Top 6 Questions to Ask a Franchisee During a Validation Call

Entering the world of franchising can be an exciting journey filled with opportunities for growth and success. However, it's essential to approach this venture armed with as much information as possible to make an informed decision.

One of the best ways to gather crucial insights is through validation calls with existing franchise owners. These calls offer a unique window into the day-to-day operations, benefits, and challenges of becoming a franchisee. Validation calls also allow prospective franchise owners to better understand the franchisor's level of support and business model, and to determine if the franchise is a good fit and investment for their situation.

By asking the right questions during your validation call, you can better make an informed decision. Here are the top six questions to ask during your validation calls with owners to ensure you go into your franchising journey fully informed and prepared for what lies ahead.


1. Tell Me More About Your Experience and Background

As a prospective franchisee, one of the first things you should ask about is the franchisee's background, skills, previous work experience, and what led them to invest in this franchise.

Getting to know the franchisee in this way is important because franchise organizations often make claims about how successfully their model works for individuals with diverse backgrounds. Speaking with franchisees with a variety of experiences allows you to validate whether these claims hold true in practice.

Learning about their background can also help you identify the skills, qualifications, and traits that have contributed to each franchisee's success. This knowledge can help you assess whether your own qualifications align with what has worked for other successful franchisees.


2. Did You Face Any Challenges in the First Year of Operating Your Franchise? 

Understanding the challenges and obstacles that franchisees face in their first year can give you crucial insights into what to expect during your own journey, as well as a more realistic expectation of what it's like to operate within the franchise system.

A great place to start is by asking the franchisee what their biggest challenge was in their first year of running the business - and how they overcame it. The possibility of failure is the highest in the first year of business, and asking experienced franchise owners about the difficulties they faced during their first year can provide you with valuable information and prepare accordingly. 

It's also essential to know whether the franchise owner faced any unexpected challenges, and how the franchisor supported them during these times. This question will help you gauge the level of support provided and determine whether the franchise opportunity aligns with your risk tolerance and ability to address potential issues. It empowers you to weigh the pros and cons with a clear understanding and offers insight into how you can handle the unexpected.


3. Did the Franchisor Training Set You up for Success? 

One of the biggest advantages of investing in a franchise is the training and support offered by the franchisor. Not all training programs are created equal, and it's crucial to understand how effective and comprehensive the training provided by the franchisor is. Ask franchisees about their experience with the initial and ongoing training program and whether they felt adequately prepared to run their business after completing it.

One key advantage of investing in a franchise is that prior business or industry experience isn’t typically required. This makes the quality of the support and training the franchisor offers that much more important. Until you can verify what a franchisor's training and support are really like, you may not be 100% confident in what you are signing up for. 

Be sure to ask detailed questions about what the training covered, if they feel initial training adequately prepared them to run their franchise, and whether ongoing support has been helpful. Asking these questions will allow you to evaluate whether the franchise opportunity aligns with your skill set and whether you feel confident in your ability to excel in the business based on the training provided.


4. When Did Your Franchise Become Profitable?

Many individuals explore franchising as a means to achieve their financial goals, such as generating income, building a legacy, or securing their financial future. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the financial aspect of the franchise business to develop realistic expectations about your potential earnings as a franchise owner.

Franchisors often provide as part of their offering documents, and these can be helpful in many ways. Speaking with franchisees about their profitability can allow you to validate whether these projections align with actual financial performance. Ask the franchisee how long it took for their franchise to become profitable and whether it aligned with the by the franchisor. Questions like these can also help you compare the income expectations to the total initial investment and ongoing franchise fees.  


5. What’s Your Work-Life Balance Like as a Franchisee?

If you're like most prospective franchise owners, one of the reasons franchising may have caught your attention is the benefit of a greater work-life balance. By hearing about franchisees' experiences, you can assess whether the work-life balance they describe aligns with your own values, priorities, and lifestyle goals. 

To determine a franchise's work-life balance, ask the franchisee what a typical day in their life of franchise ownership looks like. As they respond, pay close attention to the level of detail you hear and try to picture yourself in their shoes.  Do they have the flexibility to attend important family events and prioritize their personal life, or are they constantly tied to business?

Asking these questions can help you get a full picture of the time commitment, as well as shed a more accurate light on the operational demands of the franchise.


6. If You Could Do It Over Again, Would You Still Invest in a Franchise? 

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether a franchise opportunity is worth pursuing is by asking existing franchisees if they would invest in the business again. This question allows you to gain insight into their overall satisfaction with the franchisor and their decision to become a franchisee. This question can also help alleviate any concerns you may have about uncertainty or regret.

At the same time, an equally important part of this question is the follow-up: "Why is that?"  Asking follow-up questions can help you understand the reasoning behind their answer. This will give you a well-rounded understanding of their experience and help you make an informed decision about becoming a franchisee. Hopefully, the owners you speak to in the validation sessions will each help build a case for becoming an owner yourself.


Get Answers to Your Franchising Questions with Neighborly® 

While the 6 questions featured here are a great start, there are many more questions you can ask to get a thorough understanding of the franchise experience. As you prepare to talk to franchise owners, write up as many questions as you'd like and include follow-up questions, if needed. Then, use what you hear in your validation calls to ask a different owner the same question. In this way, you can compare and evaluate the answers you receive.

If you're interested in exploring home service franchise opportunities, we hope you will consider exploring the Neighborly family of brands. As part of the Mutual Evaluation process, we encourage our prospective franchise owners to get to know our franchise owners and ask all of the important questions.

We invite you to speak with one of our franchise developers, who will work with you to determine if owning a home service franchise is right for you by discussing your personal and professional goals, skills, background, and more. 



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