The down side of franchising is the unpleasant way franchise relationships can end. When buying a franchise, typically neither the franchisor’s representative nor the prospective franchisee look at how the relationship might terminate—voluntarily or not. It is all about the positives and the prospect of independence as a business owner.
Depending on the particular franchise system, the philosophy of management and the goals of the franchisee, it is possible to avoid some of the worst consequences by planning an exit strategy and negotiating critical terms. Then it’s all about the boilerplate. That boring part of the contract near the end where all the bad things that can happen to a franchisee are listed. [After all, it is inevitably one sided since the franchisor writes and so controls the contractual consequences.] Often there are unpleasant surprises for the franchisee lurking as the franchise relationship unravels.
Even when a franchise business is profitable, things can go wrong. So finding the “best franchise” is no guarantee of success. When things go wrong, everyone starts pointing fingers. The big challenge is to keep communications open if possible. When franchisors and franchisees stop communicating, both are left to find a solution in the franchise agreement. Promises and good intentions won’t matter. When the ship is sinking, that one big happy family becomes “sauve qui peut” [every one for him or her self].
How are your problem solving skills? There will be no easy answers, so think ahead.