Previously I’ve looked at some of the reasons behind the success rates of franchising and its continued growth through the last few years of economic difficulties. However, all of this is underpinned by franchising being operated properly: providing the right training, the right support, and the right opportunity for the right people.
If, after your research, you have found a franchise (or a few) that you are seriously considering you then need to make sure that the business is what it says it is. The recruitment process is a valuable stage in gauging this.
Any decent franchisor will have a recruitment process which will allow you to interview the company as much as the company interviews you. It is the process to ensure that both parties fully understand each other and that you are happy with the commitments, systems, support and operations that you are signing up to.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
As a franchisee you will be operating under a common brand along with other franchisees. You want to ensure that the others are just as conscientious about the protection and growth of the brand as you are; therefore be wary of any franchise that doesn’t seem that worried about how suitable you are for the business. If all they want is a pulse and a cheque, walk away!
Every franchisor needs to start somewhere, but they should be honest about what their experience of franchising is. Ask about length of operation, what difficulties they have faced and how long they ran the business before they franchised it.
You will have a close relationship with the franchisor and their staff – especially in the early days of getting you franchise operational. You want to be sure that you trust them and can work with them – it will make life a lot easier on both of you in the longer term.
How many franchisees have they recruited in the last 12 months and how many are they looking to recruit in the next 12 months? What is important is whether you believe that they have the right level of support for the network, now and in the future.
Every network will get failures at some point – unfortunately franchising is not a guarantee. What is important is why franchisees fail. Is it because the market changed; is it because the support wasn’t there; is it because the system doesn’t work; or is it because the franchisee simply didn’t do the work?
Operating franchisees in the network are one of the best resources in your research. Speak to as many as possible and get a realistic view of what life is like in the network. Don’t accept just one handed to you by the franchisor – what’s to say that they aren’t the only successful franchisee?
Meet the franchisor at the office, which could be anything from a home office to a large corporate HQ. Either way it will help better inform you about the business and whether it matches with what they have told you to date.
You may be asked to sign a non-disclosure document, which is quite common. However, don’t sign it unless you have fully read and understood it. You will also get a Franchise Agreement, which is the contract which binds the franchisor and franchisee. Do not sign this until you have had it checked by a professional franchise solicitor. A UK-wide directory of these is available on the bfa website or by clicking here.
You may be asked for a deposit. If they are a bfa member you can get this back if you decide not to sign the Agreement and pull out; however, the franchisor will be able to subtract a certain amount for costs they have incurred. Non-bfa members may take a very different approach.
Next time I’ll be concentrating on what you can expect from a franchisor as part of a typical recruitment process.