I don’t want to be dependent on the outcome anymore. I’ll explain in a moment.
From 2001 until the middle of last year, I was a franchise consultant. Actually, I was a franchise broker. Truth be told, those two titles are used interchangeably.
As a franchise consultant/broker, I was paid some pretty generous fees (commissions) by franchise companies for placing folks that were looking to buy franchises into their franchise opportunities.
Allow me to give you an example of how a typical deal went down…
Let’s say that a prospective franchise buyer was referred to me by an outplacement office. (People that have lost their jobs sometimes get a few month’s of assistance from career counselors that are located at outplacement offices.)
This referred “candidate” and I would have a phone conversation in which I would attempt to “qualify” him (or her) for business ownership. I would ask some basic questions about their goals, their current financial situation, and other pertinent information.
If I felt that they were qualified, I would have them fill out a fairly lengthy questionnaire and schedule a time for us to meet. (Face to face, or via phone.)
Now, before I go any further, let me get this out of the way;
When I first started in franchise brokerage, I was with my late father’s firm. He was a franchisee of a national franchise brokerage franchise, which shall remain nameless.
Now, since I know that some of the “executives” of this franchise brokerage franchise read this blog, I want you to understand where I’m coming from when I referred to my Dad being a franchisee;
This franchise brokerage never officially registered as a franchise until according to a rumor, a couple of state regulators started sniffing around, and they were kind of forced to do so.
Interestingly enough, my Dad and I paid monthly fees, used their name when we did business, and received formal training. We had always felt that we were operating as franchisee’s of this soon to be officially registered franchise. (Plus, my Dad always told me that it was a franchise, and he was a truthful guy.)
Just about 3 years ago, I became an independent franchise consultant/broker. I just couldn’t take all the BS that was going on in this brokerage that I was still with. My Dad was losing his battle with cancer around this time, and I had told him that I was thinking of going out on my own. His words;
“Go for it, Joel; you don’t need to be with them anymore. You’re better than them.”
I continued to work with franchise “candidates.” After I qualified them, instead of having them fill out a long questionnaire, I had them take a test that I developed; I came up with this idea shortly after I went out on my own. I still use it today, and it’s Free. You can find it over at www.takethefranchisequiz.com
If they scored high enough, I would arrange a meeting, have them fill out a really short questionnaire, and I would see if there was a possible match for them in one of the franchise concepts that I was contracted with.
In my world, a “match” is when some of a candidate’s professional skills and basic character traits aligned well with what their role would be as the franchise owner of the concepts that I represented.
A successful match = a big payday.
But, even if there was a match, there was no guarantee that the candidate would get all the way to “the finish line.” The finish line is the place where the franchise candidate writes a check for the up-front franchise fee, (around $35,000) and signs the franchise agreement.
There were several things that had to line up perfectly;
1. The candidate had to do the proper franchise research
2. Most of the franchisees in the franchise system that the candidate was interested in had to be “happy franchisees;” they had to give a thumbs-up to the franchise company. If they were disgruntled, or worse, not making any money, it was over. My candidate would pass on the opportunity, and it was back to the drawing board.
3. If the candidate ended up finding a franchise that looked good, a small business loan was going to be needed, and there were lots of factors involved in getting an approval.
4. I always recommended that my candidates spend some money with a qualified franchise attorney. There’s a document called the Franchise Disclosure Document that must be looked over really, really well as part of the franchise research process. The franchise contract needed a going over as well. The lawyer had to put his or her “stamp of approval” on all the franchise legal documents. All the paperwork had to be legit, and the attorney had to be comfortable with everything before that would happen.
As you can see, there’s several things that have to happen almost perfectly in order for a candidate to actually sign the franchise contract, pay the franchise fee, and become a franchise owner.
So, I could get paid.
In Part 2, I’ll talk about what was starting to happen. In my business, and across the country.
If you’re even thinking about becoming the owner of a franchise–let’s talk.