Before we go into this subject and delve deeper into the support a franchisor can provide franchisees with, I think it is important to say that…THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS! No matter the amount of support given if you decide not to use it, or act upon the advice given, then the Franchisor cannot make this business work for you. As a Franchisee you have bought a franchise because you wanted to open a business with a higher chance of success. This can be because the franchisor has; a recognised brand; a successful network of franchisees; fantastic training and support; great systems and infrastructure; or all of the above. But the success is ultimately down to the franchisees ability to operate the business.
Before you enter any franchise system, make sure you understand what types of support the franchisor will be providing to you. Normally you will be invited to talk to existing franchisees as part of a responsible recruitment process, when doing so, find out how effective the franchisor is in providing the support.
Support varies. Franchise systems are not fungible, and the support you receive will depend on the industry, the size of the franchisor, the financial capabilities of the franchisor, the culture of the franchise system, and the classes of franchises offered by the franchisor – among a host of other factors unique to each franchise system.
While franchise support varies, in most franchise systems you should expect to receive.
Site Selection and Development (where appropriate)
Where a ‘unit’ is needed, Franchisors will provide you with information on the type of location you should be looking for and will require you to provide them with information about the site, including its cost, before they approve the location you have selected.
But just because a franchisor approves your site does not mean they are providing you with any assurances that your business will be successful. They are merely telling you that the location is acceptable to them.
Here at HomeXperts we assist our Franchisees to do ‘Territory Research’, but we don’t do it for you. There are some Key Performance Indicators that help us and you gauge the suitability of a proposed Territory, these include the number of privately owned properties; the variety of house types, the historical property performance of the area, including homes sold and let in the previous year.
Initial training can be measured in days or months, and may include both classroom and on-the-job training.
Increasingly, franchisors are also providing pre-training modules hosted on their Intranet or requiring franchisees to complete classes and certifications conducted by third parties. Frequently the franchisor will also send members of its staff to assist in the opening of the franchisee’s location, and to assist the franchisee in training its employees.
Who will be trained, how long will you be trained, what type of training you will receive, the subjects you will be trained on, and who will be conducting the training will be explained before you sign your franchise agreement.
When training with HomeXperts, we cover all above including;
- 2 Week Training Academy at our Central Support Office. Headed up by our Operations Director and supported by in-house and 3rd party experts experts in each relative field, including Estate Agency, Marketing and IT.
- The Cost of Training is covered in your Initial Franchise Fee, but as with most other Franchises, you will be responsible for the cost of travel and accommodation.
- Not only do we train you, but we also include the cost of your formal examinations and initial membership to the governing bodies of the estate agency industry.
One area of growing importance is how the franchisor provides you with training on how to continually provide training to your own staff. At HomeXperts, not only are you and your business partners welcome to join us on our Training Academy, we also welcome return visits and any new members of staff into your business. It will be a major benefit to us ensuring every person working under the HomeXperts brand, has the same values and ethics.
Remember, most franchisors understand the importance of your being trained, and will be looking to see if you are taking training seriously. This is such an important issue for most franchisors that your franchise agreement will likely allow the franchisor to terminate the relationship if you do not complete training to their satisfaction.
Continuing Training and Assistance
It is important for you to understand the type and amount of continuing support you will receive. Remember, you do not work for the franchisor; you are an independent businessperson operating under a license that requires you to meet the franchisor’s standards. You are not limited to receiving support only from your franchisor, and should always consider what other types of support you can obtain in addition to the support you receive from the franchise system.
You will be required to operate your business to meet the brand standards, procedures, and requirements contained in the franchise system’s operating manuals and other brand standard information. These systems are in place to ensure you are maximising the potential of the business, it is in your best interests to work with the Franchisor to meet these standards.
Most franchise systems will provide to you a field support consultant, whose role generally will be to help you improve the performance of your business, and also to ensure that you are operating your business to brand standards. Your field consultant is not your supervisor, nor are they the supervisor of your staff. They are your main source of support from the franchisor, and you should make the time to always meet with them in person and not simply have them meet with your management team.
Our Franchise Development managers do exactly that, they meet with Franchisees in their territory to help them maximise business opportunities in their area. They will assist you with all practical aspects of the role, from door to door outreach to networking events, the field team are there to help you succeed.
Most franchisors will have regional or national meetings and conventions. In addition to allowing you to meet directly with the senior franchise management team and staff, and other franchisees and vendors, these are generally one of the most important venues for the franchisor to convey new information and training. Make the time to take advantage of these meetings when they are offered. Here at HomeXperts we do these on a quarterly basis, and is supported by a franchisee forum and regular webinar.
Marketing and Advertising
You should expect assistance and guidance in the type of marketing and advertising you should conduct when you first open your business (market introduction/grand opening). During the term of your franchise, you will likely also be required to conduct local advertising or to collectively advertise with other franchisees in your market area. Most franchisors will also require you to contribute to a system advertising or marketing fund. The minimum amount you will be required to invest in marketing and advertising will be specified in your agreement.
While you are operating an independent business, you are doing so while sharing a brand with the franchisor and other franchisees. Because of that, how you advertise is important to the franchisor and the other franchisees, and you are not generally free to develop and use advertising or marketing materials that have not been reviewed and approved by the franchisor in advance. In addition to pre-approved marketing material, most franchise systems will provide a method for you to submit marketing materials you independently produce for their approval.
HomeXperts create 4-6 marketing campaigns a year for our franchisees, we develop a marketing library with 80 pieces of bespoke marketing material for each new franchisee. And we have a design consultancy service for any individual work required.
Industry specific Software and Systems
As part of a Franchise it is important for Franchisees to be aware that you will be required to use the software and systems as recommended by the franchisor.
This saves Franchisees time and effort in trying to find the right systems and services to support their business. The Franchisor has already invested time and money to do this research and has selected these products as they feel they are the best to support their, and your business. It also gives the franchisor the ability to centrally communicate, manage and assist Franchisees.
They may also provide you with your own website or give you access to their central website, again this saves you time and money, meaning there’s no need for you to build your own.
It is very rare that a Franchise operation will permit you to use your own systems, software or website to operate your business.
Support Office Staff and Infrastructure
Some Franchisors will offer even more support on a daily basis for a nominal fee. Such services might include;
- Saving you time, money and stress…some companies will take care of all of your accounting needs, from daily accounts to end of Year tax returns.
- Taking incoming calls, ensuring you never miss a call.
- A piece of mind that you have help should you ever need it
Referral Fees for complimentary services/products to your primary business.
- An opportunity to add another income stream to your business.
When looking into a Franchise opportunity it is important to do enough due diligence so that you know exactly what support you get for your standard franchise fee, and then exactly what other support options are available and what cost, and whether they are voluntary or mandatory for you to opt in too.
Before you enter any franchise system, make sure you understand what types of support the franchisor will be providing to you. It is also important, when speaking to other franchisees during your due diligence, to find out how effective the franchisor is in providing the support. Remember, if the support you expect is not included in your franchise agreement, you should not expect the franchisor to provide it.
Written by Franchise Recruitment Director Owen Barton