Franchise Support: What Should It Include?

By Joel Libava

Feb. 15, 2017


There are certain promises you get when you purchase a franchise business. Some of them come to you by way of the marketing and advertising of a franchise and its model. Some of them come from your franchise development representative.

You: “So, what exactly am I getting for all the money I’m giving you?

Franchise Representative: “Our name…our brand if you will, our technology, our proven marketing plans and advertising materials, a detailed operating manual, and of course, terrific support.”

There’s that word again; support. Let’s talk about it.

Moving Parts

There are a lot of moving parts in a franchise business. At times, these “parts” need to be fixed or improved. And, it all starts with operations.

Operational Support

According to an article on the International Franchise Association (IFA) website, “The most effective and efficient franchisee support programs are formulated, executed and evolve based on two important factors: the franchisor’s corporate culture and the structure of the support program itself. “

The operations department at headquarters is focused on the entire franchise operation…the A-Z’s of running the business. Operations people are involved in several facets of the franchise business including franchisee training, branding, advertising, best practices, benchmarking and more. You’ll have a lot of interaction with the operations department; they’re the lifeblood of the franchise organization. I’m going to focus on three specific support items.


Franchise businesses today depend on technology-good technology, to keep things running efficiently and profitably. Sometimes, technology breaks, and when it does, the technology team (which is usually an arm of the franchise operations department) at franchise headquarters, generally has the ability to jump-in and fix issues.

Technology problems can and do affect the entire organization. If franchisees are experiencing issues, especially ones that directly affect revenue, the franchisor suffers, too.

Tip: When conducting your research, make sure you ask existing franchisees if they’ve ever experienced problems with technology specifically supplied by the franchisor. Then ask them how long it took to get their issues resolved by the support team.


As a franchisee, you need to have as many opportunities as possible to sell your products and/or services. Marketing creates those opportunities. And, you’re paying* your franchisor to help market your business.

*Most franchisees pay into a marketing fund. The amount paid is usually a percentage (2-3% usually) of revenue. If your franchise business is generating $400,000 in annual revenue, your franchisor would receive $8,000 – $12,000 a year for marketing.

One of the attractions of franchise ownership is the fact that you don’t have to figure out the marketing aspect of the business. That’s what the marketing department is for. Ask franchisees how good the marketing is. Then ask them what kind of support specifically they get from the marketing team at headquarters.

Field Support

Most franchisors employ field representatives. Their job is to visit and assist franchisees at their locations.

In addition to their problem-solving role, field reps are often tasked with sharing and explaining corporate initiatives-especially new ones. They often help the franchisor ensure that the franchisees are indeed following the business system they purchased and legally agreed to follow.

A good field representative can be a real blessing for a franchisee. Reps can find things franchisees are doing incorrectly or need improving, and help them get back on track. Today’s field reps understand that the franchisees have put their own money and sweat into their businesses and that they really want to succeed.

Great support from franchise headquarters can often spell the difference between franchisee profitability and mediocre franchisee financial performance or worse and franchisee dissatisfaction.

Remember, if the franchisees do well, the franchisor does well.

Ask a lot of support-related questions as you do your research. You’ll be glad you did.