Going into franchising can be overwhelming for a first time franchisee. Luckily, there are several places to turn to for advice. Below, franchisors give their advice for new franchisees about the top things they should look for in a franchise system as well as tips that will help them make the best of their franchise venture.
Chip Baranowski, Vice-President of Franchise Development, Honest-1 Auto Care
Chip joined Honest-1 in January of 2011 as Vice President of Franchise Development and has over 25 years of diverse experience within the franchise industry, mostly focused on franchise development. He ran a successful franchise consulting business from 2002 – 2006, and has headed up franchise sales and development departments for several large franchise companies, including United Franchise Group, Unishippers Global Logistics, and DataPreserve. Chip completed the International Franchise Associations CFE program in 2010 and is also a Sandler Sales President Club lifetime member. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Below is Chip’s advice to first time franchisees:
Take a look at all your franchise options, and always know what you want to get out of the franchise. Take a comparison of pro’s and con’s and make sure their goals are on track with where you’d like to be. Remember it’s a partnership and you’ll be vetting one another, so it’s important to find that right fit.
Do your due diligence by doing research, asking questions, and reaching out to existing franchisees. Existing franchisees can offer you objective feedback essential to the major investment you’ll be embarking upon. Most importantly, you will need to understand the franchise agreement.
Don’t limit yourself! You don’t have to be an expert, so don’t discourage yourself from looking into all types of franchising options. Keep in mind you’ll be a business owner, and you’ll be managing the business. Think outside the box and don’t discount the unknown. The most important thing to keep in mind is whether or not the Franchisor offers the support you’ll need for success.
Chip also recommends that once you’re operational, don’t be afraid to call upon the franchisor in time of struggles. The value of buying into a franchise system is that it’s a partnership. As a valued partner, they can offer feedback and insights that can help you turn things around. Honest-1 Auto Care believes in fostering relationships with their business partners.
For more information visit the Honest-1 Auto Care profile.
Steve Jackson, President, Hungry Howie’s
"Be sure you are very comfortable with the people behind the franchise. You will be dealing with them for a long time, somewhat like a marriage. We have many franchisees who started from the ground up at our stores, including me! Many actually started at the bottom, in the kitchen, working hard and up to a management position. Those people are some of our absolute best franchisees today because they have such respect for what it takes to run one of our stores from the ground up."
Steve's four main pieces of advice for new franchisees:
- Do your due diligence.
- Make sure you really know and like the executives and the rest of the management team of the system.
- Ask yourself would I trust them (the executives and management team) in a personal situation?
- Learn the business from the ground up.
For more information visit the Hungry Howie's profile.
Shaun C. Robinson, CEO, Strong College Students Moving
"Excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness are just a few the emotions you'll experience when embarking on your franchise journey. Use these emotions as a barometer for your willingness to continue on the long and winding path towards business ownership.
During the course of the franchisee development process seek guidance from those you trust and you respect most. These individuals can analyze your decisions from perspectives that do not fully reflect upon the three adjectives described in my first sentence. Informative and critical analysis is important in any decision; however your passions, desires, and dreams also have substantial weight in the equation of your future.
Remember that excitement and enthusiasm can be found in several outlets. It could be found in the overall brand, the vision of the management team, your ability to generate revenue in creative ways, or maybe even the industry.
Everyone derives their excitement from different places and transforming that excitement into a productive and successful business is always a challenge. Your franchisor or management team will have experience and an expertise in those methods, therefore utilize them as a resource in your equation of success as well. Understand that choosing a franchise and making the investment of time and resources is difficult but your franchisor is a vital resource of guidance and information. They are also making an investment in you, a franchisee, so don't be apprehensive to ask for help -they may just have a solution or an answer to help you."
For more information visit the Strong College Students Moving profile.
David Messenger, VP of Market Expansion, ServiceMaster Clean
David has been the Vice President of Market Expansion for ServiceMaster Clean® and its affiliates, Furniture Medic®, Merry Maids® and AmeriSpec®, in the U.S. since 2000. Prior to this time, he held a similar position at the ServiceMaster Canadian Home Office in Mississauga, Ontario and co-owned a ServiceMaster franchise distributorship in 1991. He has been involved with ServiceMaster Clean® and ServiceMaster Restore® franchise development and support since 1995. Below are David's top do's and don'ts for first time franchisees.
- Follow the franchisor’s systems for sales and marketing, merchandising, production and administration that you learned at your initial training. This is why you bought a franchise!
- Take advantage of every chance you get to attend a regional workshop, annual convention or any other event where other franchise owners of your brand will be in attendance. You will learn a lot from those who have started their businesses before you and develop relationships with your peers that will add to your success.
- Prepare monthly financial statements including profit &loss, balance sheet and cash flow, or have someone do this for you.
- Prepare a three year written plan even if your franchisor does not require one. This does not have to be in great detail but you need to have some idea of where you want to be in 3 years and what your business will look like so you can plan staffing and financial resources to get there.
- Plan to work long hours and maybe six days a week as you start up your new franchised business and make sure your family understands this and is prepared for it.
- Hire average people. Hire the best people you can afford to help you build your business.
- Spend your time trying to change the franchisor’s systems. Again, you bought a franchise for the proven operating systems that are in place!
- Underestimate the amount of working capital you will need to run and grow your new business.
Billy Schaffner, a ServiceMaster franchisee from Savannah, Georgia, is one of the franchise's success stories. Billy was looking for a way to boost his cleaning business after 23 years and decided to convert to a ServiceMaster Clean franchise. The conversion has allowed him to increase his revenue and hire more employees for his growing business.
For more information visit the ServiceMaster Clean profile.
Justin Gibson, President and Master Franchise Developer, VOM FASS USA
Do your homework on any franchise investment you’re considering making. Talk to current franchisees and gauge their happiness and success levels. A good franchise keeps franchisees happy.
It’s important to partner with a franchise who is as committed to you as you are to them. You want to find a franchisor willing to get in the trenches with you, actively cherishing your highs and supporting you when unexpected lows come.
You also want to be sure and choose a well-established franchisor with a proven track record and product or service you can feel confident putting your time, energy and money behind. And choose a franchisor on the rise — if the franchise is consistently growing and doing it the right way, it’s a great candidate for you.
For more information visit the VOM FASS USA profile.