Top 10 questions potential Real Estate Franchisees should askSubmitted by Kaylin Van Der Vent
What role does Head Office play in the franchise businesses? What are the expectations franchisees have of Head Office and vice versa?
Building a business can be daunting and lonely, with thousands of decisions to make and everyone looking to you for leadership. Ask how big the Head Office team is, what support functions/ business units exist, as well as the level of support they offer and the engagement they have with franchisees. You are investing in more than a brand and a proven business model. You are investing in your future and a more hands-on Head Office team is likely to give you a better chance for success.
Clearly defined performance expectations are a key success factor but not everyone likes to be held accountable in that way. Find out if the brand sets performance targets and how those are managed and what structures are in place to help you reach those targets. If you prefer to work independently and to be the master of your own destiny, then a brand with a clear focus on goal attainment may not be the right fit.
What is the culture of the brand and is this consistent across the franchise network?
“Brand culture can be defined as the inherent DNA of the brand and its values that governs every brand experience, brand expression, interaction with the customers, employees, and other stakeholders of the company along with every touch point.”
“9 Core values deﬁne Just Property’s company culture. They guide our day-to-day decisions and actions, creating a common thread in the way we do business. By living our values we are able to be better people and better at the work we do”, says Just Property CEO, Paul Stevens.
Make sure that your values align with those of the company.
How is technology leveraged to run a successful property franchise business?
In order to be a successful businessperson in this day and age, your real estate agency needs to have cutting edge technology tools that will help make your job, and the job of your agents and support staff, easier. In the world of real-estate, there are multiple systems, portals and service providers working together. Ask about workflows and support channels, and learn the meaning of the terms like API (Application Programming Interface) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). The more “joined up” everything is, the better your working experience will be. This is where the real brand value lies, that hidden “secret sauce” that can differentiate you in the market.
What friction can sometimes exist between the franchisor and franchise owners? How is it handled?
It’s important to hear about more than just the success stories in the network, but also how things are handled when there is an inevitable disagreement between franchisee and franchisor. Asking for recent examples of how issues with franchisees have been dealt with will give you practical insight into the culture and inner ways of working within a brand. It will also demonstrate the power balance between the parties.
How does your offering compare with your competitors?
Winning in business depends on knowing how you stand in the market and being able to articulate the value that you bring to your customers. This is a simple test of how mindful a brand is and how aligned it is with the people who pay the royalties. Listen carefully to the words used to describe a competitive position; is it inherently positive and respectful, does it demonstrate leadership or a tendency to follow the market?
What are you really selling?
This uncovers their USP (Unique Selling Position)… and what their mission, vision and values are. It goes a little deeper than the traditional “franchise offering”. In the case of Just Property, it’s “peace of mind in an otherwise chaotic world”. Everything the Head Office team does is geared towards serving the franchisee and executing the terms of the Franchise Agreement fairly and with commitment.
Where do you see the brand five years from now?
This unpacks the brand’s goals and may indicate changes in their business model/ market position. Asking this question allows you to see if there is a long-term partnership prospect. You may be attracted to a stable, predictable business more than a young, agile brand that will challenge you with changes to ways of working. Just Property is the latter brand; the CEO, Paul Stevens, is passionate about daily improvements, about never standing still or being complacent.
What support do you provide to franchisees that helps them build revenues during their first 12 months of operation?
Initial training is offered by many franchisors, but do they offer ongoing support? Getting your business up and running is important, however, in order for it to succeed, you need to know if ongoing support, learning and development will be available to you.
In what ways do you collect best practices and share them with franchisees in your system?
Being part of a franchise group loses value if you cannot tap into the collective genius of the network. “Whenever we receive success stories from our offices, we share them far and wide through different channels. From sharing the stories to our national Just Property Facebook page that has over 100 000 followers, hosting internal webinars and discussion forums, to writing press releases, we love sharing best practices with everyone!”,says Stevens.
What goods or services do I have to purchase directly from you, the franchisor, and can I competitively shop for a better deal?
Franchise models vary in the extent to which you have the freedom to choose which software you use for your business, shopfitting scope, trade documents, marketing providers and more. There may be hidden costs there, both when you buy the franchise and down the line. And those costs may not be a bad thing e.g. if you’re guaranteed data security, legal compliance etc that would otherwise be a burden on you to maintain.
For more information on Just Property, please visit www.just.property or call (087) 583 3333.
Paddington Station PRKaylin Van Der Vent
Established in 2012, Paddington Station PR is an award-winning brand communications agency servicing client throughout South Africa. Led by a senior management team, the agency is driven headfirst and supported by a posse of forward-thinking individuals that represent the youthful essence of South Africa today. Our size and attitude allow us to be nimble and also pushes us to be the best we can be at all times to deliver strategies and campaigns that hit the mark and drive real impact. Backed by a 25-year knowledge base and a global network, we incorporate a proactive process that is designed to inspire and shift today's consumer to connect, collaborate and communicate. Proud member of Brand Council SA.