How to Choose a Franchise Consultant
Franchise consultants can be a wonderful asset to help you find a strong franchise opportunity that matches your goals. They can explore the dreams you hope to accomplish through franchise ownership and determine your skills and preferences so that the companies you investigate match well with you. With a good consultant, you’ll save time and effort narrowing down your possibilities so that you can focus on the best.
Though these advantages can be great for you, they are not automatic or guaranteed. The simple truth is that anyone can call themselves a “franchise consultant” and many who have no experience or a successful process for working with candidates do. These people, referred to as “drive by” consultants in the business, are something you need to recognize and avoid.
So, how do you make sure you’re dealing with a reputable franchise consultant you can trust? The following characteristics and qualifications will help you sort the wheat from the chaff.
- Franchise Industry Experience – The more your consultant knows about franchising and business ownership, the better job he/she can do in finding one that will be your perfect fit. Look for a consultant who has been a franchisee or who has experience with a franchisor’s executive team. Any good salesperson can talk the talk but you need someone who has actually walked the walk.
- Fulltime, Professional Focus – A consultant who has his fingers in many other pies is not going to have the time or energy to give you the full focus of his attention. You need to select someone who is an experienced professional doing this job on a full time basis with a successful track record of helping people like you.
- Reputation in the Industry – A reputable consultant will spend hours with you, asking questions and listening to your needs and goals, before ever discussing franchise companies that might work well for you. Any consultant who starts mentioning companies after a few minutes of conversation is simply trying to shoehorn everyone into the same few opportunities.
- Pre-Screened Franchisors – An effective consultant will have a selection of pre-screened franchise companies to potentially work with. This allows them to know that the opportunities are strong while also being able to adapt potential choices to whatever is most important to the candidate looking for a franchise. You will want to work with a company that carefully pre-screens the franchise companies being offered and one that also has a good variety of industries, investment levels and business models.
- Proven Results – One way to determine if your consultant is able to help you find the right franchise is to look at their results. If they work with reputable franchisors and are making good selections for their franchisee candidates, they should be helping a significant number of people find their ideal fit in a franchise.
Like any good business, a franchise consultant that has been around for a number of years is likely to be strong, ethical, and providing a valuable service to consumers. If you know someone who has successfully used this service, ask for information about the consultant they used.
Your best option may be to interview consultants before you begin the consultation process to see if you can make a connection and if they have the knowledge and skills needed to help you in this all-important decision.
Jeff Elgin is the Founder and CEO of FranChoice, a national network of franchise consultants that provide free guidance and advice to qualified individuals in the United States searching for franchise opportunities. .