Becoming a franchisee: questions to ask the franchisor

10 December 2023

Every franchisee has been a candidate at some point, and has had to follow the reciprocal selection process leading up to their installation under the banner. During this first stage in becoming a franchisee, the candidate must ensure that he chooses the right network: one that will enable him to develop his business and deliver on its promise of success.

To be sure of making the right choice, prospective franchisees need to ask the franchisor the right questions, not only during the recruitment interview, but throughout the entire process, right up to the signing of the franchise agreement. What are the right questions to ask? To help you, we interviewed nine franchisors, each of whom indicated the questions they felt were most relevant to ask their franchisor.

Ugo Truxler, founder of Heiko Poké

What is the composition of the capital and, above all, is it destined to change?

Franchising is a human adventure: the franchisee makes a commitment to a brand, but above all to a manager and his team, who will support him for years to come. So it’s important to know where the company is headed: how far does the management team want to go? Do they want to sell some or all of their shares one day? Asking these questions helps you to know what you’re getting into.

Alexandre Lemaire, Business Developer at Easy Cash

What training and support does the franchise offer its franchisees?

The most important thing is to know the franchise’s role in terms of training and follow-up, because not all franchises support their franchisees in the same way. Some will follow them very closely, while others will be less present. If the candidate chooses a brand with less support, he must ask himself: “Do I have the shoulders to carry a project like this?”

What’s the market trend?

Some markets are more buoyant than others. There are candidates who go into so-called “future” sectors because the market is strong at a given moment. But we have to ask ourselves whether it will remain sustainable over the long term. It’s important to know this, because it’s easy to see that certain sectors of activity have the wind in their sails for 4 or 5 years, whereas most franchise contracts run for 7 years.

What are the future prospects for franchising?

This is important for candidates with big ambitions. If they invest a lot of money and take risks with the aim of making a name for themselves or expanding internationally, they need to make sure that the retailer they join shares this ambition.

Nicolas Gaudin, founder of Poutinebros

What are your franchisees’ sales figures? Are they profitable?

It’s a good idea to ask for the figures for the pilot restaurant, which in most cases is a branch, but also for those of the franchisees. As franchisor, I systematically present the sales figures and profitability of all four Poutinebros restaurants. This is extremely important for making an informed choice. If the franchisor isn’t totally transparent about its own figures, those of its branches and franchisees, it’s a bad sign.

Léo Delhon, founder of Litha Espresso

What’s a typical day like?

Some franchisees may experience unpleasant surprises and disappointment once they’ve settled in. The job may look good on paper, but you have to see it in reality. It’s also important to consider the support and training provided by the franchisor, which will shape the franchisee’s day-to-day life: they are the key to success.

Ivane Breger, X’Pert Impact network manager

What is the company’s business model?

We’re all here to make money. When franchisees start out with us, it’s a real life project for them. Often, they are not alone in their adventure, taking their families with them. That’s why financial security is so important. The franchisee must be fully aware that he or she will have to work hard to earn money, and must be sure that the franchisor provides a stable, sustainable business model.

What ambitions do you have for the brand, and therefore for your franchisees?

The vision of a medium- or long-term partnership and the franchisor’s strategy have an undeniable impact on the franchisee, who must ensure that he or she is in line with the company’s short-, medium- and long-term vision. The aim is to guarantee a partnership that will last over time.

Laurence Pottier-Caudron, Temporis founder

What are the success factors in this profession? How will the network head help me succeed?

Success is linked to enjoying one’s job. This question shows that the candidate has enough humility to recognize that, even if he or she possesses know-how that can be transferred to a new profession, certain success factors are specific to the business sector. That’s why it’s so important to know the specifics of a job before you start.

How has the franchisor supported its franchisees through the various crises experienced by its network?

It’s in difficult times that you see who you can count on. When Covid happened, my first instinct was to do everything I could to keep my franchisees safe. It’s been an extraordinary time in terms of feedback: I’ve received a lot of recognition from franchisees.

Rémi Migliasso, CEO Tecfit France

What are the total costs of starting up and running the franchise, and how long is the contract?

Understanding total costs helps to assess financial viability and avoid unpleasant surprises. It means making sure you have a solid business plan in place. Understanding contract duration and renewal conditions helps you plan your business for the long term. What’s more, clarity about mutual expectations (communication, support, etc.) helps to avoid misunderstandings and future conflicts. Proper training and ongoing support are crucial to a franchisee’s success, especially if he or she has no previous experience in the sector.

Thibaut Chavrier, co-founder of Mobilaug

What kind of candidate is the franchisor looking for?

Different networks have different expectations. Sometimes you’ll need a manager, sometimes a salesperson, sometimes a technician. It’s important to identify these expectations to understand the business. Some prospective franchisees expect a network to bring them customers. It’s important to understand where the franchisor’s added value lies in the franchisee’s day-to-day life, and what the franchisor intends to contribute. Strategies will vary from one network to another.

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