Many franchisors face this same predicament. Not only are restaurant franchises resold every day, but it is very common to see all types of franchises for sale on the resale market.
The absolute first thing that you must do is to contact your franchisor. Do not be embarrassed! Franchisors expect that a certain percentage of their franchisees will someday want to sell their franchise. It is normal. There are many reasons for a franchisee to want to sell a franchise. Your reason for wanting to sell is probably a legitimate reason, something that the franchisor has probably heard many times before.
But probably the biggest reason that you need to contact your franchisor is that many franchisors will impose restrictions on franchise re-sales. For the most part these restrictions will follow closely with their existing guidelines used for recruiting a new franchisee. They just want the ability to approve any new franchisee.
Are you prepared to sell your franchise? Do you know what your franchise is worth? Will you need to carry financing? Is your financial information up to date? Have you talked with your attorney about the correct from of structure for a sale (asset based vs. stock based)? Are there property lease considerations? Will your landlord allow an assumption of your lease?
You have got to know the answers to these questions. Make sure that you are properly prepared to sell your franchise. You will need to research the marketplace in order to establish a price point. You may wish to talk to a Business Broker or other informed expert for guidance. Check with your accountant. He or she has probably seen a business or two that has been sold over the years. Lean on those around you for good quality advice.
Looking at many franchisor web sites over the last few months, many sites include a section on their web site for franchise re-sales. Consequently, your franchisor may be able to help you market your franchise for sale to others. There are other ways to sell an existing franchise. A good old fashioned newspaper ad can work. A more progressive way is to advertise your franchise for sale online with a web site that is designed to market your franchise. An example would be The Business Market which has a number of existing franchises for sale.
So don’t be embarrassed... be proactive! You can do it!