Wondering whether to join a franchisee association? That may be one of the many decisions you’re facing if you’re a new franchisee. Let’s take a look at what they do and the benefits of membership.
What is a franchisee association?
A franchisee association is an entity that’s entirely separate and independent of the franchise itself. This sets it apart from other groups like franchisee advisory boards, which many franchise brands themselves create. An association gives franchisees a collective voice and a means to communicate with the franchisor. While in some cases a franchisor may consider such an association its adversary, usually both sides see its value.
Who better to consult for advice, tips, and best practices than your franchisee peer group? Sharing information is a key benefit of a franchisee association. For example, franchisors don’t always have the capacity to help franchisees navigate every regulation that comes along with business ownership. An association, however, can help franchisees navigate new or confusing laws that affect the way they run their business. And when there’s a conflict with the franchisor, the “louder,” collective voice of an association is usually more effective at representing franchisee interests than any one single owner could be.
What to look for
Some associations operate more effectively than others. A worthwhile association will stand as the voice of the franchisees through a collaborative process with the franchisor’s management. The association should represent the interests of the entire franchisee community and serve as a tool for addressing issues. It should focus on brand and franchise system matters, rather than weighing in on specific issues that an individual franchisee has with the franchisor. Look for a group that focuses on the positive, is forward-looking, and that creates opportunities for franchisees to get involved. It may be helpful to ask about the history of the association. If it was formed as a reaction to a dispute with the franchisor, its usefulness may not extend past that dispute.
Franchisee associations can facilitate franchisee involvement in advertising and purchasing issues, and in planning on regional and national levels. Many provide mentoring, training, and legal support services to members. These many benefits make it worth your while to investigate a franchisee association if there is one in your franchise system.