11 Questions to Ask a Potential Franchisee

by | Mar 29, 2019 | Blog, For Franchisors

As a franchisor, you know that clear communication matters. This is particularly important when one is considering entering into a relationship with a potential franchisee. So, consider making a face-to-face or video call interview a part of the franchise sales process.

While an interview may not provide the answers for everything, it can help you get a better feel for a new franchisee. After all, that franchisee will be an ambassador for your company. And as a franchisor, you must be certain that a potential franchisee will be the right fit for your team and company.

What kinds of questions should you include in the interview? Consider asking the following:

1. Do you understand what it means to be a franchisee?

Joining a franchise system is a lot different than working a corporate job or choosing traditional self-employment. It can be a lot more freeing. After all, as a franchisee, you are basically running your “own” business, but doing so under the rules of the franchisor and franchise agreement. Previous experience in franchising or the industry is not essential but ensuring your potential franchisee is clear about the model’s structure is critical. So, make sure your budding entrepreneur understands the structured freedom that comes from joining a franchise.

2. Why are you interested in this type of franchise?

With so many brands and companies franchising, it’s vital to understand why an interviewee is pursuing a specific company — yours. Passion for the brand and industry should be a key component in the prospective franchisee’s rationale. If an interviewee is excited about the industry, they likely will be better equipped to excite other people. A franchisee’s success can be tied to that individual’s passion for the business.

3. What makes you a good fit for this company?

Just like people, companies and brands come with their own collection of values and beliefs. When people join companies that share their values and beliefs, the working relationship is strengthened. It’s easiest for franchisees to sell potential customers on the value of their business when they support it completely.

4. What is your industry experience?

Most franchisees will not have experience in your industry. That, typically, is what makes joining a franchise so attractive – an existing business foundation and training. Indeed, other job experiences coupled with life experience can offer all the skills that a franchisee needs. After all, many of the basic life and job skills that a person has learned over the years create the foundation needed for running a franchise.

5. Have you been a manager or served in a leadership role?

Managing a business requires the skills to manage and instruct the people working in the business. A franchisee needs to be aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses, knowing when it’s best to handle something themselves or hire someone for a specific role. 

6. What is your commitment to success?

Starting a business, even a franchise, requires a large commitment of time.  Is the potential franchisee willing to put in the hours knowing that the work may be unending, albeit very rewarding? A potential franchisee who is unwilling to put in long hours should probably consider a different business opportunity.

7. Is your partner supportive?

Lack of support by an interviewee’s partner and family may strain their franchise operation, not to mention his or her personal life. Starting a franchise is starting a business and often requires single-minded focus.  Getting buy-in is important and some franchisors may require the franchisee’s partner be involved in some aspects of the business. Franchisees should be aware of this requirement because it could cause extra problems if a partner is not willing to support the venture.

8. What is your marketing plan?

Does the prospective franchise know how to build a customer base and does he or she have a plan to find those customers? Franchisors need to see that a potential franchisee has what it takes, meaning a relentless goal to bring in the business by bringing in the customers.

9. How do you plan to finance your franchise business?

It’s possible in any business to not make a profit in the first year. Be sure you understand the start-up process. Consider coming onboard armed with a financial plan and cash reserves to support yourself and the business as it gets started. After all, in addition to the actual cost to buy franchise rights, the franchisee will be responsible for the many start-up costs as well.

10. Where do you want to locate your franchise?

Hometown advantage can be a real strength for any new business. Interviewees who want to open a franchise in their hometown are often better equipped because they already have a lot of local connections and networks in place. And…they likely already have a location in mind.

11. Can you share your long-term goals?

Goals reveal a lot about a person. A potential franchisee who doesn’t have any stated goals might not be the right person for your franchise. Or their goals may not connect to the goals of your franchise system.

Ultimately, the success of your franchise business is closely linked to the eventual growth and profitability of your franchisees. This makes choosing the right franchisees for your business very important. Ask for help when you need it. Or, feel free to contact me, Julie Lusthaus at [email protected], and let’s talk


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