12 Questions You Must Ask When You Interview Existing Franchisees
Even the most honest and forthcoming franchisor can’t tell you what it’s like to be a franchisee. You should take the time to call existing franchisees and get some candid answers to your questions. Be careful that you don’t get a limited list of hand-picked contacts. It would be a waste of time to talk only to the most successful operators or those who are coached to give the “right” answers. Calling franchisees at random will give you the clearest picture of what you’re getting into. Here are some questions you should ask:
- Are you happy with your franchisor? How is your experience different from what you expected?
- How long did it take for you to realize a return on investment?
- Approximately how much are you earning? Is it what you expected?
- How many hours a week do you spend working on the business?
- Did the training your franchisor provided really prepare you to run this business?
- Were there any hidden fees or unexpected costs?
- Are there restrictions on the products you sell and use in your business? If so, were you told of those restrictions beforehand?
- What do you think of the marketing and advertising? Does the franchisor advertise as much as you were promised it would?
- What kind of support do you receive now? When you have a problem, is your franchisor responsive or do you feel like you’re on your own?
- What did it cost you to build and start the franchise?
- Did your franchisor accurately estimate the start-up and operating cash you needed?
- If you had it to do all over again, would you choose the same business and franchisor?
How Franchisees Can Grow Their Sales
However, once the ribbons come down and time passes, franchisees begin to recognize the challenge ahead and that, in many ways, they're on their own: regardless of the amount of support their franchisor provides, the franchisee is ultimately responsible for generating sales for his or her new business.
Choosing Between a Product and a Service Franchise
There are basically two types of businesses that can be offered by an individual. They can offer Products to their customers which are tangible goods meant for the customer's consumption or they can offer them Services which are intangible and work to make the life of the consumer easier and more convenient. With technologies advancing rapidly and the global demands of consumers changing there is a very thin line dividing the service and product segment of the consumers demands. An example of this can be the purchase of a car from an auto dealer. The dealer not only offers the vehicle at a competitive rate but now has to offer different services as well, such as financing options, after-sales services, ready documentation and other non- tangible services. This kind of merging has made it very difficult to draw a clear line as to the service and product industry but for the sake of argument we will consider a theoretical perspective where you have to choose a traditional product franchise or a service franchise.
Financing the Acquisition
Financing the acquisition of a franchise is not a slight affair, as with the legal fees, the initial fee, allocation for resource acquisition and various other expenses the cost raises significantly. Therefore financing often becomes mandatory in that situation. Mostly people concentrate on third party financing where they seek out investors and other debt or equity lenders for their financial needs. However, two of the most overlooked options are: