Researching a franchise: 4 things you can’t find online

If you’re interested in becoming a business owner, you may be in the process of researching a franchise. Starting the process online can be useful. There’s a lot of information available to help you explore the wide range of options. But to get a fully informed view of which businesses are right for you, you’ll need to step away from your computer.

Here are 4 important things you need to know that you can’t find online.

Your strength as a candidate

Your strength as a candidate is based on many factors, including your skills, experience, and financial qualifications. If you lose sight of this while researching a franchise, you can easily waste hours looking at businesses you’re not suited for. Working with a franchise consultant is a great way to make your search an efficient one. A consultant will help you assess your abilities and desires, and create a financing action plan based on your credit score, liquidity, and net worth. S/he will then match you with suitable franchise opportunities and help you down the path of finding your perfect fit.

Whether there’s availability in your area

It’s a common occurrence: when researching a franchise, you get excited and enthusiastic about a specific opportunity that ultimately turns out to be a dead end. In some cases it doesn’t work out because you don’t qualify, but in others it’s because there’s no available territory where you live. Working with a franchise consultant can save you time, trouble, and disappointment. The consultant will conduct territory checks on businesses available in your market.

How much money you’ll make

Not surprisingly, most people researching a franchise want to know how much money they can expect to make. And the best way to get a solid understanding of a franchisee’s income potential is through conversations with franchisees and careful review of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Generally, franchisors provide FDDs to prospective franchisees after one or more qualification conversations. Be aware that it’s optional for franchises to make a written earnings claim or “financial performance representation” in their FDDs, and in some instances franchisors do not make them.

Nail down as many financial details as you can with the franchisees. What does it really cost to open a unit? How soon can you start making money? How much can you expect? In many cases, only franchisees can give you the real story.

The corporate culture of the franchise

A Google search can’t help you determine how well your values align with any particular franchise. To figure out what you have in common with the company’s franchisees (your future peers and colleagues), you’ll need to speak with the franchisees themselves. What do they think of the training and support provided by the franchisor? How focused is the organization on helping franchisees thrive?


While researching a franchise can seem overwhelming, there’s actually a well-tested method to the madness. A qualified franchise consultant will help you narrow the field and efficiently find the business opportunities that fit you perfectly.