So Many Choices

Picking the right franchise takes a lot of legwork. Luckily, we have 18 tools and techniques to make your due diligence doable.

Pick It Out
Think it through when choosing your franchise.

Franchising includes dozens of industries, and dozens of companies offering franchises within those industries. How do you choose between two or three seemingly identical franchises to find the right fit for you?

"Understand it's not always about who's the largest franchisor in that industry. The right choice has more to do with the relationship match," says Terry Powell, CEO and founder of The Entrepreneur's Source, a franchise matchmaking company in Southbury, Connecticut.

This match, says Powell, involves harmonizing your expectations of training, support and goals not only with those of the top people in the franchise organization, but also with the lower-level people you'll interact with on a regular basis if you join the system.

The people factor was an important consideration for Mark Strayer, a Mission Viejo, California, Maid Brigade franchisee. Strayer, 45, thoroughly investigated three residential cleaning franchises before selecting Maid Brigade. "I went through every single person in their organization. By meeting with the different people I'd be working with, I was well-attuned to what goes on behind the curtain," he says.

Strayer also spoke with existing franchisees in each different system about their personal experiences, expectations and successes. In the end, territory was the deal-breaker for Strayer, who wanted to open a franchise in Southern California.

Even after conducting thorough research of all possible franchises, feeling buyer's remorse about your final choice is normal. Powell warns all new franchisees not to give in to doubt too quickly after signing on with a franchise system. "Very rarely does the business itself determine whether or not you'll succeed," he says. "Give yourself at least a year to build the right foundation."

--D.S.

18 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy
5 Questions answered by franchisees who've been there
8 Mistakes first-time buyers often make
5 Great Ways to finance your franchise - ONLINE EXCLUSIVE!

 

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This article was originally published in the August 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: So Many Choices.

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