So you’ve read all the promotional information, like what you see in the videos and ready to go to the next stage in your decision making process.
The structure of the Franchise recruitment process should allow you access to at least one or two existing Franchisees. This could be through attending a Discovery event with ample time to ask your own questions in a personal and open conversation with them.
Alternatively, Franchisors may provide you with existing Franchisee contact details who are happy to spend time openly discussing their experiences to help in your decision making process.
Not all Franchisors provide these opportunities as readily as others and it may be you have to ask if you can speak directly to an existing Franchisee. Without doubt you should be given this without feeling like you’re asking for the world or that it is over-controlled whereby you’re only allowed to speak with existing Franchisees in the presence of the Franchisor.
It is highly recommended that you do speak directly to the existing Franchisee, whether face to face or over the phone, this provides the added intuition to be picked up through tone and facial expressions. A person speaks volumes through their tone and body language; it’s often what they don’t say that counts.
You’ll probably have many of your own questions to ask a one of the Franchisees but here are a few to get you started…
Does the business generate a good profit? How many hours are you working (including admin, thinking and discussions)? How much support do you get from the Franchisor? Do you enjoy it? What’s been the best part about the business? What’s the worst aspect you’ve had to deal with? Has it met your expectations from the initial information/discovery event? What family compromises have you had to make? Would you do it all again, knowing what you know now? Do you feel part of a community or out on a limb?
An existing Franchisee will completely understand how important your questions are and should provide you with honest and constructive answers to help you. To maximise the opportunity with them, be sensitive to their time and grateful for the information they provide.
Above all listen to what they have to say, clarify anything you’re not sure about and thank them, if all goes well, they could be your fellow Franchisee and it pays to keep them onside!