A Trial Period Is a Must!

In the article Déterminer son profil franchisé=un risque on the website of the Conseil québécois de la franchise we talked about the advantages for franchisors to make their policies and procedures simple and effective, to keep to the minimum the list of skills required to operate their franchises and thus to ensure access to a larger pool of aspiring franchisees. Indeed, if your franchise operations call for specific skills, rare or numerous, it will be more challenging to find your perfect candidates. Of course, this is just a summary of the article in question. Your ability to target prospective franchisees who do not necessarily have the background or skills in your business sector could make your recruitment easier, but it doesn’t come without certain risks.

Indeed, your franchise offer will attract candidates who dream of becoming their own boss in your industry, and this dream of opening a franchise seems within their reach because of the support you offer them. But a dream can sometimes become a nightmare: just because they can technically do it doesn’t mean that they will be happy living the daily routine of your franchise operations. Many franchisees found themselves in a company which initially seemed to be the road to their entrepreneurial dream but turned out to be below their expectations. The consequences can be damaging for both the franchisee and you. This is far from ideal circumstances when you want to build a strategic partnership.

To avoid this type of situation, it is increasingly common for franchisors to ask their prospective franchisees (who have been identified via FlagFranchise or franchise shows, for example) to complete a trial period during the selection process to make sure they are at ease and happy to perform the tasks associated with their franchise management and operations, and you will be able to confirm the professional skills of the prospect. Depending on the context, this trial period can be as short as several hours or extend to several weeks and even months. The current practice is several days of workplace trial, on average. It can be completed either at one of your corporate points of service or directly at the location of one of your trusted franchisees who is personally familiar with the process of acquiring a franchise.

The latter option has several advantages. It can help build a bond of trust for your partnership relationship: the prospect will feel you have nothing to hide. Also, your partner franchisee will be able to give his opinion of the actual skills and abilities of the candidate, to see his true personality and be a good judge of his compatibility with the values and strategic foundations of your network. At the same time, in this neutral workplace environment the candidate won’t see it as some sort of an evaluation or a test. Thus, both the franchisor and the prospective franchisee can gain a good understanding of the benefits of entering into a franchise agreement. The prospect will also have the opportunity to ask the franchisee questions about the company, which will reassure him and confirm his decision to buy a franchise.

At the end of the trial period, you may want to interview the candidate again to validate his long-term commitment to do this job on a daily basis, to ask him which tasks and responsibilities he liked the most and the least, etc.

Still not convinced? Are you concerned that this could discourage the prospective franchisee and he may pass up your business opportunity? Well, remember that even if you lose the candidate as a result, the cost and time associated with this experience will be far less than signing an agreement that does not meet the expectations of the parties. It’s a blessing in disguise!

FlagFranchise Team