Whose Opinion Counts When You Interview Franchisees? 5 Steps To Help You Decide!

April 27, 2009 1:03 am Published by Leave your thoughts

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As you do your homework to determine which franchise to buy (or if you should buy one at all), you’ll likely hear a variety of opinions and comments shared by existing franchisees. Your challenge now: Who to listen to?

Making sense of what franchisees say

Whose opinions count the most when you’re interviewing franchisees?

Here are 5 guidelines to help you interview franchisees and make sense of what they say:

  1. All franchisees are not created equal. Some are better than others. A few are better than most. Interview the best!
  2. Interview franchisees at all levels of the network so that you get the total story. But spend most of your time with the top performers and money makers. Ask the franchisor, other franchisees, and members of the Franchise Advisory Council for the names of these franchisees.
  3. Get most of your information from franchisees who you admire. Even at the top, not all franchisees are created equal. It’s important to learn about their beliefs and lifestyles. The guy who makes the most money may not be the type of person you want to be!
  4. Every franchise network has a bottom 25 percent — this is where franchisees end up when they don’t work the system, or they make other blunders that may be related to the franchisor’s inability to help them succeed. But probably not. Avoid spending too much time at the bottom — and while you do, expect to hear negative comments and whining.
  5. Interview award winners, but keep in mind that they may not be franchisees you’d admire. And just because they won an award doesn’t mean they made a profit. Be sure to ask! Award winners are usually franchisees who implement the system — and that’s how you turn an opportunity into a business.

Who are you talking to?

When I served as CEO of HomeVestors, prospects would occasionally tell me they weren’t buying one of our franchises because of what they had heard from the existing franchisees. I would ask the prospect, “Which franchisees did you interview?” And most of the time, the franchisees were in the bottom 25 percent of our franchise network.

“What do you care what franchisees in the bottom 25 percent say about this business?” I’d ask the prospect. 

You can usually ignore the bottom performers 

Quite often, the prospect didn’t know who they were talking to! They were surprised to find out that they had interviewed the worst performers. Again, I’m not suggesting you ignore all the negative comments you hear from franchisees. But, unless you hear the negatives over and over again, I think you can ignore most comments from bottom performers.

If the best performers share the same negatives as the bottom performers, that’s worth exploring. Maybe there’s a deficiency that the franchisor needs to correct. 

Work your way to the top of the network

Unless you plan to end up in the bottom 25 percent of a franchise network, stay away from it! Listen to the franchisees at the top!

And by the way, that advice also works for existing franchisees. Watch who you’re talking to! Bottom performers aren’t going to help you rise to the top.


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Photo image by: HeavyWeightGeek
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This post was written by Dr. John Hayes

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