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How Does Due Diligence Apply to Franchisee Recruitment?

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Recruiting new franchisees is a vital part of a franchisor’s work when expanding a franchise network. You must ensure a potential franchisee is a suitable candidate. Franchisees who are ill-prepared or have objectives that do not align with your brand pose a risk to your business’ reputation. Before bringing a new franchisee into your network, you will conduct due diligence to ensure they can operate a unit in line with your brand standards. This article will explain how franchisors can conduct due diligence during the franchisee recruitment process. 

What is Due Diligence? 

Due diligence helps people make informed decisions by understanding all the facts involved. It is the process of thoroughly researching and investigating something before making a decision or entering into an agreement. Generally, due diligence processes involve carefully examining facts, information, and potential risks associated with a situation.  

Due Diligence in the Franchisee Recruitment Process

All franchisors are responsible for ensuring that the franchisees they recruit into their networks are suitable candidates who can perform their responsibilities to your required standards. If you find somebody you think could be a franchisee, you will conduct due diligence before onboarding them and completing the franchise agreement. 

The franchise agreement is a legally binding contract franchisors share with their franchisees. If a franchisor later finds that a franchisee is unsuitable for their role, they may only terminate that agreement based on specific terms. Franchisees whose operations fall short of your standards may also cause reputational damage to your brand. 

Business owners strive to build brand identity and take deliberate measures to minimise risks that could affect it. Such damage can have a lasting impact on your franchise network. Before signing a franchise agreement, you can mitigate this risk by ensuring all prospective franchisees are appropriately suited to their roles. 

How Can Franchisors Conduct Due Diligence? 

1. Fact-Finding

Following your first contact with a potential franchisee, you will research one another. As a franchisor, you can:

  • read the prospective franchisee’s CV;
  • contact their referees; and
  • research them online using sites such as LinkedIn and Companies House. 

There may be further checks you need to complete depending on the industry you operate within and the type of role the prospective franchisee will have. The point of conducting due diligence is to get you as well-informed as possible. 

Due diligence is also an essential part of becoming a franchisee. The potential franchisee will research you, your brand, and the franchise opportunity. They may also speak to existing franchisees within your network. 

2. Assess the Candidate’s Suitability

Before meeting any potential franchisees, be clear about what traits and experience level you are looking for. Think about the type of characteristics most aligned with your brand. This way, you can enter the interview and onboarding process with a precise idea of the right person for the role. 

You should interview potential candidates and offer opportunities for follow-up meetings in case either of you have further questions. In the interview, establish the type of person they are. What are their motivations for applying? What can they bring to the role? Do they fit your criteria? 

3. Financial Checks 

In addition to checking prospective franchisees’ experience and backgrounds, you should also conduct financial checks. You might ask the franchisee for bank statements and check their credit history. You must ensure you comply with data protection regulations when handling such information. 

4. Seek Legal Advice 

A lawyer will be able to ensure that the franchise agreement is well-drafted, protecting you and your brand. Seeking legal advice will further mitigate the risk a franchisee’s actions may pose to your business’ reputation. At this stage, a franchisee might also seek professional advice from a lawyer and an accountant. 

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Key Takeaways

Due diligence is essential within the franchising industry for both franchisors and franchisees. It is the act of thoroughly researching and reviewing information in order to make a well-informed decision about a situation. During the franchisee recruitment process, franchisor due diligence takes the form of: 

  • researching potential franchisees; 
  • checking their backgrounds;
  • conducting financial checks; and
  • seeking legal advice. 

When you have completed due diligence and are satisfied with the prospective franchisee, you can begin to onboard them. Onboarding will start with signing the franchise agreement and taking the franchisee’s initial fee. You will then prepare them for their role and put them in a position where they are ready to operate. 

If you need help conducting due diligence for franchisee recruitment, our experienced franchise lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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