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Buying your own Canadian franchise is a big investment and you shouldn't leave any stone unturned, but applicants often do. Before you make your final decision, ask the franchisors you're considering the following typically-forgotten questions.
How are franchisees selected?
A franchisor doesn't let just anyone join, so there is a qualification process in place for applicants. Ask about this process so you follow it and understand what is expected. You'll also want to have an idea of how well the franchisor vets people before they enter the system. A franchisor who isn't vetting franchisees properly will likely have a weaker overall system, particularly when it comes to consistency of product or service.
What is the success rates at the other locations?
No franchisor will be able to predict your future success. You can, however, learn a lot about a system by looking at how other locations have done in the past and now. Franchises in a similar region with a similar demographic to your proposed location are especially telling and can signal a real opportunity or a serious problem.
What ongoing support is available?
Everyone asks about the training that is initially provided, but ongoing support after your location is up and running can be important, too, and not all franchisors offer it. Find out what to expect by asking your franchisor what additional training and support is available once you've opened your doors. Ask how the support and/or additional training is provided - such as in-person or online - and whether you will need to pay an additional fee to receive it.
Is my territory protected?
Some franchisors allow franchisees to claim a territory, barring other franchisees from entering it, while others don't have those rules in place. Whether this matters in your case will depend on several factors, including the size of the location's surrounding area and its proximity to other brand locations. Find out whether you will receive a territory, and if so, what types of protections are in place to keep it intact. If no territory rules are in place, consider whether this will be detrimental to your sales or have no impact.
Speak to your franchise openly and candidly about the areas above and others before you sign any agreement. If your prospective franchisor isn't forthcoming with the answers or you're not comfortable with what you learn, it's time to look elsewhere for your new business.