Usually a franchise is sold to someone based on the brand and/or the wow-factor. I know several current franchisees who purchased their franchise just because, ‘There’s no way fifty other owners could be wrong!’ In fact, it’s very possible that fifty other owners could be wrong. But the question is how do you get accurate information about your current franchisor, or a prospective franchisor?
You would think that you could get this information by simply asking a current franchisee the famous question “So how do you like ___ [insert franchisor name here]?”
I originally thought this question would suffice if you go around and ask a few owners. In fact, some coffee shop franchisors even require this step of their prospective buyers to make it appear that everyone is gung-ho. However, this method is not sufficient because what most people don’t know is that a good number of franchisees are living under fear of hypothetical retribution from the franchisor. They think that if they say the truth about their bad experience that the franchisor will just show up and take their investment away from them like a dirty dish at a restaurant…and…without involvement in an organization like the VCSFA, I suppose this could happen in an indirect way.
One surprisingly unknown way of doing a bit of free background work on your franchisor is the BC Supreme court of all places. With this great online tool, you can just pop your franchisor’s (or their suppliers) company names into the ‘keywords’ field and badda-bing-badda-bang – you can see their cases. Granted you can’t see all the details but it will certainly show you if they have a tendency of getting sued. You can also dig deeper later if you want.
In defence of the franchisor, very nice and beautiful people and companies are getting sued every day. This doesn’t by any means give conclusive evidence of nefarious deeds, but it does give an ‘indication’ of whether you should do further research on these folks. And hey! You can also look up your friends, family and coworkers to see if they’ve been hanging out there as well.
NOTE: You may have to try a few variations on their name in the keywordds field as they have a tendency of having multiple names or name changes.
Here’s your link
There is another Supreme Court link somewhere else that is useful but I can’t find that right now. Stay tuned for part 2.