Do’s and don’ts for signing up a franchisee

Inside Franchise Business: take steps to get the franchise recruitment process rightRecruiting a franchisee should be simple however, the reality is there are pitfalls if you, as a franchisor, don’t have the proper systems and checks in place to help you with recruiting the right franchisee for your network.

There are a variety of approaches taken by franchisors when recruiting a franchisee. Whether a franchisor can afford to be choosy or whether it is in the early stages of trying to get their franchise systems off the ground, franchisee recruitment is imperative to the success and longevity of any franchise system.

The key to success in any recruitment process is to have a structured process in place which allows you as a franchisor to establish whether the prospective franchisee is the right fit for your network.

A failure by the franchisor to recruit correctly may be detrimental to the franchise system and mistakes can be made for the sake of closing the deal. But these could easily be avoided if simple measures are put into place.

Perhaps the most important element of any franchise recruitment process is for the franchisor to understand what it is that the prospective franchisee is seeking in joining the franchise system.

In recruiting any franchisee, a franchisor should give consideration to things such as:

  • Is the prospective franchisee’s decision being made based on expectations that have been set by the franchisor?
  • Does the prospective franchisee have their own unrealistic expectations of what the franchise will look like?
  • Does the prospective franchisee have the required skill-set behind them to make their franchise successful?

As part of any recruitment process a franchisor should, at a minimum, have some crosses and checks in place. These may include:

1. An application form

This should be more than just the franchisee’s name and business history. You should not be afraid to ask about their background experiences both in business as well as in life generally, about their family situations and financial position overall.

2. A profiling tool or questionnaire

There are various profiling tools out there that may help you as a franchisor identify ‘who’ is the franchisee that you are recruiting By providing the franchisor an insight into how the prospective franchisee might deal with any given situation, the franchisor can help pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, and decide whether the prospective franchisee is the right fit.

3. Meetings or interviews

While first impressions matter, it‘s imperative that a franchisor sits down and meets the prospective franchisee throughout the recruitment process and not just at the initial stage. Follow up meetings and/or interviews allow you to ‘get to know’ and develop a relationship with the prospective franchisee, in addition to providing you with opportunities to find out more information about the prospective franchisee that isn’t always visible from the first meet and greet.

4. Meetings with existing franchisees

It goes without saying that the prospective franchisee is likely to be on their best behaviour in front of you. To break down the formalities it has often served my franchisor clients well in arranging the prospective franchisee to meet with an existing (and trusted) franchisee. This will allow the prospective franchisee to ask real questions that they may be too embarrassed to ask you. Further, it may reveal a different side of the prospective franchisee that you would otherwise not have known about and may wish to avoid.

5. Work experience

One of the best ways to find out about the prospective franchisee and setting their expectations is to allow them to have a period of work experience within the franchise. Not only will this allow a franchisor to see what the prospective franchisee is like in action, it will also give the franchisee a taste of the franchise and may help address their expectations from the outset.

Recruiting for a franchisee can be hard work. It involves countless meetings, emails that answer and ask questions and may quite often result in the deal not proceeding. This task should not be rushed though as each individual franchisee is a reflection of the business you have built.

The success of a franchise system ultimately hinges on the good will of the business. If your franchisees are unqualified, uninterested or unattached to your business, you are essentially polluting your own brand.

Treat each individual appointment as if it could make or break your business and ensure that each appointment will add value to your brand and system overall.