Written by
Matt Frentheway

The Difference Between Franchise Fees and Royalties

Franchise fees and royalties are two critical financial components in the franchising world, each serving a distinct purpose in the relationship between a franchisor and franchisee.

Franchise Fees: The Entry Cost

Franchise fees are the initial, up-front costs paid by a franchisee to a franchisor. This one-time payment grants the franchisee the license to use the franchisor's name, branding, and business model. Essentially, it's the cost of entry into the franchisor's system, covering the right to open and operate a franchise under the franchisor's brand. These fees contribute towards the franchisor's costs associated with providing the franchisee with initial support. This support might include training, marketing, site selection, and other essential services to get the franchise up and running. Franchise fees vary depending on the brand and the specific market, but they generally range from $20,000 to $50,000, with Master Franchises demanding fees of $100,000 or more due to their larger scale and territory.

Royalties: The Ongoing Contribution

Royalties, on the other hand, are ongoing fees paid by the franchisee to the franchisor. These are typically based on a percentage of the franchise's monthly or annual revenue. Royalties compensate the franchisor for continuous use of the brand, proprietary knowledge, and support services. These fees fund the ongoing support provided by the franchisor, including training, marketing, and operational assistance. Royalty rates vary but often range between 4% and 12% of revenue, reflecting the franchise's sector and revenue model. For example, high-volume businesses like food franchises might have lower percentage rates due to their significant sales volumes, while service-based franchises with potentially lower turnover might have higher rates.

The Balance Between Franchise Fees and Royalties

The relationship between franchise fees and royalties is crucial for both franchisors and franchisees. The initial franchise fee facilitates the establishment of the franchise, providing the franchisee with the necessary tools, brand recognition, and initial support to start their business. Royalties ensure the franchisee receives ongoing support, which is vital for maintaining service standards, brand integrity, and competitive edge.

In addition to these, franchisors may also charge marketing fees. These are often calculated as a percentage of monthly revenue and go towards national or regional advertising efforts to benefit the entire network. Like royalties, marketing fees are designed to sustain the brand's presence and attractiveness, potentially providing a good return on investment for individual franchisees through increased business.


While both franchise fees and royalties are essential, they serve different purposes. The franchise fee is a gatekeeper, ensuring that only serious, committed individuals gain entry into the franchisor's network. Royalties are the glue that maintains the relationship between franchisor and franchisee, ensuring ongoing support, brand development, and mutual profitability. Successful franchising requires a careful balance of these fees, with transparent, fair structures that enable both parties to thrive.

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Matt Frentheway

As a successful franchisee and entrepreneur, I can help you find the best opportunity to realize your dream of being a profitable franchise owner. Using my proven process as a franchise consultant, we’ll define your goals, narrow the field, and select the best franchisor for you to achieve financial freedom.