Franchisor Tips: How Often Should I Check In With My Franchisees?

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In our latest ‘Franchisor Tips’ article we explore how and when you should check in with your franchisees to get the best results.

If you’re new to the franchising world you might want to know how you can effectively keep tabs on your franchisees. Or, you might just be looking for some general leadership and management skills to help you be a better boss. Either way, you should find some of the answers you need in this ‘Franchisor Tips’ article.

What do we mean by ‘check in’? Well, this can include monitoring franchisee performance, providing ongoing support and simply being on hand to help. As a franchisor, you face the challenge of balancing being present with not being intrusive. You want to check in sufficiently enough to secure the success of your franchise brand but without getting overly involved in their business day to day. Yes, entrepreneurs will likely look for franchise opportunities that provide ongoing support. But, they will also want to be business owners in their own right, and be able to realise their dream of being their own boss.

How often should I check in with my franchisees?

There isn’t one concrete answer to this and it will vary from franchise to franchise. It will also depend on the stage your franchisees are at in their franchise journey.

At the start, they will need more support and their performance will need to be monitored regularly. The early stages can make it or break it, so you and your franchise team need to be on hand to help whenever they need it.

However, franchisees that have been running and thriving for many years, or those that are at the start of their journey with your franchise brand but are highly experienced in the franchise world might not need to rely on your support as much. You will, of course, still need to monitor their performance, though.

Why is it important to check in with franchisees?

If one of your franchisees is underperforming it can seriously damage the brand, drain your support resource and be detrimental for the value of their business. It’s recommended that you identify the causes of any franchisee underperformance as early as possible. You can then apply the most appropriate intervention strategies to preserve and grow the franchisee’s business. This is on top of reducing the risks to yourself and the rest of the franchisees in the network.

Let’s explore some ways that you can keep an eye on your franchisees and check that they are on the path to long-term success.

1. Carry out in-person visits

One of the most helpful ways to check in with your franchisees is popping in and seeing how the franchise is operating. You might want to give franchisees warning of your visit, or you could decide to turn up unannounced.

But site support visits are far from just being a way to monitor your franchisees’ performance; they are also an integral part of the support system. As well as being able to observe how the franchise is operating in accordance with brand standards, you can also advise the franchisee on ways to improve the business operations.

2. Have virtual check-ins

The COVID-19 crisis has affected franchise operations significantly. One way that franchisors have had to pivot is by carrying out virtual visits. And, due to them being a big success, they will likely be used long into the future even when things return to ‘normal’.

Set up a scheduled call with your franchisees. Ask them questions like ‘Do you feel like you are achieving your goals?’ ‘Is there anything else me or the franchise team can do to help?’ ‘Have there been any issues?’

You can then use this information to help improve operations for the entire franchise network and run training days to make sure every franchisee is achieving their full potential.

3. Analyse their financials

Another way to measure the performance of your franchisees is by analysing the franchise fee you receive. Often, the franchise fees are paid monthly as a percentage of gross sales. This can therefore indicate how well franchisees are performing. You can monitor and verify the fees by reading the financial statements that they submit under the franchise agreement.

However, to make sure that the franchisee is performing by the operating and brand standards as well as succeeding financially, you will need to do a spot check, an operations audit, or one of the other strategies covered in this list.

4. Ask to receive all customer comments

One method to check in with your franchisees is by asking that you receive all comments and complaints they get from customers. Then, if they are receiving great feedback you can make sure to congratulate them and give them a well-deserved pat on the back. Or, if they are facing some criticism, you can help them get back on track and deal with the complaints the right way.

5. Provide a strong support network

It’s important that your franchisees receive sufficient support and feel like you truly care about their success. It’s not uncommon for there to be franchisee complaints in younger franchise systems that they don’t see the franchisor enough and feel somewhat abandoned. To prevent this, make sure that you show how much you care.

6. Take part in a course

If you want to become a complete pro at monitoring your franchisees’ performance, you could even take part in a course run by the British Franchise Association (bfa).

The workshop lasts one day and covers topics like why it’s important to maintain standards in the franchise network, what can happen if you don’t monitor franchisee performance and key areas to monitor.

It’s open to franchisors, business development managers, management teams and professional advisors.

Head to its website for more details and to register your interest.

7. Use our franchisor tips

By using these franchisor tips you should feel more confident with how you can check in with your franchisees. Remember, it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and this may vary franchisee to franchisee. And, you need to make sure that you give your franchisees as much room to breathe as you promised at your discovery days and in the franchise agreement (so long as they’re not heading into turbulent times).

If you’ve found this helpful, check out our latest articles for franchisors.

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