5 Questions to Ask Before Investing in a Franchise

By Michelle Cemental

Investing in a franchise opportunity comes with a host of advantages. If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about buying a senior care franchise for independence, financial stability, and the prospect of truly feeling fulfilled by your work.

But investing in a franchise is also a major commitment of time and resources, so before you take the plunge, you want to be as sure as possible that you’re making the right choice.

Once you find a franchise that feels like it makes sense, the process is just beginning. You need to do substantial research before making your final decision, and that will involve asking a lot of questions. Every potential franchise owner is going to ask about the money-making potential of their investment, but there are plenty of questions you might not think to ask, too. Following are just 5 of those questions you can ask franchisors (and current franchise owners) that can help you to plumb the depths of the reality of franchise ownership within a certain franchise system.

1. What Are the Culture & Values of the Franchise?

Owning a franchise is about a lot more than clocking in each day and paying royalty fees. The culture of the franchise team — both the company itself and the existing franchisees — can have a big impact on your overall experience as a franchise owner. It is important to develop an understanding of what values the company holds dear and to assess how those values align with your own before purchasing a franchise.

2. Who Will I Deal with on a Daily Basis?

When you are in the midst of the franchise sales process, you may speak with different people, including franchise sales representatives. However, the sales team is not likely to be the same as the team you will deal with on a day to day basis. Find out who your main point of franchise contact will be and ensure that you feel you will be comfortable working closely with that person.

3. What Does the Franchise Training Program Look Like?

Your relationship with your point person will likely include your time in franchise training. The training period is critical for any franchise business because it is where you learn the rules and best practices for maximizing your investment. Find out what the training includes, what expenses you will be expected to cover (travel, lodging, materials, etc.), and what is covered in the training, as well as how many people from your new franchise team can attend.  Your royalty fee should also go towards ongoing training initiatives, so be sure to find out what kind of ongoing training assistance you can expect.

4. Do You Have a Franchisee Advisory Council?

One of the most valuable resources you will have as a potential or new franchise owners is existing franchise owners. These experienced owners will have the clearest view as to the challenges you will face from day one. Whether your franchise offers an official franchisee advisory council or just provides a list of franchise owners who are willing to assist or mentor you in your early days will depend on the individual franchise. There should be some system in place to put you in touch with current owners. In fact, it is ideal to get in touch with a few owners before you make your franchise purchase and get their honest opinions and insight.

5. What Are My Exit Options?

Buying a franchise is an exciting time, and too many new franchise owners can get swept up in the present moment without thinking down the road to the future. One way or another you will not own your franchise forever, so it is important to get a clear idea of what your exit strategy could be. Every franchise has different rules about selling, passing down, or otherwise getting out your franchise and you should understand them before investing.

The more you know about a franchise before you make your initial investment, the better prepared you will be for your life as a franchise owner. These questions only scratch the surface of what you can and should ask before buying a franchise. Do your due diligence and learn as much as possible before you start writing checks.

Tags: Franchise Ownership