Confessions of a Franchise Consultant: I am Put Off When People Ask if Franchise Consultants are Legit
Every industry has rotten apples that can tarnish a profession. A great example is lawyers. In addition to numerous jokes about the profession, television shows depict lawyers as the most egregious of characters and “ambulance chasers.” Despite that, we rely on attorneys for personal and professional reasons, and most of us do not have a bad story to tell.
Part of me understands why people may be leery about working with franchise consultants. The franchising world appears murky to those on the outside. It is mysterious, and there are horror stories from time to time about a franchise system that is plagued with issues. I network a ton, and one of the first questions that professionals in other fields tend to ask about is my experience and what gives me the right to provide helpful advice to those seeking franchise business opportunities.
Professional franchise consultants are trained, skilled, and certified to do business. We bridge the gap between the franchisor and the franchisee. A good franchise consultant loves what they do and is passionate about helping others. The growth of the franchise industry has been tremendous, and franchise consultants are at the heart of it. The International Franchise Association reports that more than 775,000 establishments exist in the U.S. alone. Franchise consultants have been instrumental in helping many of them get started. And yes, franchise consultants are legit!
Since people always ask me if franchise consultants are on the up and up, I created this list of reasons why franchise consultants are qualified to help franchisee candidates.
Why Franchise Consultants are Qualified to Help Franchisee Candidates
Certification and Expertise
There are several big franchise broker networks out there, and I chose to join one with a certification process. I have received the proper education and knowledge to serve candidates. My franchise broker network also has an ethics board and provides continuing education sessions five days per week. All of these resources help me provide the very best guidance to candidates.
Unlike a franchise developer, my company, Milestone Franchising, is completely autonomous. I have no quotas to meet, and if I believe that a concept is not a great fit for my candidates then I never have to show it. I am here to give franchisee candidates impartial, expert advice. Trying to navigate the internet and weed through 4,000 franchises is no easy task.
Aside from the 150 educational sessions I have access to, there are mastermind sessions where consultants meet and discuss what they see in the industry and their experiences with various concepts they have presented. This information is invaluable since it is difficult to navigate the constantly-changing industry.
An added bonus to working with franchise consultants is access to our network. We can provide introductions to reputable lending institutions, franchise attorneys, CPA’s, merchant services, insurance, marketing services, and many other professions.
With many consultants, the support does not end once they have made an introduction on your behalf to a franchise system. Meeting with a franchise consultant weekly or bi-weekly can provide a sounding board for you to ask questions, talk through concerns or keep you moving to the next step in the process. I touch base with all candidates I have helped place at least quarterly to see how they are doing and if there is anything they need.
Regulated by the FTC
When I tell people that there is no charge for my services, I often get a look of surprise which then turns to skepticism. Franchising is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC mandates how franchise consultants practice. The FTC’s Franchise Rule states that franchise consultants cannot receive compensation from a franchisee candidate unless the compensation is fully disclosed in writing and agreed upon by both parties. As a result, most consultants do not charge for their services. However, some may ask for a deposit to ensure that the candidate is serious in their quest for franchise ownership.
Yes, Franchise Consultants are for Real!
Working with a franchise consultant can be a wise decision for anyone considering a franchise business investment. With our expertise, experience, and network of contacts, we can help you make an informed decision to provide a better foundation to get started as a franchise business owner.
“Speak the truth. Transparency breeds legitimacy.” —John C. Maxwell