The Franchise Owner’s Guide To Storefront Awnings

As a franchise owner, everything you need to know about your business starts with corporate headquarters. Your franchise agreement comes with plenty of paperwork, including requirements that govern construction or build-out of your new store. That includes storefront awnings, which are an integral part of your building’s exterior.

Awnings give your place a unique “presence” and they provide instant brand identification for your franchise. Each company addresses awnings a little differently, in part because every franchise has a very different look. You may have received detailed specifications you’re expected to follow, or you may have been given only general guidelines.

You can’t always adhere to every detail.

Physical locations differ in several ways, whether your store will be a pad-built free-standing building or you’ll occupy tenant space on the street level of a multi-use commercial building. Key location factors that affect your storefront awnings include:

  • Local weather.
  • Other environmental factors.
  • Local building and zoning codes.

These factors determine the extent of your façade and how it’s configured. If you’re a tenant, you’ll have to work around existing exterior architectural details, lighting fixtures, etc., whereas with new construction you have more latitude to match corporate awning specifications. Location factors affect the number of entrances your store has, how people approach your store and the distance from which you can be seen.

Weather and geographic factors affect your awning’s performance requirements. Here in the New York area, for instance, harsh extremes of temperature from summer to winter plus the threat of high winds and the weight of snow are all important considerations. Further, your store may also be subject to high levels of grit, salt or moisture that can wreak havoc on storefront awnings constructed with improper materials or structural design.

You need a local expert.

The marketing and construction managers at your franchise headquarters know all this, and they’re prepared to approve necessary modifications – as long as you don’t sacrifice elements they consider essential to franchise branding.

A local commercial awning professional knows local regulations and conditions like the back of their hand. They can make recommendations about structural design, materials, fabrication and installation techniques that will keep branding intact while allowing for creativity and ensuring your storefront awnings comply with all the rules.

That’s one reason franchise owners choose to work with awning company right from the start.

Franchisors prefer to work with local experts, too.

They’re probably juggling several franchise construction or remodel projects simultaneously. They can’t be everywhere, and their offices may be a long distance from your location. Having someone on the ground in your locale who knows the territory saves everyone time, frustration and the risk of making a costly mistake.

Be sure to choose an awning company that has experience working with franchises, so you won’t be their “guinea pig.” It’s a different process than if you were simply working on your own to design and build your storefront awnings, so you need someone who can work successfully with multiple decision makers to complete a project. You also want a full-service company that has the skill and facilities to can handle every detail from concept through installation.

Your local expert will serve as liaison between you as the franchise owner and corporate personnel, interpreting rules and specs, providing technical assistance in the way of autoCAD drawings for proposed storefront awnings, and so on. For you, they’ll provide full color renderings that show exactly how your awnings will look when they’re installed.

They can navigate the local permitting process efficiently to avoid delays and coordinate with local construction crew to ensure awning fabrication meets their schedule. They’ll send their own experienced, OSHA-certified crews to install your awnings.

No matter how complex storefront awnings may have seemed at first, with a local expert at your side, every detail will be just right.

Franchise ideas for Storefront awning