Thinking about becoming a franchisee? Here’s my seven point starter

I was once a franchisee and wish someone had advised me about the best way to find a suitable franchise!

Thinking about becoming a franchisee? Here’s my seven point starter

We got some things right – and it wasn’t all bad – but we made a few mistakes, and I hope you can avoid these if you consider the following points.

Firstly – you are in the driving seat. Please don’t feel pressured to buy from any franchisor. They should inform you about the opportunity and allow you time to consider the options. You should build an open and trusting relationship with the franchisor. The timing should all be your own, and if you’re forced into any ‘fire sale’, consider walking away.

Secondly – the process is paramount. It is rare to find a franchisor who will give you all the information you require about the franchise in one go. They will have decided on a progression of possible candidates through their process. While you are in the driving seat on timing, following their process will ensure you get all the information needed. This is usually protected under a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement and will only be shared if a franchisor feels you might be the right candidate. You should have looked at the business in total – and see if it’s right for you. If you aren’t willing to follow the franchisor process at this stage, they will question whether you will follow the franchise process once you become a franchisee. But don’t be afraid to ask for information.

Thirdly – there are two parties to the relationship. This may seem odd to share, but it is as important that a franchisor sees you as the right fit for the team as it is for you to want to be part of it. Not being honest with yourself or your franchisor could be disastrous. A simple example is saying you are very comfortable selling when you know you hate it. It’s often likened to a marriage – you flirt, date, get comfortable with each other – and then agree to a long-term relationship. These people will be in your life as your partners for as long as you are a franchisee – make sure that feels right.

In fourth place – buying a franchise is entering into a contract. That contract binds you. Your due diligence is paramount because not all franchisors are perfect. If you cannot talk to the franchisees, be very wary. Not all franchisees will be happy and prosperous, but you should speak to as many as possible to find out what they think – and if the franchise is what you think it is. You should ask questions and get answers, understand the financial position of the franchisor and the franchisees, and know what you are expected to do.

Fifth on my list is to take legal advice. Whilst it will be very rare for a franchisor to make any changes to their franchise agreement, a good franchise lawyer will guide you on your obligations, highlight the onerous points, and, if the lawyer is a BFA advisor, will quickly identify a charlatan franchisor.

Sixth – and on the subject of the BFA – research being a franchisee in general terms. You would be well advised to attend a BFA seminar on becoming a franchisee or sit the Prospect Franchisee Certificate to help formalise your thoughts on the type of franchise, the questions you need answered, and what you can expect.

The lucky seventh – Google is your friend. Find out everything you can about being a franchisee – and about the franchisor/s that you shortlist. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and to push for an answer. This isn’t an exhaustive list and is just headlines – you’ll find a lot of information online and in trusted franchise magazines.

Buying a franchise could change your life for the better – getting it right the first time will be life-changing.

Louise Harris
Louise Harris