Franchising provides hopeful entrepreneurs with the tools, systems, and support to start a successful business. With so many different franchise opportunities to choose from, how does one find their perfect match? It's important to keep in mind that while some franchises may be more popular than others, popularity does not make a franchise the best fit for everyone. Doing the proper research, and asking all the right questions like: how much are you willing to spend, what industry would you want to be a part of, what kind of system do you want, etc. is vital when deciding what franchise is ideal for you.
The International Franchise Professionals Group ( IFPG) works to connect hundreds of new franchisees with various franchises each year. The most interesting part of our work is connecting people to the right business. However, we've learned that more than 90 percent of people never buy into the first franchise they look into for various reasons - one of them being that they realized the franchise they were interested in isn't actually a good fit. It is important for us to match franchisees with the franchise that best aligns with their needs and goals.
To help you understand the franchise selection process and best questions to ask, we interviewed a franchisee who recently went through this process.
Meet Darren Peterson from Executive Care.
Q: Darren, what got you into franchising?
A : I've always wanted to own my own business, but I wasn't sure exactly of what I wanted or how to get started. I learned that franchising would be easier for me personally rather than starting a business from the ground up. Most franchise systems provide a blueprint for storefront layouts, operational systems, sales and marketing, industry support, and you have access to industry experts' knowledge.
Q: What franchise have you chosen to invest in, and tell us about them?
A : I've chosen to become an Executive Care franchisee. Executive Care is one of the nation's leading home health care franchises that offers a variety of care giving and skilled services.
Q: What drew you to the home health care industry?
A : I drew interest to enter the home health care industry from my own personal experience when I was looking for a caregiver for my dad. It was difficult to find someone in Phoenix that could fit his exact needs. Finding a franchise that offered a service that solved a problem I was having was important to me. I was also looking for a recession-resistant industry.
Q: How did your experience carry over when looking into home health care franchise systems?
A: My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010 and he lived in Phoenix, AZ and I lived in Ashburn, VA. I traveled back and forth to care for him when I could, and we had friends help, too. At some point it just became too much so I looked into home health care providers. As someone who was in need of finding help, I was left frustrated and disappointed because it felt like the home health care providers were more interested in long-term contracts versus trying to accommodate what my father's actual needs were. For insight, my father didn't need around-the-clock care but care a few times per week. I carried that experience with me when I was deciding what franchise to be a part of. It was incredibly important to me to find a franchise that cared more about the individual needs of a person versus the contract we would sign. The moral of my story is to find a franchise that is not only cares about their franchisees but also cares greatly about the quality and level of service they offer.
Q: It's important to make sure that your goals and values align with a franchise when you're in the selection process. What other questions or things did you consider when researching franchises?
A: I looked at a wide range of home health care franchise and I realized quickly I wanted to be a part of a smaller system that was growing. I felt more comfortable being a part of a smaller system knowing that I wouldn't feel like I'm falling through the cracks, and one where the corporate team is hands on with onboarding and they're accessible when I have questions. Another important factor was protected territories - some franchises do this and others don't. I wanted a protected territory because I didn't want to enter a market that would be over saturated or feel like I'm competing with a fellow franchisee. I currently have a generous protected territory in Ashburn, VA so not only do I have a large area to service, but I don't have to worry about competing with another Executive Care franchisee.
Q: As someone who went through the selection process, what is your best piece of advice for entrepreneurs looking to invest into a franchise?
A: Reflecting on my experience my best piece of advice is three parts. First, would be to think very carefully about what you want out of your franchise aside from profit - what details of the franchise like protected territories, multi-unit deals, etc. type of things do you want to have access to. Second, enter an industry that is interesting to you so that you won't ever be bored by it. Third, ask all the questions you want and don't feel bad asking them. You're making a big investment and you should have all the information you need to make the right choice.
The selection process, let alone the research process, of franchising can be strenuous. Asking the right questions and having in-depth conversations with franchise teams helps to uncover what a franchisee does and does not want. There is no such thing as too many questions or a silly question throughout the process. Good luck in your search!