bannerGrowing a Franchise

Trust is the Foundation of the Franchisee-Franchisor Relationship

It sounds simple, but the stakes are high: Here’s why trust is so critical to a successful franchise business.

A strong relationship between the franchisor and franchisee is at the core of every successful franchise business. And at the core of every strong relationship is the essential foundation of trust.

There's a lot riding on that trust: A franchisee is investing their hard-earned dollars — often their life savings — into a business they hope will help them build a legacy, while the franchisor is counting on this new entrepreneur to be the face of a brand they've built with their own work, sweat and cash.

"You get into a franchise because we’ve already made the $50,000 mistakes," Lori Merrall, vice president of franchise sales at Sola Salons and Woodhouse Spa, told 1851 Franchise. “You trust us, and we’ll trust you to execute on the vision of the brand.”

Merrall has been in the franchising sector for nearly 20 years. Her work helps aspiring entrepreneurs determine whether or not Woodhouse Spa and Sola Salons are the right choice for them (and vice versa). There are nearly 800 U.S. locations between the two brands.

Much like the employer-employee relationship, Merrall confirmed, transparency, consistency and equity are key to a thriving partnership.

A franchisor's clarity about roles, expectations and the sharing of resources builds confidence among their franchise partners. When franchisees are confident in a franchisor’s commitment to fairness and support — especially if they're a small player compared to other franchisees — they are more likely to go all in on the brand's success.

Flip that and a franchisee's commitment to faithfully following the proven system, as well as showing integrity in their business practices and customer support, builds a franchisor's trust. 

It comes down to a simple concept, Merrall said: “It's doing what you say and saying what you do.”

A healthy, trusting relationship can lead to high performance and satisfaction on both sides, while a relationship marred by mistrust can lead to dysfunction and underperformance. The stakes are high: The health of the brand as a whole is at risk, as are the life savings and sweat equity of the franchisee.

But it's important to assume the best intentions and move fast when things go wrong.

"Not everything is broken trust from malice," Merrall said. “But I think that the best way for either side to repair it is to take responsibility — and take steps to correct it. People appreciate it when people make an error and do what they can to fix it.”

Whether you're a multi-unit veteran or exploring opening your first franchise, 1851 Growth Club can help. Reach out today for expert help with integrity.