Today, we will cover SAFETY.
Safety is the number one buying factor in anything and everything you purchase and is especially true in buying a franchise. Buying a franchise is a very serious decision and sometimes a life changing one. You need to feel safe about the decision that you are making, otherwise you should not and will not do it. How do you answer the question of feeling safe about the decision that you are making you ask? Simple, research, research, research.
Research is the key to safety. You need to use all the help you can find to help you with your decision. Many people use a free service such as FranNet to help them out but you should also consider using a franchise attorney and also an accountant. More importantly, you need to do a lot of the research yourself.
Another important step to safety is talking to those who recently purchased in the franchise (known as franchisees) that you are considering. Since they were recently in your situation and now run a franchise, they will tell you exactly what the process is like. Now, some will be more willing to talk to you than others, but usually they will sit down with you and answer most if not all of your questions. They were once in your shoes and they did their research at one time as well, if they did it right. You also need to talk to the franchisees that are doing very well and some that are not doing so well.
We usually also find it helpful if you also talk to some franchisees that come from a similar background and demographics that you have. If they are succeeding, then you have a good chance as well, but if they are not, then stay away from that particular franchise. While not everything is a given, it will certainly help out in your decision process.
You need to talk to as many franchisees as necessary for you to feel that you have answered all your questions and concerns. Keep in mind, the answer to safety is in the research.