Choosing the right franchise is a daunting task. This will set up your finances and your job for what could be the rest of your life. It’s a huge investment of time, money, and resources, so making sure you have enough information to make an informed decision is key.
One of the best ways to get the information you need to succeed in picking the best franchise for you is to assemble a list of questions that you find you should know the answers of. If you’re not sure where to start with these questions, there is undoubtedly lists posted online that you could draw question ideas from. Prepare questions as well as detailed follow-up questions. Here are some examples of questions you should be asking:
These aren’t all the questions you could and should ask, but they are a great start. For each franchise that you visit and each individual that you speak to, write down what their name was and which franchise it was. You should also write a note about your impression of them so you can remember who they are when you’re evaluating all the franchisor interviews later on down the line. As you interview individuals, you’ll get a good sense of the industry, the business, and the philosophy and attitude of that particular company.
So aside from interviews, there are a few other ways to collect information about specific franchisors, such as:
Every year different groups will publish print directories for updated information on what’s available franchise-wise for the hopeful franchisee. Some of these franchise publications are:
This is published by the International Franchise association and lists the trade association’s member companies, franchise lawyers, consultants, and other suppliers. They also have a descriptive section for franchise statistics, education affiliates, and other publications. This also contains articles written by professionals in the industry, giving more information for the franchisee on opening and running a franchise. This guide costs around $20+shipping and handling. You can order it through IFA’s number 800-543-1038 or its website www.franchise.org.
This is a magazine publication group that prints a variety of franchise guides. Some of those guides include The Executives’ Guide to Franchise Opportunities, Food Service Guide to Franchise Opportunities, and The Guide to Multiple-Unit Franchise Opportunities. They also publish Franchise UPDATE magazine which is targeted at professionals in the industry. Depending on which item you want. You can find ordering information through their phone number 408-997-7795 or www.franchise.org.
This is a guide that is published by Robert Bond and updated annually. It offers a comprehensive list of franchise companies who operate in not only the US, but also in Canada. The index contains extremely detailed profiles for over 1,000, including the name, address, and contact information for all of them. The guide runs $29.95 a pop and can be ordered through 800-841-0873 or by visiting their website www.worldfranchising.com. Though you may not need to order their book if you check out the website as it offers a lot of the information found in the book.
As a general note, remember that regardless of the resources list, they may not be 100% accurate and should be approached with that in mind. Directories are nothing but a starting place for you to exam what is available in the market and what is considered the norm between franchisors.
There are a number of magazines and newspapers that regularly publish franchising articles.
Trade Shows and expositions give hopeful franchisees a chance to meet franchisors face-to-face without any formal meetings. They are like buffets for business owners with representatives from most, if not every, industry available to franchisees. The International Franchise Expo is the biggest gathering in the world for franchise companies who are actively seeking new franchisees. There are three other large franchise shows that take place in the United States once a year. These shows are can be found in in these cities during these times:
Los Angeles: Fall to early winter
Washington, D.C.: Spring to early summer
These are not the only trade shows or expositions that can be found throughout the year for franchisees, but simply some of the biggest with actively searching franchisors. For those who are early on in the process, not sure of where they would like to invest their time or money or those who do not know much of the variety of companies available out there, trade shows are a great place to get brochures.
Many companies give seminars at the trade shows and will even hand out their FDD full of information about their company. You shouldn’t be surprised if you’re asked to sign something when you receive the FDD, though you should always fully rad whatever it is you’re signing before you sign it. Most companies are required to keep track of who they hand out the FDD to and they also like to keep tabs so they can conduct further contact later down the line.
Franchisors love trade shows because it allows them to show off their stuff and to be compared next to other franchises. Most consider this an opportunity to show franchisees how much better they are than their competition. Remember that a good franchisor will always want you to know as much as possible as quickly as possible so neither of your time is wasted. However know that a franchisor cannot legally sell you a franchise at a trade show. It will take a separate meeting with the company for that to happen.
Between Google searches and home pages, most franchises have their own websites. In fact, if you visit trade shows and pick up business cards or brochures, you will probably find web addresses on most, if not all of them. Franchises are a great way for franchises to make information about themselves readily available to the public. There are also online directories that can send you to a list of franchises and their websites. Most, if not all websites will list specific basics about the company as well as contact information so you can get to know the company better through the franchisor. Some great places to find articles, advertisements, and franchising resources are: