Blue Ox Axe Throwing, PickUp USA, Royal Restrooms and You’ve Got Maids each have different timelines.
Discovery Day is a prime opportunity to show what your brand is all about, but it does raise the question: When, exactly, is the right time to host it? And how far along in the sales process should a prospective franchisee be when they attend discovery day?
The discovery day for pickup basketball franchise PickUp USA is used as an orientation and takes place after the franchise agreement has been signed, according to president and founder Jordan Meinster. Once the agreement has been signed, the brand schedules a discovery day so the franchisee can meet the corporate team and key vendors, as well as experience PickUp USA and even participate in games or group training classes. The reason for this, Meinster said, is that the brand likes to dedicate all of its resources to new franchisees, so instead of sales presentations, “we use the time to get the franchisees trained so that they can immediately be absorbing the knowledge and learning how to own and operate a PickUp USA,” Meinster said.
During the discovery process, PickUp USA offers resources such as live guided webinars and always invites prospective franchisees to visit the brand’s locations, Meinster said.
“But at our actual discovery day, as an orientation, we really feel like spending our time and resources and our franchisees’ time and resources is best in a training and orientation environment,” Meinster said.
For cleaning service franchise You’ve Got Maids, discovery day is an option for prospective franchisees who are at the tail-end of the brand’s discovery process, according to Vice President Joseph Berger.
“By this point, they have spoken extensively with their franchise advisor, have had their FDD questions answered, and have been approved by the founders,” Berger said in an email.
Prospective You’ve Got Maids franchisees can meet the corporate team at headquarters and tour the training facility during the brand’s discovery day, Berger said.
“From top to bottom, maid service franchising is all about relationships,” Berger said in an email. “While it's not a necessity, Discovery Days can be a great way to ensure that the brand is a good fit for everyone.”
Berger’s advice to emerging brands as they develop their own discovery days is to do an honest job of presenting the future relationship.
“For us, it's important to make it personal and show how invested we are in the success of our fellow entrepreneurs,” Berger said in an email.
Blue Ox Axe Throwing hosts its discovery day following the review of the FDD and territory opportunities, and before the prospective franchisee begins making validation calls to current franchisees, according to CEO Gerald Ferraro.
“Before attending Discovery Day, we expect the prospective franchisee to have filled out our franchise application in order to qualify that they meet the financial criteria that we expect from franchisees,” Ferraro said in an email. “They also need to have reviewed the FDD and financial obligations with us to and to have discussed territory opportunities to confirm that their preferred territory is available or, if not, to confirm if there is flexibility in the territories that the prospective franchisee will consider.”
By having prospective franchisees fill out the brand’s application and review the FDD beforehand, Blue Ox Axe Throwing can ensure they are able to meet the initial financial responsibilities, Ferraro said.
“It is important for us to have forward-thinking and business-savvy candidates that will successfully work with us to grow our brand on a national level,” Ferraro said in an email. “It is also important to our brand to review the FDD in order to show previous successes with our corporate locations and franchises to show that there is a tremendous opportunity to be a successful Blue Ox Axe Throwing franchise owner.”
Discovery days, Ferraro said, should be flexible, adaptable and interactive.
“As an emerging brand ourselves, our advice for developing discovery days is to be flexible and adaptable to the different motivators and interests of prospective franchisees,” he wrote. “Each individual has his or her own reasons for considering buying a franchise and it is important to adapt each discovery day presentation and discussion to address their specific questions, comments or concerns. We also advise on making the day as interactive as possible—we suggest moving away from long presentations and slide shows and to, instead, include the meat of your operation into the day's activities. As an axe-throwing business, we make sure to include ample time for prospective franchisees to throw as many axes as they want.”
Royal Restrooms, a mobile bathroom and shower franchise, also has its own discovery day timeline.
“The discovery day is usually held after the application process, several phone conversations and the FDDs have been delivered,” Royal Restrooms founder and co-owner David Sauers said in an email. “At that point, we will discuss a Discovery Day. At Royal Restrooms, we do things a little different than your typical franchise. Instead of hosting, we like to go to the location of the prospective franchisee. This gives us the opportunity to sell them on Royal Restrooms in their own backyard.”
Discovery day, Sauers said, is perhaps the most important part of the entire franchising process.
“So many franchises are focused on wowing the prospect that they forget what their core values are and what they were originally founded on,” Sauers said in an email. “From both sides of the table, you will be in business with these people for years, so you will need to try to get a feel for how they will operate in the good times and in the bad times.”
Regardless of when a brand chooses to host its discovery day, it’s clear that properly vetting franchise candidates and keeping sight of company values will go a long way in ensuring a perfect match.