When investigating a franchise, it's important to know what kinds of programs are offered to explain the franchise's systems and way of business. Below are a few questions to ask the franchisor about its training programs.
- What are the locations, duration and additional costs of your initial training? Is the cost of transportation and living expenses included in the initial franchise fee or does the franchisee pay for those expenses?
- Who is required to attend your initial training program?
- Do you have the option of bringing your staff to the training? How much does the franchisor charge for each staff member who attends? If the franchisee's staff does not come to training, who trains them?
- How comprehensive is the training curriculum? How much of the training takes place in a classroom? What subjects are covered? How much of the training is conducted in the field? Do you learn how to manage the operational, financial, marketing and personnel aspects of the business, or is the training limited to how to make the product or deliver the services? How does the franchisor describe the management training provided?
- Who conducts the training? What are the trainers' backgrounds? Have they ever operated a location? When? How long have they been in the business? What positions did they hold? How long have they been conducting the training? Do they have any training in conducting these programs? What are their responsibilities in the company when they're not conducting training programs?
- As staff and managers turn over, how do the new staff and managers receive training?
- In addition to the operations manual, will the franchisor provide any training materials for training new staff?
- How often does the franchisor introduce new products and services? When new products and services are introduced, how does the franchisor train the franchisee, managers and staff on the new products and services?
- Are training programs continual and regularly scheduled? What types of additional training are provided, who can attend, what is the cost and where does the franchisor conduct this training?
- Do any members of the headquarters staff or field staff provide hands-on assistance during the pre-opening, grand opening and initial period when the franchisee is beginning the operation of the business? What type of assistance does the franchisor provide, who provides the assistance, what is the duration and what is the cost?
- What is covered in the operations manual? Are you allowed to see it before you sign the franchise agreement? When was the operations manual last updated? How often is it updated?
- Are you allowed to attend one of the training sessions before you sign the franchise agreement?
- How does the franchisor communicate with the franchisees? How do the franchisees communicate with the home office?
- What happens if you have an emergency problem or question--maybe after regular hours or on weekends?
Excerpted from Franchising for Dummies (IDG Books Worldwide Inc.) by Dave Thomas and Michael Seid. For more information or to order the book, click here.