- Many franchise consultants will have an official certification—having this certification is usually a clear indicator that the consultant is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the franchise industry.
- if you are very early on in the franchising process, you might want to reach out to a franchise consultant that can give you the most objective viewpoints possible.
- Working with an expert will help make it much easier for you to develop a franchise management plan that will actually work.
- A franchise consultant can be a great resource that, at the very least, will help you get oriented with the dynamic world of being a franchise owner.
Currently, it is estimated that there are nearly 800,000 franchise locations in the United States, spread out across thousands of different franchises. In total, franchises account for about 3% of the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP), which means that franchises—as a whole—produce nearly $2 trillion in total economic activity.
There are many different industries that can benefit from the franchise model. Today, the four most common types of franchises include fast-service restaurants (including the increasingly popular healthy portion of that sector), home service providers, real estate businesses, and travel businesses.
Essentially, the franchise model involves the owner(s) of the franchise paying an initial franchising fee, in exchange for a wide variety of benefits. In addition to the benefits you can observe on the surface, franchisees will also receive professional support, marketing materials, connections to suppliers, and other things necessary to run a business.
It’s easy to see why the franchise industry continues to grow and accept new members every day across the country. However, with the incredible amount of support that today’s top franchises provide their franchisees, some franchisees might still want to seek some additional support.
When this is the case, franchisees will commonly look for support that can be provided by a franchise consultant.
But what exactly is a franchise consultant? And if you are currently a franchise owner—or plan to become one in the future—is hiring a franchise consultant something that is fundamentally worth it?
If you are currently interested in learning more about the ever-expanding franchise consultancy industry, you are certainly not alone. In the comprehensive guide to working with franchise consultants, we will help answer some of your most pressing questions and provide you with the information you need to make the right decision.
What Exactly is a Franchise Consultant?
As you’d probably guess, the term “franchise consultant” simply means a person who offers consulting, strategy, and guidance to anyone who currently operates a franchise or is considering opening a franchise in the future.
While most franchises will gladly answer the questions you have about opening a new location, some aspiring franchise owners prefer to work with someone outside of the organization that can offer them a more objective view.
Many franchise consultants will have an official certification—having this certification is usually a clear indicator that the consultant is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the franchise industry. However, there are also still some people who call themselves franchise consultants without having received a formal certification (which is not legally required). Whether the existence of the certification is important remains up to the individual franchisee.
What Types of Services Do Franchise Consultants Provide?
The exact set of services that a given franchise consultant provides will usually depend on their personal areas of expertise, the needs of their clients, and the franchises (or franchise industries) their clients are most likely to be working with. Still, even keeping that in mind, there are many different services a standard franchise consultant will provide.
Services provided by a franchise consultant typically include:
- Franchise Selection: one of the most important decisions a rising franchisee will make is the specific franchise they choose to work with. This will usually depend on their current access to capital, the industry they are most interested in, and where they want the franchise to be located (for example, a healthy fast-service restaurant is especially likely to do well in California). A good franchise consultant will make it easy to compare the pros and cons of the thousands of franchises available to choose from.
- Franchise Agreement: the franchise agreement is an important agreement that is signed at the beginning of every new franchise. A Certified Franchise Consultant will clearly explain the rights—and obligations—the agreement contains and will also point out areas that ought to be further negotiated.
- Ongoing Support: in most cases, the most important time to hire a franchise consultant is right at the very beginning of the franchising process. This is typically the point where franchisees will have the most franchising questions they need to have answered.
There are many different types of people who might choose to become a franchise consultant. A large portion of these consultants will have likely had success running a franchise in the past—after all, experience is a great teacher—though there are also quite a few who come from other business backgrounds.
How is This Support Any Different from the Support I am Getting from My Franchise?
One thing that is important to realize when you decide to open a franchise—whether is a cold press juice franchise, smoothie franchise, or any other type of franchise—is that once you are officially a franchisee, you are going to receive a lot of support.
In a lot of cases, particularly with franchises that care a lot about providing a great franchisee experience, the franchisor will be able to answer a lot of your questions and provide critical sources of guidance. For example, if you need to find a new supplier, need to find ways to optimize your produce and inventory management, need to navigate any legal or hiring issues, or simply need marketing and branding support, they will be there to help.
In other words, a good franchisor will be a critical lifeline that can help you navigate the fast-changing world of owning a franchise. Naturally, this begs the question: if I will already have direct support from the franchise, do I really need to hire a franchise consultant?
