What’s the best part of a FranChoice Consultant’s job? The answer you’d get from most of them is that it is their ability to positively impact the lives of hundreds of people every month.
FranChoice is a franchise consulting firm that helps match would-be entrepreneurs with a franchise opportunity that best matches their needs, skills and interests. The home office, located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, provides training to franchise-savvy consultants. These consultants, who work all over the U.S., take a detailed history of each person who chooses to use the service and then matches them with several franchise opportunities from a select group of pre-screened opportunities that fit the candidate’s profile.
The Key to Making a Great Match
“The key to making a great match,” says CFO, Jeff Elgin, “is really listening to the person so we know what motivates them. We have relationships with franchise companies from dozens of areas, including coffee houses, business services, automotive care, children’s learning, cleaning services, and many, many more.
Whatever the person’s interests or previous experience, we have a stable, growth-oriented, franchisee-friendly company that we can introduce. More times than not, it is a company that the candidate has never considered.
Our service expands both the possibilities for our candidates and the potential franchisee base for our franchisees.”
How does it work?
“The first thing that usually happens,” says Elgin, “is that someone looking for new employment horizons types words like ‘own a franchise’ into a search engine. After clicking on the link to FranChoice, the information seeker will learn about what we do, how we do it and, very importantly, that the service we provide is free.”
The next step, says Elgin, is for the potential franchise owner to fill out a short form to request a free consultation. “After the inquiry is sent to one of our consultants, the person will receive a call right away,” says Elgin. “From there, the consultant will work with the person to find out what they want in a franchise business.”
We have carefully hand-picked each of the franchise companies.
There are several reasons why FranChoice is considered the premier franchise broker. “One of the keys to our success,” says Elgin, “is that we have carefully hand-picked each of the franchise companies in our inventory. We only work with companies that have successful franchisees in their systems. They must validate well and have a strong operations model in place.
“We have frustrated many franchisors who want to work with us by making them wait while we go through our validation process,” he adds. “But FranChoice was not built on making a sale; it was built by making a genuine match between a franchisor and a franchisee.”
The strength of its consultant network
A second reason for the success at FranChoice is the strength of its consultant network. “Our franchise consultants represent our brand to the public and we work diligently and continually to make sure they are serving their candidates in the best possible way,” says Elgin.
“First we work mostly with men and women who have extensive franchise experience. They have either worked for a franchise company or been a franchise owner – and many have done both,” says Elgin. “This means they can really relate to a candidate and provide tried and true advice.
“Our consultants must go through a thorough and rigorous training program over a six-week period,” adds Elgin. “Again, it is not enough that they can make a sale. They must be trusted advisors to their candidates and to do that, they need to truly understand each of our franchise companies so they can represent the business accurately.”
As franchise companies are added at regular intervals, the training never stops. FranChoice offers many opportunities for consultants and franchise companies to interact, including semi-annual conferences, frequent conference calls, and an extranet site.
“We work very much like a realtor,” says Elgin. “First we find out what the candidate is looking for and then we do research to find those companies that will provide the lifestyle, income potential and long-term equity the person is looking for.
Personality and job skills are equally important because just as a person must select the franchise, the franchisor must approve the person and then ‘award’ the franchise.”
A FranChoice consultant will then present a selection of companies to the candidate. It is up to the candidate to then do his own research by calling existing franchisees in the system, talking to people in the franchisor’s home office and, if there is interest by both parties, to schedule a “discovery day” to visit the home office.
If a candidate is awarded a franchise, the franchisor pays FranChoice a commission, which is why the service is completely free to the candidate.
“This is totally a win-win situation,” says Elgin. “Franchisors love working with us because our consultants present them with people who are well-qualified and well-prepared to learn about their business. Candidates love working with us because we do so much of the work for them.”
With over 1,600 franchise concepts in the US today, it can be difficult and overwhelming for someone to even begin to look for a franchise opportunity. FranChoice consultants can whittle down that number to a few that will match a person’s interests, skills, personality, experience and desired location.
FranChoice, which was started by Jeff Elgin in 2000 and has been growing steadily. “We are finding that a number of people now come to us through referrals – someone who has used our service recommends us to a friend or family member,” says Elgin. “Of course, that is a great compliment and we are humbled by the confidence that has been placed in us. It makes us want to work even harder.
“One of nicest parts of our business is knowing that we have helped so many people achieve the independence and success they have been looking for,” says Elgin. “Our consultants keep in touch with those they have helped find franchise businesses and so have the opportunity to hear how things are going down the road. When someone calls a year or two or three later and says, ‘I just want to thank you again – this is the best decision I ever made,’ it really touches us.
“It’s one thing make your own company grow and be successful,” concludes Elgin, “but knowing we’ve contributed to the happiness and success of a great number of people is better.”