18 Must-Answer Questions for Anyone Considering a Franchise

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With over 2,500 existing franchises to choose from, it’s extremely important for franchise buyers to consider their personal strengths. Everyone has a different personality, preferences, strengths and weaknesses. So, it comes as no surprise that a franchise system that would be perfect for one person, may be a really poor fit for someone else.

These statements from two different IHOP franchise owners clearly illustrates how much the experience can vary between different personalities:

“Every morning when I get up, I am just tingling to get to this place [his IHOP restaurant].”
– IHOP franchisee since 1972

“Why work the long hours only to walk away with $40,000 a year, if you are lucky? This restaurant is open 363 days a year, 16 hours a day. It is too much.”
– IHOP franchisee since 1990

Before starting your franchise, you should make sure to consider not only the business and industry that you wish to enter, but also your work hours and the nature of work that you are willing to do. You’re choosing a career, so you have to carefully analyze your own limitations, capabilities and needs before selecting a franchise. Evaluate whether you can meet the requirements of the franchise, and whether they can meet yours. A mismatch between the two can easily lead to dissatisfaction with your work, which defeats the purpose of starting your own business in the first place.

We’ve put together a checklist to help you think through your priorities when it comes to opening a business. Complete this list with your own answers first, before checking it against any franchises you’re considering.

Worksheet for setting priorities

Answering these questions will give you a good start toward identifying a good franchise fit.

  1. Where will the business be located? In the city, the suburbs, the countryside?
  2. Do I want to commute? If so, what are the time limits?
  3. Do I want a home-based franchise?
  4. Do I want to work five days a week? Six or seven? How many hours per day?
  5. Do I want to be an absentee owner?
  6. Is there a specific industry I want to work in?
  7. Are there any industries, products or services that I will not work with under any circumstances?
  8. Are there any specific characteristics that must exist in the business?
  9. Do I want a product or service franchise?
  10. Do I want a new or an established system?
  11. Do I want a large or small franchise system?
  12. Do I want a system with slow and steady growth or a rapid growth one?
  13. What kind of attitude do I want from the franchisor? Paternalistic? Dictatorial? Collegial? Laid back?
  14. How important is name recognition? On a regional or national basis?
  15. Will I be happy with one or two franchised units or do I want to own multiple units or develop an entire area?
  16. How much can I realistically invest in a franchise (money that does not have to be borrowed or raised elsewhere)?
  17. How much should the total investment be?
  18. Do I need to find a franchisor that offers a low-interest financing program or has an established third party financing relationship?

If more questions occur to you as you complete the checklist, add them. Once you feel confident that all your requirements are listed, you can start checking how various franchises match up. You may be surprised at which franchises do and do not meet your most important needs.

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This may seem like a very basic step, but you’d be surprised how often it’s skipped in the franchise discovery process. You may even find that there are items on this list you didn’t realize are important to you. Going through this list carefully now could save you a lot of headaches down the road.

To see the best franchises expanding in your area, visit FranchiseHelp and take our Franchise Quiz.

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