One of the items required to be provided in the FDD is a list of current and former franchisees as well as their contact information. This information is some of the most important information in the FDD because it provides you with the tools to contact current and former franchisees to speak with them about their experiences in the franchise system and in operating their business. This is a vital aspect of doing your due diligence that is sometimes overlooked.
You may be thinking, “Should I really contact franchisees? I don’t want to be a bother…” but contacting current and former franchisees and inquiring about the franchise is not being a burden, and often times, the franchisees are happy to discuss their experiences, both good and bad, with the franchise. While reading about the support the franchisor provides in the FDD is helpful, hearing about the support actually received is even more so and can provide valuable insight into how the system is actually run.
If possible, you should try and meet with the franchisee at their franchise location, that way you can see how the business runs on a day to day basis and better gauge the franchisee’s reaction to your questions. As they say, actions speak louder than words and body language can be very revealing. If the franchisee loves what he does and is enamored with the system, it will shine through. Similarly, if the franchisee is jaded by the system, that will show as well. Being able to speak with and meet current and former franchisees is a useful way to gain invaluable information to help aid you in your decision to purchase the franchise or not.
Stuck on what you should ask the franchisees? Check out Josh’s post for 10 questions to ask before you buy.