‘Yes, no’ answers hide a multitude of sins, so here are four top questions to ask existing franchisees:
How well did your opening go? Why?
This question reveals how effective the franchisor’s systems and training are. There will always be snags when opening any new business but this question will tell you if they were small annoyances or ulcer-inducing.
How well do the marketing programmes work? Why?
Most franchises require you to contribute to marketing initiatives. Few subjects rouse opinions quicker than whether their required marketing programmes work.
How much money can I make? Why?
You’ll want to determine the average start-up investment, the average unit sales, the main expense categories, gross and net margins for the business, and how long it takes a new unit to break even and start making money for the owner. It’s best to leave this question to last as you’ll have more luck getting an answer once you’ve established a rapport with them.
How well does everybody get along?
Many franchisors describe theirs as being just like family. That may be true but find out whether it‘s like the Ewings or the Huxtables. Make sure you have a good feeling about the support and teamwork of the organisation and that it matches your values.