How to Build a Potential Franchisee Questionnaire

Separating those with the experience, capital, and drive to establish a successful franchise is imperative to maintaining a strong company.

As a franchisor, you’re likely inundated with inquiries from potential franchisees and may struggle to separate those who are simply curious about the company from those whom it’s worth moving forward with. A quick means to help alleviate the struggle is with a strong potential franchisee questionnaire. Once you establish the most important factors that set apart serious candidates, you’ll be able to sift through the responses to find your perfect fit quickly. Here are four important topics to cover in your potential franchisee questionnaire.

Funding Details

Potential Franchisee Questionnaire

One of the details least indicative of your franchisee’s character but still highly important is the amount and source of the capital required to establish and maintain the franchise. While making sure that enough liquids funds are available to build the franchise is important, reviewing the origin of the funds can tell you a lot about your potential franchisee.

You can rest easier if you know that the capital came from previously successful franchises. If you discover that the funds are the result of a legal windfall, an inheritance, a lottery win, or similar sources, you’ll want to ensure that the franchisee also has a strong work ethic, reasonable expectations, and aligning values before signing any contracts.

Mutual Expectations

Depending on the industry, business, and market, expectations can differ from reality greatly. With the right questions, you can determine what the potential franchisee anticipates while informing them of what they should expect. Don’t ask an open-ended question about when the potential franchisee would expect to open their location; instead, ask if they plan to open within or outside of your desired time frame. Structuring the question in this manner will give you a binary response to quickly filter out those who have unreasonable time frame expectations while informing the inquirer about what is a reasonable wait time to open.

Long-Term Goals

A successful franchise is about more than getting to the grand opening. Ensuring that your franchisees stick around for all or a large portion of the franchise life-cycle will help maximize your success and theirs. You can discover this information with open-ended questions about where the franchisee sees themselves in three, five, or 10 years. Those interested in early retirement or world travel may not be the most reliable fit for your franchise. Even though experience doesn’t guarantee future results, you can review their previous franchise or industry experience through the Potential Franchisee Questionnaire to establish an understanding of their character and aspirations.


Many franchises are established on long-standing missions or traditions. Successful franchises need to ensure that their franchisees will respect and uphold the brand and the ideals for which it stands. A strong questionnaire should help draw out the leadership style and personal values of your franchisee to confirm that they’re a strong fit for your brand and are open to working with you.

Regardless of industry, determining which potential franchisee to pursue a relationship with is challenging. Separating those only looking for details on your business from those with the experience, capital, and drive to establish a successful franchise is imperative to maintaining a strong company and a successful franchise operation. A thorough potential franchisee questionnaire can make the selection process much simpler.

Image via Flickr by AMagill