What training should I expect when I join a franchise?

A critical part of a franchise model is how the franchisor is going to teach you how to operate your franchise and to deliver your business.

What training should I expect when I join a franchise?

There are no rules about what a franchisor must offer, how it is offered, or how much, when and where. It is one of those key questions you should ask prior to signing up.

Most franchisors are great at their business – their success is often why they are franchising. Sadly, being great at business does not make you great at training that business. Many people will recall a time of sitting alongside the best person in the job, only to find that they weren’t the best person to relay how it’s done. This ‘sitting with Nelly’ approach is great – if Nelly knows how to train.

My first question of a franchisor is who delivers the training, what is involved and how much time is involved?

How much training

Find out how much training you’re going to be offered before you launch your business. Of importance is whether you have learnt and understood a number of aspects of the business before you open your doors, online, physically or metaphorically.

Does the amount of time you’re going to be attending training feel right? Maybe ask for an overview of what is covered. Even if you’re skilled in an area, attend it all – honing your skills is as important as learning new ones.


I think that franchisors need to train franchisees all aspects of the business, unless there is some skill that you bring already, for example. Not just how to deliver the core bit – the whole story of how to run a successful business from sales and marketing to accounting, legal responsibilities, health & safety, reporting, recruiting and managing staff if required and everything that goes with that.


My feeling is that you should have had at least initial training on any technology you will be required to use. Experience tells me, however, that until you use that tech in real life you will really only understand how to turn it on and off and what you should see on the screen.

I think users should understand what it is that any software is going to deliver to me and how they will be expected to use it – and to have some form of guide for when they go live. That could be a human or the operations manual, of course. However intuitive as system is, understanding what, why and how is really important.

Often there are several bits of software needed in the business and trainees should be made comfortable with all of these during the training process – whether that’s at induction or ongoing.

Online delivery

Of course, in this new age where Zoom and online training are prevalent, a large portion, if not all training, might be delivered online. Indeed, there are franchisors who haven’t met their franchisees face to face!

Online lends itself to flexible timing, bite sized sessions rather that hot-housing in a classroom, low cost with no travelling and, done right, it can be fun and interactive. Done badly, however, it can be worse than no training.

The style of training must suit you, as the learner. If you know you struggle, for example, with reading material only, find out if there’s an alternative and discuss this – the training is for you – and you’re paying for it. Make it work for you.

Business culture

Online training is missing the human element – the other bits that you learn when you’re face to face. The culture of a company is very difficult to assess from a video call – and there are no coffee break moments that help learners who might be shy and/or struggling with the content.
I think you can tell a lot from the interaction in training – even if it’s not company’s offices.

I am a bit judgemental, but I assess the value of the information provided in advance – helping the trainee to feel as comfortable as possible. What instructions did you get – and what was missing?

The quality of catering is also an indicator. Not being offered a coffee when you arrive, a quick guide to your surroundings – where’s the loo? If you’re going to be fed, a cheap lunch is very telling. Equally an extravagant and very long lunch boozy tells it’s own story.

There are other things to look at too. If you’re in the offices – are the loos clean? (Mentioning the loo twice in one article may be fussy!) Are the staff apparently happy and helpful? Is technology current? And are the passwords written on yellow sticky notes?

That’s why I like some face-to-face training as part of the induction – because you learn a lot more than the training content itself.

Questions to ask

When you’re told what the training will be, the questions would be – will I be able to run my business then? Have you delivered this before and what was the biggest challenge franchisees faced as they were released from training? And what happens if I don’t get it first time – is there anything ongoing?

On the topic of questions, prepare a list in advance – just like an interview. What do you want to know by the time you leave the training? And tick this off as your questions are answered. That way you know you have what you need as well as what the trainer planned to deliver.

Overall, the goal of the training, however it is delivered, it for you to be able to deliver the business in whatever form is prescribed. And the majority of franchised business excel at this – just weed out the ones that don’t.

Louise Harris
Louise Harris