Before you Buy a Coffee Shop Franchise in Vancouver – Commercial Agents

Buyers Beware

A lot of people will start looking for a business to purchase on their own.  They might search the net for ‘coffee shop franchise Vancouver’ and up comes a bunch of ‘stuff’ – mainly private websites of commercial agents who are listing coffee shop franchises for sale.  So, you look around their sites and you see that they have lots of listings so they must be good!  They must be great.  How could all those listings be there if they weren’t great? Don’t be too sure.  Also, be super cautious if an agent seems to only work with just a couple of chains (ie. Blenz only, Wave’s only, etc.)  This would indicate there ‘may’ be a back room relationship with head office and the agent and this may not be to your advantage.  You will learn why this is the case when we publish Part 2 “Before you Sell a Coffee Shop Franchise in Vancouver”.  We just ask that you, for now, not consider this an advantage until you learn more about the possible implications.

Let’s say you decide to move forward with such an agent.  Typically they are ‘double ending’ the deal so you should be extra careful that the agent is looking out for your interests. What ‘double-ending’ means is that they find the buyer themselves and get paid by the seller and since there isn’t another agent involved, they keep all the money themselves. $$Cha-CHING!$$

By law, this agent has a duty to protect both the buyer and the seller, but let’s be realistic – the agent gets paid when the store sells and usually the more it sells for the more money the agent makes.  Use caution. The agent may have very high integrity, but if that person doesn’t… yikes.  The VCSFA strongly, strongly recommends bringing in another commercial agent with whom you have trust to help you close the deal to make sure you are not buying a bad deal, especially if this is your first business purchase.  This is for YOUR protection and it’s worth it.  If the agent suddenly disappears when they find out you are bringing in another agent, you might want to question ‘why’.  A better strategy would be to not contact the agent first from his/her personal webpage or advertisement if you happen to find it on your own. Instead, find yourself a good commercial agent and then have that agent contact the seller’s agent on your behalf.  If that agent refuses to work with another agent, quietly contact the owner of the store and tell them what’s going on – they deserve to know that their agent is not looking out for their interests and turning away perfectly good buyers.  Yes, we are writing this because it really happens out there.

If you are looking for a professional agent to represent you during a purchase, please see our VCSFA Approved Agents listing who have proven to be professional and hold the interest of their clients at the top of their priority list.

If the agent is NOT listed here, and they are based in Vancouver you could contact us and we will research the agent and give our opinion.

Here are some questions you should have answered by a listing agent who is listing a coffee shop franchise in Vancouver before you decide to work with him/her regardless of how much you think you want the business that’s listed:

  1.  Is this agent on the VCSFA approved agent list?
  2.  If not, ask the agent why and have that agent contact us at for consideration of inclusion.
  3. Ask the agent to produce some reference from some buyers who bought a business through him and ask those buyers if they were satisfied with their experience.
  4. Check to see if the properties are listed on the ICX website as well as the place you found it.  If not, why? They could be avoiding other buyers with agents for the purpose of selfish gain, not the interest of their client, which would indicate this person may not be an agent you want to deal with.  NOTE: many agents do ‘exclusive listings’ but this is usually agreed upon with the listing story.
  5. Ask if they have any problem working with your agent (if you decide to contact them on your own).


2012/09/18Permalink Leave a comment

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