Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Franchise
Are you looking to create a pathway to a career and lifestyle you’ve dreamed about by owning your own home-based business? Then it only makes sense to explore the key decision points about buying a franchise. And while there are a multitude of advantages to owning a franchise, such as setting your own schedule and capitalizing on an established brand, important considerations and questions should be addressed up front so you have a clear picture of what to expect moving forward. It’s also wise to get to know the people who run the franchise you're considering and find out certain details of the business. In the industry, this is called the "discovery process." Most large, well established franchisors, such as Home Franchise Concepts®, (HFC) have a structured process that typically starts with a phone call, followed by video presentations and/or in-person meetings, and end with a trip to the corporate headquarters for what’s known as a "Discovery Day". With smaller brands this process is often less structured. Either way, you will have the opportunity to ask some pointed questions to determine if the franchise is a good fit for your short term and long term objectives. If you’re considering a franchise such as Concrete Craft®, a nationally branded expert in stamped, resurfaced, stained, and restored concrete, you will find their franchise development team eager and well qualified to address all of your questions so you can make a well-educated decision regarding potential next steps as a franchise business owner. Below are several questions to consider asking a franchisor during this “discovery” process to help ensure you are in the best position possible to realize your dream of owning your own home-based franchise business.
Who is your ideal franchisor candidate?
While you’re asking yourself if this is the right franchise for you, it’s also important to know if in their eyes, you are the right candidate for the franchisor. Listen carefully to what a franchisor says about an ideal candidate. They will likely describe the attributes they look for in a candidate. By asking this simple question you will learn if you fit their profile. For example, they may reveal they look for those who work well with people, and those who are coachable. They are likely drawn to those who are goal oriented and have a “can do” mindset that is calibrated toward success. A good franchisor will vet you at the same time you vet them. If you're not a good fit, it's much better to find out before you sign the franchise agreement. Ensuring you are the right fit as a franchisee is just one reason Concrete Craft is the recognized leader in decorative concrete, with more than 80 successful franchise locations in North America- and counting.
What changes did you make to support franchisees through Covid-19?
This is a question that would not have been asked a year ago but one that speaks volumes about both your forward-thinking mindset and how the franchisor might respond in challenging circumstances. Learning how things went during the worst of times will give you insight into how things might go in the best of times — or in the event of another crisis. For example, did the franchisor provide special vendor/partner allowances to franchisees that helped offset an unexpected drop in business? Did they offer additional training to franchisees to prepare them for implementing government mandated health precautions during Covid-19? Did they effectively pivot to how they typically do business? Many companies, including franchisors, are tested during challenging times that might occur through no fault of their own, and how they respond to such challenges will often demonstrate their ability to forge ahead in both good and not so good times.
What sets your brand apart from its competition?
Asking this question can immediately reveal a key to your ultimate success. That’s because having a competitive advantage or “secret sauce” helps differentiate your franchise from other similar businesses, which in turn, helps you attract more customers. With Concrete Craft, you’re in a unique position to have multiple competitive advantages. For starters, they boast an unmatched footprint in both branding power and buying power since they are currently the largest decorative concrete coatings franchise in the nation, yet there is still a lot of opportunity to open up new franchise territories across the U.S. and Canada. In addition, while most decorative concrete companies (usually independent operators) specialize in only one process, such as staining or stamping, Concrete Craft has mastered the entire decorative process of stained, stamped and resurfaced concrete, including vertical concrete resurfacing and concrete repair systems. They also use exclusive and proprietary techniques, such as a hand-cut and custom-colored system that creates a lasting finish that simulates real stone, and an advanced coloring system with built-in UV protection that utilizes the very latest in nanotechnology.
What does it take to be successful as a franchise owner?
While this question might sound less specific than others, asking this of a franchisor gives them an open “canvas” to articulate the areas they feel are most critical to your success. Although all franchisors will train you and give you a system to follow, some require a specific skill set. It’s worth noting however that with Concrete Craft the majority of their franchisees did not have prior construction or concrete experience before launching their business. If the franchisor suggests you will need to network and build relationships in your community, then you will have to spend time connecting with people at local networking groups and events to help build a clientele. It also means some sales skills are needed. And while this approach is helpful in building your home-based franchise, with Concrete Craft it is just one facet of their approach to marketing. That’s because Concrete Craft and their franchisees benefit greatly from a turn-key, comprehensive and localized marketing support program. They also utilize a refined National Advertising Fund (NAF) to increase top-of-mind awareness for the brand which includes a targeted presence in the digital world.
How financially strong is your franchise?
This might be considered a “brass tacks” question, and for good reason. Before you invest your own money into what you hope is your slice of the American dream, it only makes sense to know the financial track record of the franchisor and/or parent company. For example, can the franchisor retain support staff during an economic downturn? Do they have enough capital to remain sustainable if royalties drop off? When asking these questions be sure to listen carefully and, just as importantly, watch for non-verbal responses, such as awkward glances or other signs of nervousness. If the franchisor offers to open their financial data, this would be a great way for you to see first hand how stable the company is.
Now is the time!
Right now is an ideal time to take the next step on your journey to taking control of your career, your future, and your life. Develop a plan, a roadmap to your success, and explore why Concrete Craft continues to expand as the leader in decorative concrete. We’re looking for those who have a passion to succeed. Call 1-800-420-5374 or explore the Concrete Craft opportunity online. You can also visit Home Franchise Concepts online and learn more about franchise ownership with our sister brands in the booming home improvement space. One of our franchise licensing advisors will be happy to answer any questions you have and assist you with evaluating whether franchise ownership is right for you.