People who rush into franchise ownership without doing research and asking the right questions often meet with a lot of trouble once their doors open. Owning a franchise might seem like a great idea, and it often is, but that does not mean that it will be easy or a guaranteed success. Don't be the franchisee who makes the choice to open their door based on five minutes of research on their franchisor's website. If you're going to take the plunge into franchise ownership, you need to be informed in regards to what all of your options are. Take these following steps and learn as much as you can, because once you sign that line, there is no turning back.

1. Submit a "request more information" form

These forms can be found on nearly all franchisor's websites, but they require you to submit some personal information about yourself in order to receive them, including name, phone number, address and so forth. Once this form is processed, you'll be put into contact with a franchise development representative from the franchisor. This will be your chance to learn more information, but it's also an interview of sorts: they will be examining you to see if you are actually qualified to represent their brand as a franchise owner.

2. Use your franchise development representative

When you speak to a franchise representative for the first time, you'll be given a chance to ask more in-depth questions regarding franchise ownership within that company. Make sure you know what to ask for before your interview starts, because you will want to make a good impression on them. Aside from technical questions, inquiries such as, “What separates your best franchisees from the bottom producers?” or “How would you describe your ideal franchise candidate?” will help dig up information that you likely wouldn't find on the franchisor's website.

3. Ask other franchisees

Nobody is going to give you a more realistic or honest portrayal of franchise ownership than another franchisee. Make an effort to speak to one, because they will be one of, if not the most valuable source of information you can possibly have. They will tell you everything you need to know, including the aspects of franchise ownership that your franchisor might not tell you. Ask questions like, “Would you recommend that other people franchise with this company?”, “Do you enjoy your status as a franchise?”, and “Do you regret franchising with this company?”

The technical details of franchise ownership are relatively easy to obtain if you've spoken with a franchise salesperson and done your research. Getting insight into what a working relationship with a franchisor is like requires a bit more digging, but it's no less important to know. You are legally and financially invested in that company once you sign a contract with them, and you want your experience to be as pleasant and smooth as possible.