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What is franchising, a franchise, a franchisee?

Franchising is a powerful distribution system that offers small companies the chance to develop and prosper in the face of fierce competition, teaming up the economies of scale of big organizations with the initiative, dedication and commitment of individual business owners.

Anyone deciding to open a business via the franchising system buys a (franchise) license and becomes a franchisee.

The Mail Boxes Etc. business model offers three different types of licenses: master license, area franchise, individual franchise.

Mail Boxes Etc. also extends our more qualified franchisees the chance to buy the rights to a number of licenses and therefore open two or more stores.

Franchising enables enterprising individuals the chance to open up their own business, without many of the risks usually associated with a company’s start-up phase.

In addition to a ‘tried and true’ concept, professional training and on-going support, Mail Boxes Etc. offers franchise owners the chance to be independent business owners, while benefiting from the image and professionalism of one of the world’s leading franchising networks of business services.

What does it mean to become a master licensee?

Master licensing is the most commonly used and most effective method of expanding franchise systems internationally.

A master license (also known as a master franchise) holds the exclusive right to develop the MBE business throughout a country or group of countries.

In all countries outside the U.S., MBE development begins by granting a master license to qualified individuals, groups or companies residing in those countries.

The selected individual, group or company is called a master licensee and has the following responsibilities:

    • Open and operate the first MBE store in the country (pilot store).

    • Develop a strategy to suit the unique features of that country and expand the MBE network throughout the country or countries by selling franchises to other people within the country.

    • Provide training, guidance and support to all franchisees in the country or countries.

Master licensees choose and contract their own nationwide network. They set up a team to provide their franchisees with support and training, and designate a specific contact person for inquiries regarding becoming a potential individual, multiple or area franchisee.

Master licensees generate revenue by selling franchises, collecting royalties from the operation of MBE stores in their territory and from the operation of MBE stores owned and operated directly by the master licensee.

What is an area franchise?

An area franchise holds the right to sell and support MBE franchisees in conjunction with the master licensee.

An area franchisee will generally work within a certain territory, such as a province, or county, or in some cases, a whole country.

Area franchise opportunities are generally limited to countries and territories with high potential.

Area franchisees will also own and operate at least one MBE individual franchise.

To learn more about MBE franchise opportunities click here

How can I start an MBE business if there is not already an MBE store in my country?

MBE is committed to building a truly global franchising network. If there is no MBE store currently in your country, we could be planning to open one there soon. MBE begins in a new country by establishing a local master licensee. After the master licensee is in place, individual and multiple-unit franchise opportunities become available.

The master licensee usually has extensive knowledge of their country and can create a fitting development plan to suit the country’s unique features and mind-set.

To learn more about franchise and master license opportunities please complete and submit the Request For Information form or click here to see what opportunities are available in your country.

Will the MBE business concept work in my country?

At the present time, there are nearly 1,350 MBE stores operating in over 30 countries outside North America, with development agreements underway in many other countries.

Together with “The UPS Store” models operating in the USA and Canada, more than 6,000 stores apply this same business model.

The MBE concept has proven to be adaptable and flexible, working effectively in a wide variety of cultural and economic settings: developing countries, advanced economies and even countries in a state of transition or crisis.

MBE adjusts well internationally because it provides an extensive range of basic services needed by all businesses, as well as convenience-oriented consumers.

Why should I work with MBE instead of a competitor or opening my own non-franchised business?

MBE created this segment of business service retailing and franchising about 30 years ago.

With the experience of over 6,000 MBE stores (including “The UPS Store” units in the USA and Canada that share the same business model), MBE knows how to get a business open and operating effectively.

As a result of our training and support, you can spend less time making costly mistakes and more time building your business. MBE’s size and presence gives it negotiating leverage, purchasing power and collectively shared ideas and experiences which ensure you a competitive edge.

If you want to learn more about the advantages of being an MBE franchisee click here.

What is the relationship between The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc.?

After UPS purchased Mail Boxes Etc. Inc., a portion of the network consisting of more than 6,000 stores switched to “The UPS Store” (TUPSS) model, while others decided to remain under the Mail Boxes Etc. brand.

In May 2009, MBE Worldwide s.p.a. acquired the Mail Boxes Etc. international network, making it the franchisor for all locations outside the United States, Canada and India.

Those countries account for nearly 4,800 MBE and The UPS Store locations, all of which are still operated by UPS / Mail Boxes Inc. in San Diego. All other MBE countries fall under the jurisdiction of MBE Worldwide s.p.a., so there are now two networks joining forces.

How does MBE cooperate with national postal organizations?

The MBE concept operates in a complementary manner to the services of national postal organizations (PTT, etc.). In most countries, postal services are provided as a public or private monopoly. MBE’s services comply with the monopoly regulations of most countries.

