In franchising, it can seem like new franchisees are signed every minute and that anyone can buy into a franchise. In reality, smart franchisors give great thought when selecting franchisees as they are representing the brand in key markets across the country.
At Screenmobile, we have three foundational strategies in place to ensure that we are signing the right franchisees. Not every strategy is right for every franchise, but here are our tried-and-true ways to make sure you’re selecting the right franchisees for your business:
Create a Checklist of What You’re Looking For
The first step in finding the right person for your system is to lock down what you’re looking in a franchisee. As a franchisor, create a check list of qualities that are important to the brand.
At Screenmobile, we have the three C’s which are the main things we look at in our search: character, competence and communication. First, with character, we make sure to have in-depth conversations to get at the root of someone’s character. We make it a point to figure out how the candidate handles money; if the individual can’t manage money well in their personal lives, then they will most likely continue these bad habits in their business. Make sure to also dig deep and talk to people close to the candidate, whether it be friends or family to find out what the person is like to ensure that they are a fit.
As for competence, we make sure that the potential franchisee is skilled at sales and personable. In addition, they need to be mechanically inclined, so I usually ask the candidate about certain scenarios (i.e. what they would do if they got a flat tire) to see how they answer. As the franchisor, it is beneficial to think of scenarios like this to ask potential franchisees to see how they would handle certain situations.
Lastly, with communication, we want to have a franchisee that excels at every type of communication, whether it be email, texting, verbal, one-on-one, etc. If a franchisee is not a good communicator, then they won’t be the right franchisee in our business, which is very consumer facing. Think of similar criteria for your franchise that are non-negotiables for a franchisee to have and determine ways to best assess if the potential franchisee fits the criteria.
Take Your Time and Ask Tough Questions
Signing an agreement with a franchisee does not happen overnight. The entire process takes time since the franchisor needs to make sure that the franchisee fits their checklist and the franchisee in turn has to make sure that they are ready to commit to the franchise. This really needs to be thought of as “methodical growth” rather than choosing franchisees just to boost growth numbers. If you take your time to find the franchisee that fit the brand, you will have a more sustainable franchise system.
This is the time to also ask the tough questions to find out if the individual is a fit; it’s better to find out now than when they are already in the system. If you are a family-oriented franchise, then this may be the time to ask questions about why they want to open a franchise with your brand – if the only answer is money, then this person may not be right for you.
At Screenmobile, it can take about nine weeks to award a franchise based on various factors, such as reviewing their application, speaking with them one-on-one, scheduling a discovery day and more. It’s best for the franchisor to recognize that this will take time and strategize how to find the best match – after all, franchises are only as successful as their franchisees, so it’s important to remember that each signing has an effect on the overall company.
Have Face-to-Face Time
Meeting with potential franchisees is a crucial step in the process. Discovery days are important not only to showcase the brand, but to get that vital face-to-face time. A candidate may check all the boxes on paper, but there’s nothing more effective than an in-person meeting to make sure they are a fit. Think of this as the final in-person interview before hiring someone for the job.
As different franchises analyze their growth strategies, they need to be asking themselves – do we care about more about short-term growth or finding the right person to grow our brand with us? Although it may seem like growing fast is the better option, it can have severe consequences if the brand’s culture and mission aren’t taken into careful consideration. To stay true to the brand, you have to think about who will keep the concept consistent across all markets.
Scott Walker is the CEO and president of Screenmobile – a nationwide leader in screen doors, windows, porches and screen repair. Walker and his family founded Screenmobile in their garage in 1980 in Glendora, Calif. After nearly 40 years in business, Screenmobile has grown to more than 100 licenses across the U.S.