In search of independence, you have decided to set up your own estate agency in Belgium, and you want to opt for a franchise. Becoming a business owner is an adventure which will require you to make many carefully thought out decisions. Franchisor, premises, type of franchise, you will have to take all these elements into account. To help you, here is a non-exhaustive list of questions to ask yourself before you opt for a franchise.
First of all, you have to evaluate yourself. As the central element of your project, you should ask yourself if a franchise is the way to go for you. For example, do you like human contact? Do you have leadership qualities? Do you have the perseverance, discipline and skills necessary to make your franchise a success? Would you be willing to relocate, even if it's far away, in Belgium? But you also need to assess your general situation, especially in relation to your family and friends. Will they give you moral support? Will you and your family be put off by irregular work schedules and income? Are you ready to spend most of your time on your project for the next 3 years?
As the second central element of your project, you will need to choose your franchisor carefully. All major Belgian brands are not equal as franchises. Ask yourself the following questions: What experience does the franchisor have in franchising? What is its history with this business model? How many franchisees does it have in Belgium? Is there a list of all the franchised estate agencies? How does it select its franchisees? How are factors such as workforce, turnover, liquidity, solvency and profitability evolving? And, finally, what is the franchisor's goal for the next 3 years?
What differentiates the franchise is the package that the franchisor makes available to the franchisee. As this depends on the franchisor in Belgium, it is advisable to review it in detail before committing yourself to the franchise. The questions to ask yourself are, for example: Does the franchisor have training for new franchisees? What does it consist of, how long does it last and who pays for it? What ongoing support (training, research, market research, support, marketing, promotion) would you be given? What help would you get regarding promotion?
After looking at the package, you must evaluate the franchise agreement. This is the essential document for your future business so, first of all, check its duration. And with regard to the duration, has it been taken into account when making financial commitments? What is the requirement if the franchisee or franchisor wants to terminate the agreement before the expiration date? What are your rights if the franchisor goes bankrupt? Can the franchisee engage in other commercial activities in Belgium during or after the term of the contract? What are the conditions for extending the contract? Finally, is there an arbitration proceess provided for?
Finally, before committing to a franchisor, it is always advisable to check with other Belgian franchisees and ask them some questions as well. Do the figures (sales, profits, etc...) correspond to those forecast by the franchisor? Are there significant costs to consider? Have they ever had serious problems with their franchisor? If so, how did they reach an agreement? Would they advise other franchisees to commit to their franchisor?
Becoming a business owner is a project that always depends heavily on your personal situation, and that is why, in order to guarantee the success of your estate agency, you must evaluate the risks yourself. If you have answered all these questions, you will have a good idea of your possibilities and will be able to make the best choice to guarantee the success of your business. Now all you need to do is find out about your future franchisor and take the first steps towards having your own franchise!