No matter the industry, all franchise systems face challenges and demands that are unique to their trade. Finding suitable franchisees is a challenge for franchisors across the globe.
Hard to believe, given the perks and benefits of joining an established franchise system. For the construction industry, for example, franchisees save money through sharing plans, training and ongoing support, the selling power of a known brand, lower costs through group purchasing and the use of an established business model, just to name a few.
One of the best parts of my job as CEO of global homebuilding company, G.J. Gardner Homes, is helping builders by giving them skills, resources and systems to take them to the next level of their careers, in turn contributing to the future growth of the company. But first you need to get the right people on board.
In my experience, finding the right franchisee can be difficult. When dealing with a person’s home, livelihood or large investment, finding a franchisee you can trust is critical because it can make or break your reputation.
The right franchisee brings local knowledge and a strong understanding of who their customers are; they focus on the customer and know what delivers results.
Whether it is a homebuilding, renovation or remodelling franchise, it’s important to remember franchisees are dealing with the largest asset a person may ever own. Franchisees need to have exceptional customer service skills, be a brand ambassador for your company and share mutual long-term goals to ensure the success of a franchise unit and the brand as a whole.
The challenge for franchisors in the construction industry is attracting people who not only possess these attributes, but who are also skilled craftsmen. Experience is key to becoming a franchise owner in the homebuilding industry.
Alternatively, a business-minded person with limited experience in the industry could choose to partner with someone who has the right practical experience to ensure they have the complete skill-set required to operate a successful franchise.
What this means for franchisors or master franchisees looking to expand is that unfortunately there is only a very small pool of candidates who have the right skills to join their business. It also means traditional methods for attracting franchisees, such as mainstream print and online advertising or franchising exhibitions, are not as effective in the construction industry, which calls for a more targeted and tailored approach.
In my experience, the best approach to finding the right franchisees is networking with builders. On an ongoing basis, my team and I seek out opportunities where we can get in a room with people who are relevant to our brand and message.
And while there are many benefits of operating under a franchise system for a stand-alone builder, the most invaluable benefit is the protection of being a part of a recognisable brand and a company with a good reputation.
Strengthening the brand and improving the reputation of a construction franchise isn’t just the most effective way to attract customers, it will attract builders and construction workers who share the same values and mutual goals who would be proud to act as a custodian for the franchise brand.
Many people think building the brand is only executed through advertising, but it’s much more than that. A consistent approach to the company’s brand is an important first step to strengthen a brand, but a reputable brand is built by existing franchisees that have provided reliable products and services and have satisfied customers through their business.
Branding and reputation is important to all business, but it plays a larger role in the success of construction and homebuilding franchises due to the large financial and emotional investment by customers. Unlike franchises in industries selling food or consumer goods, for example, customers and potential franchisees alike will not take a risk with a homebuilding company that has received negative reviews and feedback from friends or family.
With the rapid growth of social media and popularity of online reviews, now more than ever franchisors have to be aware of negative feedback circulating about their brand that can and will deter customers and potential new franchisees.
For my company, the best defence for negative attention is to always deliver quality products on time and on budget. Strong word of mouth from customers is your brand’s best advocate and will ensure the reputation and growth of your franchise system.
By operating a construction franchise that is trusted, reputable and experienced, franchisors will attract quality, business-savvy builders who are looking to run a franchise of their own. Effectively, the brand will act as its own advertisement for the right franchisees.
I am a firm believer that employing the right people to work in a construction franchise is the key to success. It is for this very reason that the main challenge of operating a successful franchise continues to be finding suitable franchisees to grow your business and your brand.