As you move forward with your due diligence and continue to gather research on the variety of opportunities the franchise world has to offer, don’t forget to really spend time talking with the existing franchisees of the businesses at the top of your list. Investigating their experience with the business and learning about the process they took to succeed will provide tremendous insight for your own journey.
Related Article: Interview 6-8 Franchisees During the Due Diligence Process
When you’re selecting franchisees to interview, include a mix of owners at different franchise locations. Don’t target only the busy outlets—try to look at the average or poorly performing outlets, too. During the interview, you need to ask a variety of questions—including the tough topics. As you plan, consider the following:
- 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?
- What problems have occurred and how did the franchisor deal with them?
- 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?
These are only some of what you need to get into when speaking to current owners. Keep in mind that your goal is to gather as much information as you can so that you can make an informed decision. It is encouraged that you take detailed notes, or if you can, use a voice recorder. This part of the process is crucial in your decision toward know if franchise ownership is right for you.