Buying A Franchise: Research
questions to ASK FRANCHISEE Want to know what a franchise is really like? Ask the people who are already there
ne of the best sources of information about any opportunity you may be considering is the existing franchisees in the same system. After all, they have already made that choice and are living the life. By talking to them either in person or via phone, WhatsApp or Skype, you can learn what that life is really like. You will get a realistic assessment of the return that can reasonably be expected on your investment; the hours of work you will need to put in; the amount of service and advice provided by the franchisor; the general atmosphere and image of the franchise; and the everyday experiences of a franchisee. Here are some tips to help you get the best out of your researches. • Choose which franchisees you interview. You want to talk to a mix of established people who understand how the franchise works and its potential, as well as more recent franchisees who have been through the latest training. You especially want to talk to franchisees in locations or territories similar to the one you are considering. • Don’t just accept a list of ‘approved’ franchisees from the franchisor – they are hardly going to point you in the direction of people who have had bad experiences. Get a full list of franchisees from the franchisor and choose from that. It’s fair to tell the franchisor who you want to talk to, as they may need to let your chosen franchisees know in advance that you will be calling and that you are a genuine prospective colleague, not a competitor fishing for information. • If possible, talk to at least four or five franchisees. They will all have different experiences and the more people you talk to, the more realistic and balanced an impression you will get. There’s always a risk of catching someone on an exceptionally good or bad day so you need to be able to put that feedback into perspective. • Interview people face-to-face or over the phone, rather than via email. People will be much more brief and more guarded when giving written responses and you won’t be able to listen to their tone or ask follow-up questions. Also, people can be reluctant to put something in writing if they think there is a chance of it getting back to the franchisor – even accidentally. • Do prepare for interviews – whether in person or over the phone – in advance. Keep them as brief as possible. If you’re serious, franchisees will usually be happy to answer questions but remember, it’s not their job to tell you about the franchise. They have their own business to run so talking to you is taking them away from that. Be appreciative. To help you prepare, here are some questions you might like to think about. Don’t ask every franchisee every question – pick the areas that are of most concern to you and focus on those.
How does it suit? The first thing you want to know is what sort of person you are talking to and how they run the business. Ask:
Franchise New Zealand
Year 30 Issue 01