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Your all-in-one franchise onboarding roadmap

CoverPanda's onboarding roadmap for getting your franchise setup and open.

Congratulations! You've made the leap and are starting a new franchise venture! Now that you’ve committed to this new venture, you want to get your business open and generating revenue as soon as possible. But there’s so many steps for you to take to get from receiving a “welcome email” from your franchisor → grand opening day. CoverPanda simplifies your store onboarding roadmap, so you can focus on building a successful business.


In this document we will walkthrough each of the phases shown above:

Phase 1- Franchise Purchase Process

Starting your business the correct way is crucial and often overlooked. Begin these setup tasks even before you finalize your ADA purchase. As you finalize signing your ADA with your franchisor, CoverPanda helps you incorporate your business entity, and setup your business banking.
Franchise fees can be counted towards your required equity injection into the loan. Paying your franchise fees from your newly setup business bank account will save you hours of follow-ups from bank underwriters. Whereas paying your franchise fees out of a personal bank account creates muddy bank statements and paper trails to show business expenses that qualify as equity injections into your business.
Phase 1 action items:
Incorporate and register new business EIN: 1-2 weeks
Also recommended to register business for sales tax license
Apply and setup business bank and expense management accounts: 1-week
Fund business bank account with your franchise fees, before paying franchisor: 1-day

Phase 2- Intro to store planning & design

Timelines in the initial store onboarding process can get away from you and cause significant delays in getting to your grand opening day. Starting the loan application process immediately after signing will ensure you have the funds to build your location, even before having a signed lease. Starting to meet with real estate brokers and making offers on potential lease options immediately is recommended as well. A rule of thumb, it takes on average 30-days to finalize lease negotiations once you have made your initial offer. After obtaining a signed lease, there’s multiple aspects of your buildout process that can cause for additional delays. A franchisee that is timely in corresponding with various vendors involved in the buildout process, and avoids unnecessary delays, can expect the buildout→grand opening timeline to look similar to this:

Architectural Plans: 6-8 weeks
Most cities take 4-8 weeks - some of this time involves their requests for revisions and actual revisions being made to your architect plans
After the Plan Review, the city may have several revisions/changes needing to be made to your plans (this is normal). Request the city provide you with an "official" review letter so your architect can make the appropriate changes. This may take an additional 1-2 weeks for your architect to update plans.

Phase 3- Store buildout & final approval

Buildout process: 11-14 weeks
Shopping builder proposals & signing contract: 1-2 weeks
Buildout timeline: 10-12 weeks
City Building Permits, Business license, health inspections, and obtaining certificate of occupancy: 4-6 weeks
Final business permits are obtained after the buildout is complete.
Health inspection-
Schedule applicable health inspections throughout the buildout to verify compliance with approved plans
Business license-
There’s various names for this, depending on the state (business license, vendors license, retail tax license, etc).
This license allows you to make transactions as a business. You need to have this license before you can open for business.
Store Onboarding & prep for Grand Opening day: 1-2 weeks
Onboard new hires and setup payroll before your grand opening day.
Ensure all employees required new-hire documents and agreements are completed and stored before your business opens

Phase 4- Pre/Post Grand Opening Day

Complete employee orientation
Setup scheduling software
Verify all required vendor accounts are setup
Place grand opening inventory order

7 key steps to your franchise setup
Phase 1
Phase 1
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3
Phase 3
Phase 4
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