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3 Tips on Picking the Right Franchise for You

Franchisees weigh in on their decision-making processes and the things every prospective franchisee should do before signing a franchise agreement.

By Madeline LenaStaff Writer
Updated 9:09AM 10/02/18

The wealth of options and information available on thousands of different franchise opportunities can be daunting for anyone considering taking the plunge into franchise ownership. From the very beginning all the way throughout the assessment process, it’s imperative that prospective franchisees know how the brands they are considering signing on with fit with their unique needs and expectations.

Finding the right franchise brand is just as much an emotional decision as it is a financial one, but with the proper approach, any prospective franchisee can arrive at the ideal match.

Do your research

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchisee Bill Zimmerman said that when he made the decision to leave his career in truck logistics to start his own business, he knew he needed to sign on with a franchise that was well-established but also poised for growth. Zimmerman began his search by turning to the internet, every prospective franchisee’s best friend during this important discovery process.

Uncovering and weighing quantitative metrics provided in a franchise brand’s FDD, including statistics regarding revenue model, turnover and consumer satisfaction, is an integral step in the process of selecting a franchise that best fits one’s means and business goals.

“I took a lot of time to learn about the history, growth prospects and opportunities of each brand I was considering,” he said. “When I had an idea that Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was the brand for me, I started visiting locations and calling stores across the country. I contacted 7 or 8 owners and each shared something different.”

Code Ninjas franchisee Christina Lazar employed a similar tactic in her pursuit to provide her tech-minded son with an extracurricular activity that engaged and challenged him.  

“There were no kids’ coding centers in our immediate area, so I explored all of my options by flying out to centers across the country to assess the franchise opportunities,” she said. After looking at several different models, Lazar, a former classroom teacher, knew the key to finding the best option for her was in the details of the curriculum.

“Code Ninjas was fun and engaging above all else. The curriculum was developed in a cohesive, evolving manner so a beginner could learn incrementally, which stood out from the piecemeal offerings from other kids coding franchises,” Lazar said.

Consider your role

Before deciding on a franchise, prospective owners should conduct their own personal evaluation to nail down how involved they want to be in the business. Deciding between a hands-on role versus employing a general manager to handle day-to-day operations matters when it comes to the franchise selection process.

“I knew I wanted to be a part of a franchise that allowed me to use my background in management and gave me the ability to make decisions to affect the success of my stores,” Zimmerman said.

“Prospective franchisees need to ask themselves whether they want input or need a turnkey model that they just plug into,” Lazar noted. “As one of Code Ninjas’ first franchisees, the turnkey model was pretty much negated. We wanted input, feedback opportunities and to be a part of the development side of the operation,” she added.

Engage your passion

Franchisees gain the most out of ventures in entrepreneurship with franchise brands when they have an active personal interest in their business. Those exploring franchise ownership should consider themselves and how a brand represents them. Meshing with the franchisee community and exemplifying or identifying with brand values leads to an emotional investment that inspires success.

“As a former classroom teacher and independent business owner of a tutoring center, kids, education and my son’s future made sense,” Lazar said. “Being passionate about the franchise I was opening allowed me to push through obstacles and bumps in the road.”

For Zimmerman, his passion for barbecue was a significant factor in his decision-making process. “I had been doing my own smoking for 20 years prior and had a great love for barbecue,” he said. “Being able to deliver a product that led to guests’ satisfaction was of great importance to me."