To follow up our blog post from Monday (if you missed it, click here to read the full post) on ways you can better prepare yourself to buy a franchise, we mentioned that possibly the single-most important thing you can do before you buy a franchise is to talk to active and former franchisees. The corporate team may seem like they’ve laid out the easy path to franchising success, but they are employed to sell you a franchise. They know what to say to hook you in and have a carefully-thought-out business tactic to get people like yourself to buy what they are selling. While you have no reason to mistrust them, they are not going to be your most dependable source for searching out red flags.
The most accurate testimonials come from those who are living examples of someone who owns (or has owned) a franchise. What is motivating these individuals to get you the answers you’re looking for? It certainly isn’t job to get you to buy a franchise. But if you can find someone willing to give you an honest answer, you will be miles ahead of the franchise game. Giving your mindset some realistic expectations to go off of is crucial to buying a franchise. Below are a few sample questions that are good starting points for what you should ask an existing or former franchise owner before you decide to buy your franchise:
1) Why did you select this franchise over others?
2) What is your background?
3) Does the franchisor provide quality training and support as promised?
4) How many hours a week do you work?
5) What do you spend most of your day doing?
6) Are you profitable? If so, how long did it take for you to become profitable?
7) How much of a capital reserve did you start with?
8) What problems have you encountered?
9) Has the franchisor responded well to your concerns?
10) If you had to do it over again, would you still buy this franchise?
What unanswered questions do you have as a potential franchisee? What advice would you give as an existing or former franchisee?