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What Prospective Franchisees Should Look For on a Brand’s Franchise Development Website

The cost to franchise and brand values should be high on a prospective franchisee’s list of priorities, experts say.

Once upon a time, prospective franchisees mainly learned about franchise brands through conventions, brochures and word-of-mouth. 

While these things still happen, today’s prospective franchisee is far more likely to research a brand online before ever reaching out. What’s more, prospective franchisees are likely to visit a brand’s franchise development website multiple times before engaging via phone call or a face-to-face meeting—as they should. In an age where so much information is readily available online, the good, the bad and the ugly included, prospective franchisees would be remiss to not take advantage of the ample resources that are literally at their fingertips. 

For this reason, brands should make sure they include as much information as possible on their franchise development websites

"I hear a lot of people at conferences talk about increasing the information available to prospects on franchise development websites,” Lawn Doctor* Vice President of Franchise Development Eric Martin said. “The consumer today spends more time researching a franchise before ever engaging with a franchisor. To me, the more information you can make available through stories and information packets about your investment, your opportunity, the type of owner you're looking for and video content, the better.” 

But how does one weed through all of the information? What, exactly, should a prospective franchisee be looking for? 

To start, prospective franchisees should research what anyone in their shoes would want to know: Numbers.

"Candidates should be looking for financial information, with a focus on investment range and financial performance or AUVs,” TruBlue Total House Care President Sean Fitzgerald said. “You need to make sure you understand both before you invest time in exploring a franchise. You should know if the initial investment is in your range and if the return meets your financial goals. That is the first place you should start."

Seniors Helping Seniors® Vice President of Operations Daniel Jan echoed this, noting, “Of course, prospects will also want to know the requirements and upfront costs.” 

Prospective franchisees should also make sure they research a brand’s core values, Jan continued. "The brand's mission, services, history and points of differentiation are the main components a candidate should be looking at, as well as training support and marketing,” Jan said. This is a crucial step because it doesn’t matter how lucrative a franchise opportunity may be—if a franchisor’s values are not aligned with those of a prospective franchisee, and if there is a hint that a brand is not going to provide its full support, then that person might want to look elsewhere. 

Brands that want to attract top-notch franchise candidates should consider including content on their franchise development websites about the people associated with that brand. 

“I want to help a candidate form a relationship with our brand and our culture without needing to speak to someone in the early stage,” Martin said. “It's important to have content—stories about franchisees and who you're looking for—so people can relate to that to see if it's worth their time to have a conversation and take it a step further. You can't just look at words on a page and get color. When you provide avenues for some color, such as relatability, that get them to ask whether is this owner/culture right for me, it's better for everyone.”

By putting a good balance of information on their franchise development websites, brands will help ensure they get the right people on board. 

“To me, I don't want to overwhelm people,” Martin said. “I'm not going to use our franchise development site to sell a business—that requires detail and conversations—but getting someone to a point of feeling comfortable enough to have that conversation is the goal. If you're not putting that stuff out there, it'll be tough to attract the right kind of candidate."

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.