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Online Exclusive: The Power of the Franchisor/Franchisee Relationship

PropertyGuys.com shares how it supports franchisees through constant connections and solid game plans

There are dozens of franchise brands across Canada, and some prospective franchisees may not know where to start in their search for the perfect franchise opportunity to fit their lifestyle and goals. A helpful steppingstone during the franchise search is to examine systems that display healthy and encouraging relationships between a franchisor and their franchisees—after all, this supportive relationship is one of the greatest perks of becoming a business owner through franchising. Franchising is about partnerships, collaboration, and the power of community. Franchise owners can do and achieve more as a group than they could by themselves.

Here, Ken LeBlanc, CEO, reflects on PropertyGuys.com’s work as a successful franchise brand, having won the CFA’s Awards of Excellence Grand Prize back in 2008. You’ll discover the power of the franchise model for business success and what this real estate franchise offers to keep its community connected.

1. What do you think makes for a strong franchisor/franchisee relationship? What have you done as a franchisor to support your franchise owners, and create an inclusive environment poised for success?

Ken LeBlanc, CEO; Walter Melanson, Director of Partnerships; Jeremy Demont, Co-Founder

The key to any strong relationship is clear and honest communication. Franchising is no different. Early on, when we were in the first 10 to 20 units, it was easier to connect daily with the group. We would talk every single day, but as the system grew, that became more difficult. In that case, you must put systems in place to grow a rapid response. That’s why we put together a group of franchisees that we call “PFAC” (PropertyGuys.com Franchise Advisory Council) to act as the liaison between Home Office and the rest of our system. We meet with them monthly, and hopefully, face-to-face once travel opens up a little bit more.

2. How is the franchisor/franchisee relationship so unique and special in the small business space? Why is having a franchisor to support a new business owner so beneficial for franchisees’ path to success?

Most of our franchisees are single owner-operators. When they leave their training programs, they go back to their small communities, and they can sometimes feel alone.

I like to say that “You’re in business for yourself, not by yourself” with the franchising model. No matter where they are in the world, they’re never alone. They have neighbours, they have support from the home office, and of course, we live in a digital world now, so they can contact any of our franchises across the nation via email, Facebook, or Zoom!

It’s important for a franchisor to keep them connected with the program. If they don’t remain connected, they can go off on their own path and can sometimes struggle. It’s important that the relationship stays tight so that they stay on the same mission and keep the same game plan. 

3. How can prospective franchisees research or investigate whether a franchisor has strong relationships with their franchisees?

Christoph and Birgit Braier, franchisees located in Canmore, Alberta

First, look at the CFA award winners. Is there a brand that’s constantly being recognized? Since day one, the Franchisee Choice Award has been a good indicator. Prospective franchisees can reach out to current and past franchisees to see how they feel about the business. They’re the best resource to see if there’s a good relationship between the franchisee/franchisor.

Of course, they may encounter some franchisees that haven’t enjoyed the system. What I tell potential franchisees to do in that case is to measure the accountability factor. What did the individual do? What did the franchisor do? Always keep that in mind. See who they blame and if there’s any accountability. 

4. What advice for success do you have for entrepreneurs looking to franchise their business?

If you’re looking to get into franchising, the most important thing to understand quickly that you’re basically creating a completely new business model. You’re going from B2C to B2B. Infrastructure, marketing, and operations are all different. Just because you have a successful business, doesn’t mean that it can be easy to franchise that business. 

At the end of the day, franchising is a gift to any business, and you can reap the benefits from having an incredibly strong system—but it also takes a lot of dedication and a lot of work. 

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