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How to Work With a Franchise Broker

Looking to invest in a franchise? These pros can help you navigate the vast world of franchising.

The prospect of opening your own franchise is thrilling.

With your hard-earned money on the line, however, you want to choose a franchise that’s right for you. But, with thousands of franchise opportunities out there, how do you choose? 

That’s where the franchise broker comes in. 

What is a franchise broker?

A franchise broker represents franchisors, which are companies selling franchise opportunities to franchisees. But they’re a little bit like a matchmaker, too.

That’s because it’s not enough to sell you on their client’s fantastic business opportunity. They have to find you the right opportunity. The franchisor doesn’t want the broker to bring the wrong match, either. So, generally, the franchise broker tries to arrange a happy marriage between franchisee and franchisor.

To accomplish that task, the broker should get to know you and assess what interests you, what skills you’ll bring to your new business, and what your goals are. 

“I commonly call myself a life coach who helps you with the soul searching required to determine if business ownership is the best fit and, if so, what options (of the thousands available) set you up best for success,” said Corey Elias,  founder of Atlanta-based Franchise Captain franchise brokerage

Why use a franchise broker looking for a franchise?

While Googling “franchise opportunities,” will show you a vast number of leads, “it can be overwhelming,” Elias said.  “A franchise broker helps you pinpoint the one that’s right for you. Brokers have a lot of expertise in the industry and can narrow down options based on the lifestyle and financial goals of the candidate. “

Elias also said that there’s another benefit of working with a broker: “Brokers also have access to funding resources, franchise attorneys,  accountant introductions and tools to look at the backend health of a franchise system.”

Do I have to pay a franchise broker?

A franchise broker usually earns a commission from the franchisor when he or she sells a franchise unit. So how do you know they’re not out to get you to sign on the dotted line to make a quick buck? 

“This is a highly referral-based business,” said Elias. “So brokers are very incented to create great matches who will then shout your name from the mountain tops because they are so happy with the business you helped them find.”

Research your broker. They don’t mind. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to sniff out a good broker. “Do your research,” said Kay Ainsley, managing director of ?MSA Worldwide, a franchise advisory, which helps franchisors expand.  “Find past clients and see if the broker helped them find the right opportunity. Is this someone that is part of a brokerage network? Somebody who has been around for a long time? Or is this somebody who is an out of work salesperson that is doing this until they find another job?”

Another tip: “Get to know them as a person,” said Elias. A gut check shouldn’t be the only research you do, but it shouldn’t be discounted either.