5 Steps to Attract the Right Franchisee Candidates

Franchise Relations

Two common mistakes that franchisors make when reaching franchisee agreements are qualifying candidates that are under-capitalized and under-experienced. Evaluate your decision following five key steps to avoid making the wrong choice.

By Anthony Geisler
Your franchise is growing rapidly — that’s great news. It means there’s a noticeable demand for your business and people believe in your brand. Attracting the right franchisee candidates to your fast-growing business is more difficult than it sounds, but is vital to the continuing success of your brand. You’ve worked hard to get the business to this point and you want to keep moving forward, so don’t mess it up by picking the wrong franchisees. 
The two most common mistakes that franchisors make when inking franchisee agreements are qualifying candidates that are under-capitalized and under-experienced. To avoid the headache of fixing these mistakes after the fact, follow the guidelines below — ones that Club Pilates lives by to make sure we attract the best prospective franchisees for the continued growth of the brand.

1: Vet, Vet, Vet

For Club Pilates, franchisee candidates are put through an extensive vetting process, which includes three foundational calls to learn about the business and company values, a Q&A with the candidate, weekly calls with myself, and two validation calls. Remember, this is a mutual vetting process and franchisee candidates should be just as invested as you are. While time consuming, it’s prudent to invest this time upfront rather than make a wrong decision that will cost you more time and money later down the line. 

2: Transparency is Key

You should always view your prospective franchisees as potential long-term business partners, and ask yourself, “Is this somebody I want to work and do business with?” The franchisor-franchisee partnership should be like a harmonious marriage, never an arranged one. You don’t want a prospective franchisee to feel like they have been blindsided; it creates distrust and can negatively affect your brand’s culture and reputation. Make sure all prospects understand that this opportunity is not what I call, a “just add water” opportunity, and that it is a startup business which will require hard work and dedication. The harder they work, the greater the benefits and success. 

3: Pick A True Partner

If the candidate still wants to enter the partnership after you have vetted and been completely transparent with them about the business, then there are the ingredients for a true mutually beneficial partnership. The best business partners are those who truly want to be a part of your brand and who can be trusted to work hard to adhere to the program and build a strong business. 

4: Culture > Checks

Going back to the two common mistakes mentioned before, many franchisors will choose to survive off the franchisee fee instead of the royalties. That’s a dangerous situation to be in because it can cloud judgment on selecting the best candidates. It’s like going on a bad date but still marrying that person because they want to get married to you. The bottom line is that a lot of people are going to want to buy into your business, but not invest into your business. You always want to choose the people that are willing to invest for the long haul, and you can return that investment by supporting them.

5: Don’t Be Afraid to Disqualify

If a candidate wants to be a prospective partner, but doesn’t pass steps one through four, disqualify them. Don’t be afraid to disqualify! You want to make sure you are choosing the best operators of your business to ensure continued success and growth. 
Anthony Geisler is CEO of Club Pilates. Founded in 2007 and franchising since 2012, Club Pilates has more than 400 instructors that provide a current annual rate of over 2.2 million workouts to tens of thousands of members.