Finding a franchisor that’s a pillar of support

One of the most valuable things you purchase when buying into a franchise is its support system. That's why it's important to ensure you're getting value for money

Finding a franchisor that’s a pillar of support

Increasingly franchisors’ offerings are being wrapped in glossy packaging designed to tempt and excite potential franchisees. Despite the fact it can be a heady time choosing a franchise brand to work with, it pays to remember that this cosmetic lift only goes skin deep. As part of your due diligence, you should look at the support you will receive once you have signed on the dotted line.

Questioning the franchisor about the level of support they will deliver is important. I know that the level of support varies hugely in my industry. While I have a team of 20 central-office support staff, some of my competitors have three. Clearly the support you receive can differ enormously. So how can you find out what is in store for you once a deal has been struck?

When you’re asking questions, the contract is a good place for you to start. It should outline the basic level of support that you will receive and give you a very good insight into what you can expect down the line. As a result it’s essential you make sure that you read and understand this important legal document.

Next, check what training you will get. Training will be split into initial and ongoing training. The initial training may last days or weeks dependening on the complexity of the franchise chosen so look at how the length of the course compares to other businesses. Ask if you can you take members of your management team and check whether the franchisor will train new staff. If so, will there be an additional cost attached?

When it comes to ongoing training, ensure you ask questions about the content and the frequency at which it will be delivered. In particular, it’s useful to know what form the training will take. It could be online tutorials and webinars, in person on a one-to-one basis or in group training sessions. Most franchisors will also provide you with an on-the-road member of the support team who will help you launch your business and be your go-to person throughout your franchise journey. Because of this, it’s important to know how many franchisees the development manager supports, plus the geographical area they cover.

Other support provided as part of the package will often include marketing as the franchisor will want you to place advertising to grow your business. Most franchisors will also have a collective marketing fund, which all franchisees contribute to. When you are conducting your due diligence and talking to other franchisees, ask them if they are happy with the level of support they are receiving.

Starting a new business is always going to be tough. As a result, ensuring you know what support you’re going to receive is an important part of the decision-making process. Great support can add so much to your business and cement a positive relationship with your franchisor.

Sussanne Chambers
Sussanne Chambers