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Tips From Top Brands on Improving Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship


The International Franchise Association's annual convention wrapped up February 11 in Orlando.

International Franchise Association

Experts from haircutting franchise Sports Clips, home service parent company Neighborly, and women-only kickboxing circuit 30 Minute Hit converged for a panel on building trust and engagement with your franchisees at the International Franchise Association convention in Orlando. Here are their top tips, ranging from surprisingly simple to easier-said-than-done.

"Each franchisee has painted a certain picture of what their life will look like in your business. To protect whatever stories they've told themselves, we have a checklist before we complete the franchise agreement to level out what those expectations are. Where you can lose trust, or have the opportunity to gain trust, is where you have misalignment of expectations." —Mike Bidwell, president & CEO of Neighborly

“I just think honestly as franchisors, sometimes we don't know it all. You have to listen to your franchisees, because they do have good ideas. But I still think you need to be firm, too. Be firm, and listen. It’s a good balancing act.” —Deanna Loychuk, president & co-founder of 30 Minute Hit

"It’s all about consistency and following what the documentation says from the outset, then there's no real question about what the interpretation might be. The longer you let that go, and the further you let it stray from expectations, the harder it's going to be to rein it back in." —Wayne Freeman, multi-unit owner of Sports Clips

Tips for 'zors:

Engage in proactive, consistent communication with your franchisees. Not everyone wants to be communicated with in the same way, so sometimes you may need to send the same message through multiple channels multiple times.

Be transparent at every step. Lay out the facts, and if you don’t know something, say so.

Be candid about the challenges that franchisees may face up front. What does a top-performer look like versus someone just starting out?

Operate strictly within the boundaries of what your franchise agreement says. Stepping outside of that breeds mistrust.

Make sure your franchisees feel supported and heard.  

Put your ego aside and try to see from your franchisee’s perspective.

Tips for ‘zees:

When you renew your franchise agreement, be sure you’re keeping up with current standards. Over time, it can be easy to become lax, and if that’s swept under the rug and discovered later on, it can cause trust to break down between the franchisor and franchisee.

Franchisors don't expect you to have it all figured out. Acknowledge that and own it, which builds trust that you’re all working toward making it better.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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