Setting Franchisees Up for Success Starts with Site Selection
Once a candidate has signed an agreement with a franchisor, the next step toward opening their business and welcoming guests is the site selection process. Across the industry, franchisors rely on prospective candidates to seek out real estate opportunities and develop their own locations.
At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly common for franchise owners to maintain their full-time careers post-agreement, especially if they are looking to diversify their income or ensure financial security for their families during the transition. For these franchisees, it can be difficult to find the extra time to research and secure spaces that meet all of the franchisors’ requirements and stipulations.
Given that more prospective candidates are planning to keep their full-time jobs throughout the development stage, here are three reasons setting franchisees up for future success at Christian Brothers Automotive starts with the site selection process.
1) Ensure smooth transitions to ownership
Compared with other concepts, our timeline from signing an agreement to opening is lengthier than most; the process can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months on average. Rather than add more work to our franchisees’ plates, our in-house real estate team leads the site selection, acquisition, development, and construction of each property and then subleases those locations to our franchisees. This allows franchisees to smoothly transition from onboarding and training to running their business – without having to become a real estate, demographic, and construction expert in the process.
2) Build trust through data-driven decisions
When it comes to site selection today, it’s easier than ever to make data-driven decisions. When scoping out real estate in a new market, our real estate department studies demographic data, using national databases to identify areas that have large clusters of likely customers. Once potential markets have been identified, a member of our real estate team flies the surrounding area(s) in a helicopter to view live traffic patterns, as well as existing and future development efforts. Using every source of information available to validate a site’s potential for success helps build a high level of trust with prospective franchise owners.
3) Innovate with processes based on experiential feedback
It’s also important to innovate your site selection process based on industry trends and observations from the current franchise system. In 2019, our older shops were busier than ever as the aftermarket industry continued to grow. Based on experiential feedback from our franchisees, our real estate team developed a site plan that designated additional parking and more desk space to accommodate the increased volume of guests and team members. Continuing to innovate and adapt your site plans and requirements will ensure that both current and future franchisees are set up for success.
Brad Fink is the Vice President of Training and Franchise Development for the 2021 JD Power and Associates top-rated full-service aftermarket automotive maintenance and repair company, Christian Brothers Automotive. The 250-plus unit company dedicated to providing seamless repair and maintenance services has never closed a shop in its 40 years in business.
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