What is a franchise?
A franchise describes the agreement when a business allows another person or business to sell goods or services using its name. The franchise agreement is made between the franchisor, which owns the brand and business system, and the franchisee.
A franchisee will buy the right to run a branch or location of the franchisor’s business. In return, they will usually receive training from the franchisor to help them establish and run their business. The franchisor tends to have a centralised team that will offer support to the franchisee business throughout the relationship.
The franchisee will likely have to make additional monthly fees during the term of the relationship. In exchange, the franchisor will provide ongoing support, guidance, and research and development to help ensure the franchisee’s business becomes successful.
Benefits of operating a franchise
Lots of businesses can benefit from franchising. After speaking to representatives from some of our Which? Trusted Traders franchises, we’ve found the main benefits for franchisees can include:
- Reduced start-up risk
- The independence of small-business ownership within an existing business network
- Ongoing training from franchisors
- Potential access to greater start-up funding
- An established reputation and image that’s already been built by the franchisor
- Proven management and working practices instructed by the franchisor
- Access to national advertising
- Support from the franchisor for setting up and for future operations.
We asked Richard Wakefield, franchise of Engine Carbon Clean, about the benefits of franchising:
‘Managing your own franchise offers numerous benefits including managing your time around family or other work commitments, as well as unlimited potential for earnings. Being a franchisee provides the best of both worlds. You can be your own boss and still have the support and benefits of a larger organisation. A franchise offers the advantage of operating under the banner of an already established business. The idea, the brand, the operating techniques and much more are already tried, tested and in place.
Franchise benefits for customers
Customers who use a franchised business can benefit from the continuity of an experienced business. If they’ve used the franchisor’s business before, they’ll know what to expect, or perhaps they’ll be familiar with the business’s reputation.
To make sure customers receive the service they expect, good franchisors should provide high quality training and support to all franchisees. This means customers can feel confident about receiving a consistent level of service, quality and prices wherever they are.
Franchises and Which? Trusted Traders
Which? Trusted Traders already endorses several franchise networks, including Access4Lofts, Cloudy2Clear, Lazy Lawn, Ableworld & Engine Carbon Clean.
We know one of the biggest risks to a franchisor’s brand reputation is ensuring high standards are adhered to at all times across its whole franchisee network, which is why we continue to work with franchise networks to improve industry standards.
We ensure all businesses who apply to become endorsed Which? Trusted Traders are thoroughly vetted, which is carried out by our assessors who are Trading Standards qualified. ‘The assessment process can help strengthen the management of the franchise network,’ says Which? Trusted Traders assessor Philip Thomas. ‘This includes looking at how the franchisees respond to and resolve complaints. This will help maintain the great reputation of your franchise network.’
We also have a strict Code of Conduct, which ensures that both the business and consumers are protected.
The combination of our ongoing assessments, along with the support of the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, provides franchisors with a full view of their network.
Not only this, we also offer a dedicated expert who will support your business with the ongoing management of your endorsement, helping you to maximise it to its fullest potential while staying compliant with the scheme. This can provide your leadership team with insight to better improve the business from the ground upwards.
Here's what some of our endorsed franchisees have to say about their Which? Trusted Trader status:
‘Becoming a Which? Trusted Trader has had a measurable impact on our franchise network. Customers choose us above our competitors because of our membership and also for us as a Franchisor it shows potential franchisees that our processes have been independently reviewed and that our services and processes are robust.’ Lindsay Brown, Franchisor of Access4Lofts Ltd
‘Being a member of the Which? Trusted Traders scheme is a good way of showing potential customers that you are a reliable business that’s made a commitment to treat customers fairly.’ Richard Wakefield, Engine Carbon Clean South Wales
‘When consumers see the Which? Trusted Traders branding it certainly helps with their decision process. The Which? assessment process is comprehensive and detailed, helping businesses focus on strengths and weaknesses and advising on further enhancements that would benefit the business. Having a Dispute Resolution Ombudsman gives both the business and consumer confidence that any issues will be investigated, mediated and a fair outcome is far more likely as they’re totally impartial.’ Leon Smith, Engine Carbon Clean, Lincolnshire