More importantly, many postal administrations have recognized MBE’s benefits in the area of postage stamp distribution, post parcel service and mailbox services – all without any additional cost to the government or taxpayers.

MBE enjoys close strategic alliances with some of the world’s most progressive and successful national post offices.

What is the range of investment capital needed to open a franchise, master license or area franchise business?

Opening an MBE store franchise can require a start-up investment ranging from USD 50,000 to USD 200,000, and sometimes more. The investment amount varies depending on business costs in a particular country and the size and location of the MBE store. Most franchisees obtain start-up financing in countries where interest rates and lending practices are permissible. MBE also recommends that franchisees have access to sufficient working capital before starting the business.

A master licensee business is significantly larger than a single franchise in terms of opportunity, responsibility and investment. Starting a master licensee business generally involves an investment ranging from USD 500,000 to USD 2,000,000 or more, depending on the size and potential of the territory to be developed. This investment includes costs for opening a pilot store, establishing and maintaining a master licensee management team, adapting MBE models and systems and purchasing master license rights.

Area franchise investments generally fall somewhere in-between the investment required for a single franchise store and that of a master license. Area franchise investment levels will also vary depending on the size and potential of the area franchise territory in question.

All the above investment guidelines are to be considered rough estimates. Actual amounts may be higher or lower.

To begin the process of learning more about the actual investment required for your area of interest, please complete the Request For Information form. MBE Worldwide and / or the applicable master licensee will be happy to help you figure out the investment amount at a later stage in the process.

Is financing available to help start-up my MBE business?

Many countries, banks and other financial institutions have recognized the benefits associated with franchising. A number of banks have developed special financing programs for MBE franchise businesses.

In those countries where a Master Licensee exists, financial consultants are often available, sometimes even with the chance of direct financing under the portfolio of Headquarters’ support.

To learn more about financing opportunities in your country, please contact MBE  or the appropriate master licensee, if applicable.

There are already a number of MBE stores in my country, but not in my city. How do I know if it is worth opening one up?

At present, more than 6,000 stores operate under the MBE concept in over 30 countries throughout the world. This shows how flexible the business format is and how well it can be adapted to any type of cultural and economical setting.

Mail Boxes Etc. adapts to the local market because it offers an extensive range of basic services needed everywhere, to satisfy the needs of various targets: small and medium businesses, freelance and home-office professionals, as well as consumers.

What type of training and support can I expect to receive from MBE?

Specialized training is provided at every level of the MBE business: master licensee, individual franchisee store, multiple store franchisee, area franchisee and, of course, employees.

MBE has gained years of valuable experience on each level of business. All our training programs are designed to provide comprehensive understanding of the MBE business and the benefits of this experience.

MBE provides more than an initial training program, it entails an on-going training and development process to help each and every franchisee and licensee achieve the best results possible.

Pooling our knowledge and improving the skills of everyone in the network helps speed up the acquisition of know-how and revenue.

Training for individual and area franchisees is provided by the master license, in the territory in question, in the appropriate local language.

New master licensees will be trained by MBE Worldwide s.p.a. in Italy (in English).

There are already a couple of MBE stores in my city. How can I figure out if there is any potential for another one?

Each Mail Boxes Etc. store is promised an exclusive area, and no other MBE store can be opened in that particular area.

To obtain more information, please feel free to contact your Master Licensee.

I want to open up an MBE store. Can my Master Licensee help me select a location?

Depending on the specific features of your country, your Master Licensee, together with your Area Franchise, will help you find the most suitable site. They could also assist you in negotiating a leasing contract with the landlord and give you valuable advice from previous property negotiations.

If I want to get to know MBE better, what is my next step?

To contact us and receive additional information, please complete the Request For Information form.

If you want to find out what you need to do to become a part of the MBE franchise network, please consult the details listed here.


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The MBE stores are run by independent entrepreneurs who operate under the MBE brand as a result of a franchising contract. Services in the affiliated stores could vary from location to location. MBE and Mail Boxes Etc. are registered trademarks, licensed by permission from MBE Worldwide s.p.a. All rights reserved.

I Centri MBE sono gestiti da imprenditori indipendenti che operano sotto il marchio MBE per effetto di un contratto di franchising. I servizi nei Centri affiliati possono variare a seconda dei punti vendita. MBE e Mail Boxes Etc. sono Marchi registrati e utilizzati per concessione di MBE Worldwide s.p.a. Tutti i diritti sono riservati

MBE Worldwide S.P.A.
Sede Legale: V.le Lunigiana 35/37 - 20125 Milano (IT) - Capitale Sociale € 171.430,00 i.v.
R.E.A. Milano N. 1818225 – Registro delle Imprese di Milano e Cod. Fisc./P.IVA 05393070965
Tel. +39 02 67.625.777 – fax +39 02 67.625.778