Okay, you have made the decision to buy a burger franchise, but you don’t know which one. Trying to wade through all the possibilities can seem like a daunting experience. Don’t worry though. A franchise broker can help you find the perfect fit. They act as the go-between between franchisors and potential franchisees. More and more franchisors are using them to improve franchise lead generation, but are they really helpful for the potential franchisees?
Here is what you need to consider before hiring a franchise broker:
They will sort out the clutter
The internet can be both a beautiful and a scary thing. Today, there isn’t much that you can’t find on the internet, but that can be a problem sometimes. If you were to google burger franchise, there is so much information out and so many burger franchises to choose from that it could take you a long time to sort through it all. They come in all shapes and sizes with their own ground rules. And if you are new to the franchise game you might not be sure about what criteria you need to be looking for when you make your big decision.
More opportunities available
Without a broker, you are forced to resort to visiting potential franchises one by one as you research them and find out the particulars of their franchising agreement. Franchise brokers typically work with a group of franchises all at the same time so it is easier to get a better feel for all the opportunities available to you and unlike the internet, the broker will work with you one on one to find the perfect fit.
Not all franchise brokers are equal though. Here are some qualities you should look for in a franchise broker:
At least 5 years of experience in the biz
You are going to a broker because you want someone who has experience in the franchise industry so make sure that your broker has enough experience whether as a franchisee or a franchisor to really be of value to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of their experience. In particular, do they know the burger franchise well? There may be particular issues pertaining to burger franchises that you need to be aware of and if your broker mostly deals with spas or fitness centers, they might not be that knowledgeable about the inside and out of running a burger restaurant.
How much time will they devote to you?
You want to pick someone who will be invested in you and will spend enough time with you to really understand what you are looking for. If someone is just looking for a quick paycheck, they may advise you in a wrong way just to make a sale without considering if it will be a good choice for you down the line. Will they respond to your phone calls or emails in a timely fashion? Will they help you through every step of the process of becoming a franchisee?
Words of caution
While there are many benefits to hiring a franchise broker as with anything there also some cons as well. It is not for everybody. One thing you need to be careful of is that brokers sometimes present themselves more as consultants than brokers meaning that they have only your best interest at heart. You have to keep in mind that they are representing the franchisors and typically get paid a fee for every sale they bring in. So this kind of limits your options. You need to ask yourself if the broker is being honest about it being a good fit of if they are just looking to make a sale. A true franchise consultant, on the other hand, is directly working for you. Also keep in mind that there are good franchisors which you might miss out on because they are not represented by a broker or a consultant.
Consider hiring a broker as a means to supplement your own research and legwork. If you do decide to go to a broker, make sure you research them thoroughly as well. Talk to people you know who already own a franchise and ask the how they came about their decision and if they could recommend a trustworthy brokerage firm.
If the broker spends very little time with you and doesn’t try to really get to know you, then they might not have your best interests at heart. Also be wary of a broker who will suggest a franchisor to make their fee even if they know you are not going to be a good fit. Don’t be afraid to ask to for referrals. And make sure you have a face to face meeting with a few consultants before choosing one. Find out about their fees. If they get paid by the franchisor on your signing then you might not need to pay anything. While this is nice, just make sure that they are not recommending a sale for the wrong reasons.
Also make sure they have a strong roster of franchisors with enough variety for you to choose from. They should be able to offer you a few choices with marked differences between them. The more options you have, the more confident you will feel in your final choice. Make sure he or she has done their homework on their franchisors. Have they reviewed their Franchise Disclosure Document? Do they have referrals from their current franchisees that you can check? Red flares should be going up if they are trying to sell you on a company with some skeletons in the closet.
Buying into a burger franchise is a big step so you want to make sure that you have similar goals and values. A good franchise broker will do everything in their power to make the best match possible. If you are confident that hiring a broker or consultant is the best way of achieving your dream of owning a burger franchise, then consider a company like MBB Management Consulting who is an industry leader and really knows the burger biz inside and out.