Before buying into a franchise, you should do some research into the company, the industry, the market and potential customers. All of this information will give you important insight into the potential of this business investment. However, beyond the research there are specific questions that should be asked of the franchise company, upper level management and other franchise owners. By asking these questions you will get a better feel for whether or not buying this franchise is the right choice for you and your future.
As you communicate with the person in charge of selling franchises, make sure to inquire about training and support for franchisees. Ask how extensive training is, especially if the franchise is out of your realm of experience, as well as what resources will be available to you as an owner. Make sure to keep all of this information written down somewhere for you to reference as your sort through everything and begin to make your decision.
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Perhaps some of the most important questions you will ask will pertain to the franchise agreement. This binding contract is the basis of your relationship with the franchise. Like leasing a car or getting a mortgage, there will be a lot of paperwork and a lot of clauses. Ask any and all questions you have about the agreement. Don’t overlook anything or assume you know what a vague statement might mean. It is also advisable to ask if any pricing will go up as well as the consistency of royalties over time.
In addition to speaking with management of the franchise, you should also reach out to other franchise owners. These professionals have already gone through what you want to do and will have valuable, credible advice. This is where you can ask specific questions about day-to-day activities as well as expectations versus reality. It’s important to find out how many hours a week a franchise owner typically works as well as what a typical day looks like, if they offer to let you shadow them, you could even see first hand.
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In the big picture you can ask them what the best part is about owning a franchise as well as the most difficult part. This information will help you balance the pros and cons of your potential business investment. If you feel comfortable, you could also ask other franchise owners about expected revenue in the first one to five years. An in-depth question you could ask would be if the owner could go back and do it all over, would they still purchase the franchise and why or why not.
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