How To Find The Right Franchisee Fit

Organized Notes
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Hiring is one of the costliest aspects of running a business. It’s time consuming. There is a hit and miss rate that is frustrating. It reminds me a bit of the NFL Draft. It seems like teams know what they’re doing, but the miss rate is incredibly high and a lot of it seems like blind luck.

The franchise industry runs into this situation. You not only have to hire people for the corporate side of things. But you have to bring on new franchisees. If they work out it’s great for all parties. But if they don’t work out it can lead to all sorts of headaches.

There is no way to perfect the franchisee process. But here are some tips that have helped many franchises over the years.

1. Identify The Day-To-Day Manager

Do you want the franchisee to be the day-to-day manager? Many franchise owners want to build their investment portfolios. They will hire a day-to-day manager. You may or may not want the owner to also be the operator. But whatever the situation you do want to get to know the manager. You want to see if they are the right fit. And the owner can be important as well. If they are going to be leaders and decision makers you’ll have to analyze both for the right fit.

2. Ability To Follow Instructions

One of the recurring issues with the franchise model is that you want to find entrepreneur-minded individuals. But you also want them to follow your instructions for success. You’ve found a model that works. You want to find the right people to follow your model so they succeed and so you succeed. It’s a tricky thing.

If the person is too much of an individual and rebel, you’re probably going to run into issues. They may feel that they have a better idea for a process. And that may be true. But it can lead to issues if they don’t follow the right steps for making suggestions.

Look at their past for clues on how well they follow instructions. Talk to people they’ve worked with. See if you can find former bosses to talk to. Try and set up initial conversations that lead to stories about following instructions.

3. Reliability

Just about every leader I’ve ever met places a high value on reliability. You see it in the NFL all the time. Coaches have a certain level of respect for talent and ability. But they almost always prefer a player that can be counted on to do the right thing. That reliability is key in business at all levels. Can the person be counted on in a number of key areas?

You want to find a franchisee that is reliable and consistent. You want them to follow through on instructions and get things done. You can usually find clues to these traits by talking with former employees, employers and others the person has worked with. Even with vendors.

4. Shared Values

The old saying is that¬†birds of a feather flock together. It’s true in many cases. If you’re starting out in franchising you may want to start by bringing on people that are similar to you. It doesn’t always need to be a requirement, but it can help you to find candidates that will mesh well with the operation you’ve created.

For example, maybe you’re from a small town. Maybe you have a rural franchise brand. Focusing on bringing on franchisees that also have a small town background might be a good choice. It’s not that a larger town background is bad. It’s just not something you’re familiar with. And that can lead to a longer learning curve. That may work in the future, but if you’re crunched for time and energy now you may want to start in the familiar zone.

5. History Repeats

Look for habits that people seem to have. Habits are unlikely to change in the future. Don’t overlook red flags that are going to be an issue for you. Certain things can be trained. For example, maybe the person you’re bringing on doesn’t have experience in your industry. But maybe they have the right values and work ethic. If it was the other way around it may actually be a worse fit.


There is no perfect way to bring on a new franchisee. You’ll probably have to go through some learning experiences. They can be costly. They can be frustrating. Hopefully these tips help, but really I hope that you’re able to work through any issues so that you continue to grow. It’s all part of the process and the ups and downs of running a growing franchise brand.

Did you enjoy this article? Get new articles weekly.