At fairly regular intervals I come across the same mistake being made by potential franchisees. Having spent over 25 years recruiting franchisees for brands that I have other owned, part owned or been tasked to manage on behalf of others I speak with some authority on this matter, so if you are a potential franchisee bear in mind the following:
The best Franchisors will decline as many applicants as they take on, the worst ones will always take your money. What this means is that with many franchise brands you don’t have to worry about your conduct. However, the best franchisors are watching carefully how you conduct yourself. So at the initial meeting make sure you know the franchise, you’ve read the website and documentation and you are dressed appropriately for that business sector. Those basics should apply for every meeting you ever do in business anyway!
Your demeanour matters when you want any particular franchise, always remember the best franchisors do not need your money and they don’t need you as a problem later down the line, what this means is that if the receptionist reports that you were unfriendly or the franchisor feels your line of questioning is too aggressive or you are pressing certain points too hard you’ll lose the opportunity to acquire that franchise. The meeting will end early and that will be that. So, initial meetings should be cordial professional and always keep in mind that it is a kind of interview from the franchisors perspective because when agreements are signed you’re both married for 5 years (or more) and no successful franchisor wants to be married to a problem franchisee, or an underperforming franchisee.
When the pressure builds somewhat and you’re discussing the terms of the franchise agreement it is well worth remembering that I, and many franchise specialists like me, have withdrawn from the recruitment process when franchisees, or their lawyers try and rip the agreement to bits and/or negotiate every single point. My view is that if a franchisee is too difficult in the early stages, they will be a bit of a nightmare in the operational stages when the franchise is being launched.
When you buy a franchise you must accept that the legals are one sided, in the franchisors favour, often they won’t be changed at all, although an explanation may be offered for clauses you are unhappy about. The best franchisors need to have materially the same agreement with every franchisee in the network so if the doesn’t suit you then don’t join a franchise brand, go and do your own thing, hey. you might even do better, but sooner or later you will end up competing with a franchisee right on your doorstep with the full might of that franchisor behind them. Ive met many franchisees who missed the boat, or paths have crossed again years later and the franchise the got away has made someone else an awful lot of money!