Richard Pakey argues that, contrary to popular belief, this long-held view is not entirely accurate. And here’s the reason why.
I have always believed that the support a franchisee receives, when he or she signs up to a tried and trusted brand, equates to that of a free lunch. You must first purchase a franchise, which allows you to enjoy the benefits of running your own company under the banner of a well-known brand, but with it comes free assistance from head office – whenever you need it.
This free assistance helps you to make the best decisions during the lifespan of your agreement. And there are other advantages too, as I will explain, with franchise consultants also playing their part in delivering free lunches to potential new business partners.
Free help from a franchise consultant
Franchise consultants are often the first point of contact for a budding franchisee. Many consultants are hired by brands to work on their behalf. Consultants may even have connections with a number of franchise brands, across different sectors, at any one time. And these same consultants will usually come clean with you during any direct communication. If they don’t, then always be prepared to ask them.
However, consultants are never going to recommend an unsuitable business partner to a franchisor, so you can guarantee their honesty. They won’t encourage you to join a particular brand if they don’t believe it’s the right choice for you. But they will point you in the right direction. Consultants can be found under a specific listing within most franchise directories.
The role of a franchise consultant
First and foremost, a consultant will help you to select the best franchise option for your needs. They are also free-agents who are in business to track down the right calibre of franchisee and then match them to a brand. They may be dealing with dozens of enquiries at any one time, and often for multiple brands. They will be searching for prospective franchisees which stand out from the crowd.
You will be asked questions such as these: What do you want to achieve out of a franchise? Will this particular franchise satisfy your lifestyle requirements? These are just two of many.
Consultants will ask you to disclose a whole range of information about yourself, during a meeting. This will include details of your work background or career history, whether as an employee or a self-employed person. They will want to know your skills, ambitions and even your ability to fund the early stages of your franchise business.
You may discover that you will need to acquire substantial financial assistance in the form of a bank loan. Some brands require more upfront cash than others. For example, it’s cheaper to work from home as a one-person business, than it is to rent office space and employ workers.
The more a franchise consultant can learn about your own individual circumstances, the more they can help you. But you will also want to ask questions to a consultant too. Meeting with, and chatting to, a franchise consultant is certainly no one-way street!
Don’t rush the deal
Many potential franchisees often fall at the first hurdle. Often their excitement can get the better of them. Buying a franchise should be a slow, deliberate process. Both franchisor and franchisee need to be certain that they are an ideal fit for each other. Any recruitment process needs to be worked through thoroughly, stage by stage, and a responsible franchise consultant will make certain this happens.
So how do franchise consultants get paid?
Franchised brands accept there are many benefits to hiring consultants to track down good calibre future business partners. Outsourcing certainly has value. Advertising and marketing is already well established to help potential franchisees seek out these consultants, or ‘middle-men’ as they are sometimes described.
Consultants handle the early stages of an enquiry before making their recommendations. There are plenty of follow-up meetings and telephone calls to make, before a consultant can confidently advise a potential franchisee on what their next course of action should be.
Franchisors are usually very happy to pay for the services of a consultant, whose advice to future business partners is free. So anyone considering joining the world of franchising should speak to a consultant as soon as possible. And don’t forget to treat any such conversations or telephone calls as similar to having a free lunch!