My thoughts on a franchise. - If you were in corporate and have no experience doing appliances, you will be relying on you workers for your income. I would suggest that you first invest some money and attend some classes from the major manufactures, an appliance college like Freds, or at least try to understand what you are getting into. I used to work for a big company, and I had a service force under me. I trained them, and Knew what they were doing wrong or right. If you are trying to run an appliance business with no core knowledge of appliance repair itself, that would put you in a position where employees could easily pull the so called "wool over your eyes".
My decision was easy when I decided to start my business......... Company was out of business, I could either go with another company (which I could have) or start my own. I did look at an existing company that was for sale, and did check out franchises, but in the end I decided to do it on my own. Which now I am so glad I did it the way I did. No franchise fees, no conforming to certain things I disagree with. I do know a Subway owner who can't vary his menu at all. He wanted to sell some kind of dessert and Subway told him he couldn't do it.
Now, If you would attend some classes, get a feel for it from a management standpoint, you might be better off. As someone who used to run a service staff, I can tell you it is far better to have knowledge of what your men (or women) are repairing and what is involved than to be totally out of Sorts on the repairs. Being in corporate, you probably have the management skills, you need understanding of this type of business. Maybe then it would be easier to decide if you wanted to try a franchise or try opening one on your own without franchise help.
Since you would have to hire experienced help, maybe I would try running an ad in local papers and take some applications for potential help. Tell them it will be a new company. See what kind of response you get. I will tell you this. Most of the good techs in my area have their own companies. In this business, if one of your guys start getting good, and start getting a customer base of their own together, Often times they leave. I can think off the top of my head at least 6 of the guys I hired years ago that have gone on to start and run their own companies. That helps, I have lots of friends in my area and can pick their brains if necessary and they call and I help them. You have to consider this, or pay them so good they wouldn't want to leave you. Some guys are contented with working for a company (big or small) and don't have either the motivation or desire to go off on their own. This is the type of person you will need to hire. It's bad news if you start getting a great deal of work and then have a tech or two quit on you. It's not as easy to find experienced guys in this field as you think it would be. You have to make it so good for them they wouldn't want to leave.
These are some of your challenges as I see them. There is a ton of experience and knowledge to be found on this board. I learn alot from reading here. One thing I have learned in 40 years of doing repairs......... I still have alot to always learn. The day you think you know everything is the day you will get stumped and feel like a beginner. That is the nature of what appliance repair is. So, whether to go franchise or on you own is up to you. Franchise will lay everything out to you, you won't have to do much to get rolling except supply cash, and just conform to their directives. On your own, You can run the business as you want to. Not be restriced by the franchise agreement you will have to sign. Your biggest problem will be marketing the business in either case. Lots of options .
Good luck, and remember there is always plenty of help and input from the people on this websight. You need a consultant? Might do you well to get someone from this websight. I'd be available for the right compensation. .......... LOL. just kidding. On a serious note to close, Sounds like you might have the right management capabilities, Just get yourself educated a litte first before you take the plunge. ...............