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It is free of charge and allows others to place their business on the ground in your city. If any of your friends has an empty lot, you can place your business there and run it from your franchise headquarters. Placing a business in a neighbor's city will cost 80% of the price as if you would have placed it in your city. After you have placed a business on an empty lot for the first time, you will find a corresponding headquater in your inventory that you can place in your town.
You will get an daily bonus for every placed business and you can supply your businesses each day with goods which gives you a monetary reward. Your business on the neighbours cities are your franchises. Depending on which business you placed you will get a different amount of money.
Maximising potential of your empty lotEdit
When you place an empty lot in your city, your neighbors will have the option of expanding their business franchise. When you next log into the game, you will be asked to accept or decline your neighbor's request to use your empty lot for their business. It is worth considering this before you accept. If you usually like to focus on big businesses, and smaller businesses such as bakeries and florists are a burden to your energy pool, then you may want to decline any businesses which won't benefit you..
You may also want to consider arranging a "trade" with other players - you could provide them an empty lot in your city in exchange for an empty lot in theirs. This way you are guaranteeing that you will expand your own franchise.
Choosing a franchiseEdit
When you find an empty lot in a friend's city, you can click on it and choose to expand your own franchise. You should consider which franchise would be most beneficial. Expensive businesses such as cinemas cost 80,000 coins per build, and that will quickly add up when you try and expand your franchise to other friends' zones. However, on the opposite end, bakeries are very cheap to expand but don't have a great profit return. It is about finding a happy medium - one which you will be able to afford to expand, and which will return a good profit whilst not consuming all of your goods.
Empty lot limitsEdit
There is a limit to how many empty lots you are allowed to have in your city. Because of this, be careful to make sure you accept the best possible businesses that your friends attempt to franchise.
According to Cityville tech support, players start with a limit of 1 lot. The limit goes up by 1 lot for every 3 friends the player has (not counting Samantha). For example, a player with 11 friends will have a limit of 4 lots in their city (the starting lot + 3 additional lots awarded from the number of friends). As soon as the player adds a 12th friend the limit will go up to 5. There is a limit of 20 empty lots and franchises total per city.