Personal savings. Consider how much, if any, of your own personal savings you are willing to invest in a new franchise.
  • Loan amount. Will the amount of your loan be more than the minimum required for a franchise loan or business loan? If not, consider a personal loan.
  • Residential property. Are you willing to offer your residential property as security for a business loan? Alternatively, would you refinance your mortgage to free up your equity?
  • Interest rates. Compare interest rates between lenders and weigh this against other loan terms.
  • Approved franchises. Which lenders, if any, are actively looking to finance coffee franchises?

How do I get approved for finance?

  • If you are purchasing an existing coffee franchise, you will need to provide fully audited financial statements of the business for at least the last two years. This will include business bank statements, profit and loss statements, and business tax returns.
  • For a new franchise, you will need to provide financial information for yourself for at least the past two years. This will include your audited tax returns, pay slips if you are an employee or business financial information if you are self-employed.
  • You will also need to provide a business plan for the franchise, including projected sales and profits and cash flow forecasts.
  • In addition, update your CV to ensure that it contains all relevant business management experience along with any experience you have had in similar areas.

Once you have determined that your passion is enough to make you want to bring excellent coffee to the world, you then need to decide whether a coffee van or a fixed-location café will be the best franchise for you. Each option has its benefits, though the start-up costs of a coffee van franchise are considerably lower than a café.

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