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The Best Time to Visit Your Franchise Headquarters Some advice for franchisees on how to decide whether a trip to your franchise's home turf makes sense.

By Joel Libava

This story originally appeared on The Franchise King

One of the goals franchise salespeople have is to get you to visit headquarters. Before you grab your luggage, there are a few things you need to know.

The salespeople want you to experience all the great things their franchise opportunity offers. They want you to meet the staff. They want to give you a firsthand look into the operation.

The executive team is going to want to meet you. After all, it's up to them-not the salesperson, to award you a franchise. They have some risk, too. They have to be sure you fit into their system.

You have to be sure you fit, too.

There are two ways for you to accomplish that.

  1. You need to talk to as many franchisees as you can, and visit one or two to see their franchise businesses in operation.
  2. You need to visit franchise headquarters to make sure you fit into their culture.

Related: How These Sibling Franchisees Built an Empire

But the real question is: should you visit at all? You should only pay a visit to franchise headquarters if:

You feel that you have a good handle on the franchise concept

Have done your research

You're convinced that the franchise is right for you

In addition, you should be far enough in the process.

That means that you've started your franchise business plan.

You've started to approach lenders

You've contacted a franchise attorney

Related: The Retail Giants That Disappeared

When not to visit franchise headquarters

I've had clients ask me if they should visit franchise headquarters just so they can see the operation in-person. It's a great question, and I have a great answer: No.

There's actually a formal name for a visit to franchise headquarters: Discovery Day.

It's a formal name because it's serious business. Franchisors put on a Discovery Day-which is usually a scripted event, for a reason. They want to impress you. Your "visit" to headquarters is part of the franchise sales process. Remember I said that one of the franchise salesperson's goals was to get you to visit them in person? For them, it's just one more step towards a possible deal close. As a matter of fact, it's usually the final step. That's why you have to make sure you're ready.

If you're still at the curious stage of the process-and you're not ready to move forward if all goes well, don't pay them a visit. It's a waste of time.

FYI: Some franchise salespeople want you to visit headquarters early in the process. But, should you? Sometimes.

Related: Future Franchisees: Don't Be Thrown by the Financial Disclosure Document

Joel Libava is a franchise ownership adviser best known as The Franchise King®. He is the author of Become A Franchise Owner! The Start-Up Guide To Lowering Risk, Making Money, And Owning What You Do (Wiley 2011).

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