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When you're looking for a franchise in Canada, the first thing you'll probably notice is the incredible amount of choices you have. In fact, the Canadian Franchise Association estimates that there are around 1,300 brands in Canada today. With all that variety, it can be hard to decide where to even start in your search. Luckily, there are four elements you should see in any franchise you are considering, and you can use them to help you start narrowing down your list.
Comprehensive operational and training materials
Your franchise system will only be successful if everyone understands it and it is enforced across all its parts. This means your franchiser should have robust training and operational materials so everyone knows what it is expected and so that there is quality control in place. It can be a bit difficult to evaluate the quality of these materials from a franchiser during the preliminary application phase, but you can scope out the brand's website for information and check that information against their Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). You can also visit area locations and speak to franchisees directly.
Responsive and healthy communication
As with many other relationships, strong communication is essential in a franchise. Work and life can get hectic at times, but that is no excuse for a breakdown in franchiser-franchisee communication. You will need a franchise that has an infrastructure in place to support quick responses to questions and requests for help. You won't be able to assess the entirety of the franchise's communications system, you can carry out a surface evaluation once you've made first contact with them. If your representative isn't responding to you in a timely manner or answering your questions, consider that a big red flag.
A solid brand reputation
A strong brand reputation is what will help bring customers to your location, so choosing a franchise without one is not the greatest idea. After all, it is the brand reputation that you are truly paying for as part of your franchise fee. You can find out about the brand's history by reading the FDD, but a Google search for articles and news is another great resource. The one exception to this rule would be if you are looking to get in on the ground floor of a newer venture.
Support services in line with your costs
It is only smart to want to stay in your budget, but remember that you get what you pay for. A more expensive franchise could mean better support services, so take a look at what franchises have to offer at each price level and make sure you're getting your money's worth.