The answer, as it seems to be in so many cases, is it depends. For example, if you are very early on in the franchising process, you might want to reach out to a franchise consultant that can give you the most objective viewpoints possible. Of course, a reputable franchise, like Pure Green, is never going to lie to you. But these franchises tend to view themselves through rose-colored glasses (as they should) and will typically recommend you go with them first.
In some cases, the first franchise you come across could very well be the one you end up deciding to work with. However, as a diligent business owner, you’ll want to be sure to do your research and confirm you truly understand what you are committing to. This is where working with an experienced, qualified franchise consultant can really make a difference.
Now that you know a little bit more about what, exactly, a franchise consultant typically does, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons that come with this important decision:
Benefits of Hiring a Franchise Consultant
- Franchising Expertise: working with an expert will help make it much easier for you to develop a franchise management plan that will actually work. They’ll be able to tell you about their own experiences, offer deeper industry insights, and help you prepare for the challenges that are (inevitably) likely to emerge while you are running a franchise. Plus, by having a well-thought-out blueprint in hand before you begin your franchising journey, you’ll likely be much more confident as a franchise owner.
- Neutral Perspective: while franchise consultants will likely have a few “go-to” recommendations for franchises (usually these will include franchises they’ve seen their clients have success with in the past), they are paid by the franchisee, rather than any particular franchise, which makes it much easier for them to be objective. When comparing different franchise opportunities, they’ll be honest about the pros and cons that come with each one.
- Long-Term Strategic Planning: the best franchise consultants, like the best chess players, won’t only be thinking about your next move—they’ll also be thinking several moves ahead. This can be great for franchise owners who want to aggressively scale their operations, such as open multiple locations, run multiple different types of franchises, or even someday creating an independent brand of their own.
- Predictable Cost Structure: your franchise consultant should be straightforward about the total costs of working with them. While some might use a profit-sharing model, most will charge a flat fee. This makes it easier to find a franchise consultant who can effectively meet your needs and budget.
- Industry Connections: succeeding in the franchise industry will often require you to develop essential connections, including connections with lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, human resource managers, and so much more. In most cases, your franchise consultant will already have their foot in the door and will be able to connect you with the ongoing support you need.
Drawbacks of Hiring a Franchise Consultant
- Needless Expense: working with a franchise consultant is something that—one way or another—you are going to need to pay for. The good news is that consultants are required to disclose their pay structure up front, meaning you won’t be hit with any unexpected expenses. But even still, if you believe you are capable of navigating this process on your own, this is an expense you might want to consider cutting out.
- Scheduling Challenges: if you want to work with a particular consultant, you’ll need to be able to work around their schedule. But if they currently don’t have much availability, that means you’ll have to wait, which could delay the opening of your franchise.
- Uncertain Outcomes: just because you have a great plan in place, that doesn’t always mean the plan is going to work out. All franchise consultants can do is provide you with advice—there is no guaranteeing what the final outcome of the project might be.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Franchise Consultant
Before you make a final choice regarding your franchise consultant, it will help to make a list of a few options and take the time to ask some questions. By doing your research and getting to know each potential partner, you will be in a much better position to make a compatible choice.
Here are just a few of the questions that you might consider asking:
· What is your current pricing model?
· Which franchises have you worked with in the past? Are there any industries (such as the healthy quick service industry) that you are particularly familiar with?
· Which consulting services do you currently provide?
· How will you make sure I have an excellent franchise plan?
· Can you share any past successes?
· Do you personally have any experience working as a franchise owner?
· Why should I choose you to be my franchise consultant?
Of course, these are just a few of the questions that might be worth asking. Consultants are used to doing these sorts of interviews on a regular basis, so don’t be afraid to speak up!
Whether you truly need to hire a franchise consultant (especially during the pre-franchising and exploratory stages) will remain up to you. But in general, a franchise consultant can be a great resource that, at the very least, will help you get oriented with the dynamic world of being a franchise owner. There are also a lot of other great places to find information about franchising, including from the team at Pure Green and many other places.
Ranked as one of the top wellness entrepreneurs in the United States and recipient of the Forbes Next 1000 award, Ross Franklin has two decades of experience building prestige brands within the health and wellness industry. Franklin has grown and developed high-end fitness brands, specialty boutique fitness brands and many wellness companies throughout his career. His mission has always been centered on optimal health. Franklin founded Pure Green based on 80/20 rule that 80 percent of optimal health is rooted in nutrition while only 20% impacted by fitness. Franklin made the shift from the fitness industry to build Pure Green with the goal of more deeply impacting people’s health. Franklin was a featured speaker at the annual cold pressed juice conference, JuiceCon, in 2019, a featured speaker at the 2020 Angels & Entrepreneurs Summit and is a sought-after keynote speaker within the health and wellness community.