International Franchise Association (IFA) President Matthew Shay announced recently that plans are being finalized by the U.S. Bureau of the Census to include questions about franchising in the 2007 Census of Business.
The Economic Census, which is conducted every five years, provides a detailed portrait of the nation's economy based on surveys of more than five million businesses. The census is mandated by federal law and requires firms to respond or face penalties for failure to report.
Questions will be added to census forms that will allow businesses to answer the question whether the establishment was "operating under a trademark authorized by a franchisor" and if it is a "franchisee-owned establishment or franchisor-owned establishment."
IFA is the world's oldest and largest trade group representing the franchising sector. Its membership includes more than 1,000 franchisors, 8,000 franchisees and 400 suppliers. IFA has learned that the bureau plans to include franchise questions on the census forms for approximately 80 industry categories that have franchised businesses.
The IFA Educational Foundation's "Economic Impact of Franchised Businesses," published in 2004, documented the contributions of more than 760,000 franchises in more than 75 different business categories from quick-service restaurants and real estate agencies to auto repair shops and hotels. According to the study, which was based on 2001 data, franchised businesses accounted directly for nearly 10 million jobs and $625 billion in economic impact.
Economic Census forms will be mailed to more than five million companies in December of 2007 with a return deadline mid-February. The first summary results are usually available 12 to 18 months after the surveys are returned.
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