Understanding ROBS Financing for Your New Franchise Venture


If you’re considering opening a franchise but are unsure about funding options, the Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS) program could be a game-changer. It’s a powerful yet often underutilized tool that allows aspiring franchise owners to tap into their retirement funds without incurring early withdrawal penalties or taxes. Here’s a breakdown of how it works and what you need to know.

What is ROBS?

ROBS is a financing solution that lets you use your retirement savings to start or buy a business. The process involves rolling over your existing retirement funds into a new 401(k) plan that is connected to your new franchise business. This plan then purchases stock in your business, effectively channeling your retirement funds into your new venture without triggering early withdrawal penalties.

The Process in a Nutshell

  1. Establish a C-Corporation: First, you’ll need to set up a C-Corporation since only C-Corps can issue stock which your 401(k) can purchase.
  2. Create a New 401(k) Plan: Your new corporation sets up a 401(k) plan that allows for investment in employer stock.
  3. Roll Over Your Funds: You then roll over your existing retirement funds into this new 401(k) plan.
  4. Invest in Your Business: The 401(k) plan uses the rolled-over funds to buy stock in your C-Corporation, providing it with the capital needed.
  5. Use the Funds for Business: The capital raised can be used for any business-related expenses, from purchasing a franchise to covering startup costs.

Why Choose ROBS?

  • No Debt or Interest: Unlike a loan, ROBS doesn’t create debt or require interest payments, which can be a relief for new business owners.
  • Immediate Access to Funds: It provides immediate access to your funds, giving you a quicker start in launching your franchise.
  • Retirement Funds at Work: It’s a way to invest your retirement savings directly into your own business, potentially yielding higher returns than traditional retirement investments.

Key Considerations

  • Compliance is Critical: ROBS requires strict adherence to IRS and Department of Labor guidelines. Non-compliance can lead to hefty penalties.
  • Risk to Retirement Funds: You’re investing your retirement savings, so if the business fails, it can impact your retirement security.
  • Setup and Ongoing Fees: There are costs associated with setting up and maintaining a ROBS arrangement, which you should factor into your decision.


ROBS financing can be a powerful tool for launching your franchise venture, especially if traditional financing routes are not viable or attractive. It’s a way to leverage your existing resources without taking on debt, allowing for a potentially smoother startup phase. However, it’s not without risks and complexities. Consulting with financial and legal experts specializing in ROBS arrangements is crucial to navigate this process effectively and compliantly. We can get you in touch with organizations that specialize in ROBS for franchises. With the right approach and guidance, ROBS can turn your franchise dream into a reality, using the resources you’ve already built for your future.

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