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Conducting Franchise Research: 10 Questions to Ask Current Owners

  • April 7, 2016
franchise owner research

The prospect of taking a new career path as a franchise owner is filled with adventure and possibilities. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to get so caught up in the excitement that you forget about the need for diligent franchise owner research. It is critical to know your options, weigh your options and whittle down your options, until you arrive at the franchise that fits your vision, skill set, and budget.

Franchise Owner Research and Due Diligence with GAC

Great American Cookies (GAC), like other franchises, has a pre-organized, step-by-step discovery process for those inquiring about becoming a new franchisee. Some of the steps you will take during the “discovery” process include:

  1. Completing an initial application and receiving a free brochure that acquaints you with the overall picture of GAC’s products, business goals and history. The goal is to learn about what GAC does and decide if that’s something you’d like to be doing.
  2. If you meet GAC’s qualifications, the next step is to receive/examine the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). This form is mandated by the FTC, so all franchises must release it before any final agreement is reached. The FDD provides very detailed information about the franchisor, which will greatly aid you in making your decision.
  3. At this point, there will be visits, phone calls and “virtual meetings.” Personal contact, one-on-one conversations and, if desired, a trip to headquarters can all be involved. Documentation will also be reviewed, and you will be assigned a Development Manager.

Franchise owner research will typically take from one to three months to complete, so there is a need for both diligence and patience.

The steps listed above, however, are purposefully incomplete, because we want to look at another step in more detail below: visiting and questioning current GAC franchise owners to get their input on what it’s like to be a franchisee.

Learning from Those Who’ve Gone Before

One of the most enlightening parts of your franchise owner research will be “picking the brains” of those who have already invested in the very franchise you are interested in getting involved with.

GAC will put you in contact with as many franchisees as you wish. You can call them for phone interviews or, if they are willing, interview them on Skype, but if at all possible, you should visit at least one or two current GAC franchise owners in person.

Some of the questions you may wish to ask them include the following:

  1. What kind of prior business experience did you have before franchising with GAC?
  2. Why did you choose franchising and why did you choose GAC?
  3. Was it easier to gain customers because of GAC’s marketing and brand recognition?
  4. How much and what kind of support did/do you get from franchise HQ?
  5. How practical do you find multi-unit franchising?
  6. How much were you able to make in the first few years?
  7. Is there anything you wish you had known before you got started?
  8. How important was franchise research to making the right choice?
  9. What community causes has GAC involved you in?
  10. Overall, are you happy with your decision?

Conclusion

Doing full franchise owner research, including learning from others who have already invested their money, time and lives in a GAC franchise, is a great way to minimize the risk that is inherent with any franchise undertaking.

Starting your own franchise is a major life decision, so “do your homework” at the outset to ensure you are working with your ideal franchisor. To learn more about investing in a Great American Cookies franchise, contact us today.