The franchise application process

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Franchisee article

Franchising has become a popular career goal, and it’s easy to see why. Buying a franchise offers the unique opportunity to be your own boss while benefitting from the security of a proven business model.

UK franchising industry

The BFA lists 48,600 franchise outlets in the UK alone, which collectively contribute over £17 billion and 710,000 jobs to the economy. Also, around 90 percent of franchisees have reported profitability each year.

There are countless entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry and start reaping the benefits that franchising has to offer. This therefore means there is more competition for newcomers learning how to become a franchisee, the most crucial step of which is making sure a franchisor chooses you to go into business with.

The franchise application process

Franchisors use franchise applications as a screening mechanism to establish candidates’ suitability. Most franchise applications can be found on the franchise’s website, but it’s usually possible to have one emailed over too.

This might be your first point of communication with the franchisor; therefore, it should be taken seriously. Dedicate a generous amount of time to gathering all the required information so you can complete it to the best of your abilities.

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Financial situation

The franchisor will ask for details regarding your current financial situation, for instance personal assets and liabilities. This is to ensure that you have the necessary financial resources should the business face unexpected difficulties. You will also have to detail your spouse’s finances and any financial partners you have. In summary, your personal financial statement will include assets, liabilities, sources of income, total income and net worth.

Preferences for franchise location

Application forms will ask which territories or cities you would like to set up in, if you are prepared to relocate and any alternatives you would be open to.

Personal experience and qualifications

The franchisor wants to know your background, including relevant experience and your education. This is so they can determine if you match what they are looking for. To protect the brand that they have worked so hard to develop, as well as existing franchisees, they will want to be reassured you have the personality traits and capability to run your own franchise location successfully.

The application form will most likely have a section dedicated to determining what you already know about the franchise and why you are interested.

Despite us stressing the importance of taking the time to complete the application accurately and professionally, you do want to be as prompt as possible with returning it. Then, you can get a response quickly and a telephone interview can be arranged.

McDonald’s franchise application process

To get more of an idea of what is involved in the franchise application process, what better brand to look at than the world’s leading franchise: McDonald’s.

  1. Meet them. Attend one of the open days and ask any questions.
  2. Make an application. Have your financial details and references ready to fill it in.
  3. Have your first interview.
  4. Spend five days in a restaurant. See how the they operate first-hand and engage with the team.
  5. Have your second interview with the McDonald’s Regional VP and Head of Franchising.
  6. Have your panel interview and final interview with three senior Vice Presidents from the company.
  7. Start training.
  8. Receive the restaurant offer.
  9. Launch!

Franchisors choose franchisees carefully

It is often mistakenly believed that anybody can buy a franchise, so long as they have the necessary investment. However, franchisors have a vested interest in choosing only the best candidates to work with.

New franchisees are trusted to uphold the brand, closely follow the franchise model and work hard enough to ensure a profit. Spending time and effort on unsuitable candidates is an inefficient use of a franchisor’s resources — you will need to prove to them that you are the best choice for a new partnership.

How to make sure a franchisor chooses you

Do your research on franchises

Although it may seem like a step in the wrong direction, you should first consider whether a franchise is right for you. The benefits are clear, but buying into a franchise business opportunity also means long hours, financial risks and the restriction of a prescribed franchise model. Not everybody is compatible with the lifestyle; you should take time to learn all the pros and cons for yourself.

Establish your personal goals

Taking stock of your personal and professional goals allows you to determine how a franchise might help you to achieve them. For many, the freedom and financial possibilities available to them are motivation enough to push to the next step; others may find that they currently lack the skills necessary to get a franchise off the ground. Either way, you’ll come out of your research with a clear path ahead of you and an improved understanding of how to become a franchisee.

You must be certain that you’re capable of running a successful franchise before you can expect a franchisor to choose you.

Find the best fit for you

With over 900 franchisors registered with the BFA, there are plenty to choose from to ensure you find the perfect franchise model for you. A good fit should provide a satisfying and prosperous career as you work in the industry of your choice, make use of your particular skills, and represent a brand that you’re proud to be a part of. Franchisors are eager to find the best fitting candidates to work with so they can secure a thriving business for years to come.

Make a list of pros and cons

Understanding what it is you hope to gain from a franchise will help you to narrow the wide range of choices. It’s also important to consider your financial situation, as that may determine whether a particular franchise business opportunity is available to you or not. Make a list of your preferred franchises and learn as much as you can about each of them; this will uncover which brands you’re well suited to, alongside which ones are most compatible with your goals and values.

Understand the financial plan

As a franchisee, you’ll be financially responsible for the success of your business. Therefore, it’s crucial that you complete a cash flow projection as part of your business plan and prove to the franchisor that you have a thorough understanding of how the franchise model works. A good business plan will lay out when you hope to turn a profit, and it will prepare you for potential pitfalls along the way.

The process of setting up a franchise will include a series of upfront costs and may require a loan from a bank. It will probably take some time until the business turns a profit and an accurate cash flow projection means that you will be financially prepared for that scenario.

Franchise vs independent start-up

Fortunately, a major benefit to franchise owners over independent businesses is the wealth of information available to improve the accuracy of their projections. A clear financial understanding of the franchise model will be vital to your success, and a franchisor will be looking for candidates who can display that.

Prove that you are capable

The work of a franchisee is uniquely different to all other professions, but it still requires the use of key transferable skills. Sales and management are among the most important, as explained by franchise consultant Jim Judy: “Selling your goods and services and managing the people who do are the biggest roles that franchisees play.” Alongside those, a franchisee will also be expected to run local marketing campaigns that coincide with the brand’s national efforts.

Provide evidence of how you’ve used your skills

Sales, management and marketing. Most people coming from the workforce will have experience in at least some of these skills. They will be essential to your success, and you need to prove to franchisors that you have them. Find examples of how you have effectively used these skills in the past to provide concrete evidence of your abilities. If you can’t find examples, perhaps consider how you know you’re capable of running a franchise and find a way to communicate that instead.

Prepare to make an impression

It’s time to reach out to your preferred franchisors and express your interest in starting a business with them. This may be through an application form or an interview. Either way, you want to ensure that you tell them why you’re suitable for the job. If you’ve followed the steps in this article, you should have a clear understanding of what makes you the perfect candidate.

Share your knowledge of their business, your understanding of the finances and your potential ability to make a franchise thrive. Prove to them that you know how to become a franchisee with a profitable business.

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