When starting out on your franchising journey, it is important to understand that you are entering into a mutually beneficial agreement with your franchisor. On the one hand, you get the chance to start your own business and be your own boss. On the other, your franchisor expands their brand reach across the country and the world. However, to ensure that you get the most out of franchising, it is vital that you can work well with your franchisor and stick to the conditions of the franchise agreement. David Truby, a franchisee turned franchisor with Greensleeves – a lawn care franchise with over 108 territories across the UK – understands what it takes to nurture a great franchisee/franchisor relationship. He gives his practical advice on creating a solid connection with your franchisor to help your business thrive.
Do your due diligence
When you invest in a franchise, your first thoughts might be that brand recognition is the most important factor or that the location of your unit will influence your success. However, one element people rarely consider is the benefit of having a great business relationship with your franchisor. Your business can thrive when you and your franchisor are on the same page. When you are not, it can end disastrously for both parties.
It is not enough to invest in a franchise opportunity after getting on well with the other party during an initial meeting or discovery day. You will be committing to working alongside them for years, so you should take your time to make a final decision. When exploring a franchise, establish exactly what you should expect in terms of ROI, marketing materials and support.
Start by determining if you have the same business approach and outlook as your franchisor. Do you share the same beliefs, ethics, values, and purpose? If the answer is yes, the chances of you developing a prosperous relationship will be far higher. When you do your due diligence, your franchisee/franchisor relationship will start off on the right foot.
When doing your due diligence, another critical factor to identify before investing is how committed your franchisor is to training and supporting franchisees – both in the early stages of your onboarding and throughout the rest of your time as a franchisee. Some franchisors offer comprehensive support, including training, materials, and ongoing support. Others simply offer guidance and advice. Either approach works, but it is worth finding a franchise that aligns with your needs. The best way to find this information is by asking franchisees already involved in the network.
Follow the process and suggest improvements
Once you have done your due diligence and decided you are willing to invest in a franchise, you will be equipped with marketing materials and systems to run your franchise business. This means you do not have to reinvent the wheel. However, because franchises work in part due to consistency of brand, menu, design, and service, when a franchisee veers away from the system, it could call into question the uniformity of the business, which defeats the very purpose of a franchise business model. Therefore, you must hold yourself accountable for meeting certain standards once you have financially committed to the franchise. Of course, if you think something could improve, there is no harm in suggesting it to your franchisor. After all, you are on the front line delivering the services every day. Any good franchisor will take your advice on board and look into improving the services.
Ensure you have an open line of communication
Having open and honest conversations with your franchisor will make your franchise business more efficient. This means sharing best practices, honest feedback and ideas for future innovations. Also, doing simple things like promptly returning phone calls, arranging to talk on a weekly basis, or working with the franchisor to set goals will only strengthen your relationship. When you work together with your franchisor to create plans and develop business strategies, both the relationship and the brand are strengthened.
Don’t just take my word for it
Oliver Wood runs Greensleeves’ Huddersfield, North Sheffield and Wakefield. Fast approaching his 15th year with Greensleeves, 35-year-old franchisee has experienced remarkable growth. In 2020, he became the first Greensleeves franchisee to break the million-pound mark. He attributes this success to his hard work, determination and having a great relationship with his franchisor.
“I started with Greensleeves at the age of 19, and because of this, I was forced to mature on the job. However, instead of making me feel bad when I made mistakes, the head office team looked for ways to get the best out of me. They really nurtured me professionally and developed my skill set,” said Oliver.
“For me, having a clear line of honest communication is one way to develop a great relationship with a franchisor. This allows me to get my points across and suggest improvements in how we could carry out our work. For example, some of us in the network requested a solution to the amount of admin we were doing. The franchisor listened to what we had to say and developed the Greensleeves Live app. This transformed how we operate and made the business more efficient, and it all came from having an open dialogue with the franchisor,” Oliver explained.
“A good line of communication with your franchisor will also enable you to ask questions whenever you need help. I’ve been with the franchise for so long now, but there is still the odd occasion when I need help. When you start out as a franchisee, your franchisor should be in regular contact. The more experience you have, the less they will need to reach out. However, I recommend still arranging in-person meetings or Zoom calls with your franchisor now and then, especially if you have to discuss important topics or goals.”
About the author:
David Truby is the MD of Greensleeves. Established in 1998, Greensleeves is a lawn care franchise with 108 territories in the UK. Greensleeves deliver an all-year-round lawn care service through a network of franchisees across the UK and in 2021 recorded a record-breaking year.