As a former franchise owner, I have navigated the sometimes-turbulent waters of the franchising world. In my journey, I’ve faced challenges and learned valuable lessons on how to overcome obstacles and ensure that both franchisees and franchisors maintain a healthy, rewarding relationship. My experience has taught me that success in franchising is not just about making profits; it’s about building a partnership based on mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. In this article, I aim to share insights and strategies that can help franchise owners get the services they need and deserve, fostering a positive and productive relationship with their franchisors.


Understanding the Franchise Model

Franchising is a unique business model. As a franchisee, you’re not just a business owner; you’re a part of a larger system. It’s crucial to understand that your success contributes to the franchisor’s success and vice versa. This interconnectedness is the foundation of a healthy franchise relationship.


Avoiding the Avoidable

Many potential issues between franchisee and franchisor can first be seen in the investigation process.  If you eventually have problems with the services you will be provided, that was possibly something that you could have caught in the FDD, franchise agreement, validation or in your conversations with the franchisor.

How you approach your investigation can save you a lot of discomfort later. Ask the hard questions, engage experts, get the professional advice you need, talk to as many current franchisees as you need to. 

When we approach the investigation as a raving fan of the brand we often assume we know a lot about the franchise, but we tend to know only the customer’s role and experience. Even if you are their biggest customer, act like you know nothing. Do a deep dive up front to find any potential future issues.

If you feel you need a lawyer to review the FDD and agreement, you will want a franchise attorney not a contract or family attorney. Franchising is unique and a franchise attorney will understand the business model and regulations without having to do a lot of research.

If you find unresolvable issues with the contractual relationship, franchisee validation or in your communications with the franchisor, it may be better to pass on the opportunity.


Communication: The First Step to Resolution

Effective communication is vital. As a franchisee, I learned that expressing concerns and needs clearly and constructively was the first step towards resolving any issues. 

It’s important to:

  • Regularly communicate with your franchisor.
  • Be clear and specific about the services you need.
  • Listen to the franchisor’s perspective and constraints.


Utilizing the Franchise Agreement

Your franchise agreement is your roadmap. Understand every clause:

  • Know your rights and the franchisor’s obligations.
  • Use the agreement as a reference in discussions.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek legal clarification if needed.


Building a Collaborative Relationship

Foster a partnership mindset:

  • Engage in franchisee associations or advisory councils.
  • Share best practices and learn from fellow franchisees.
  • Participate in franchise meetings and workshops.


Managing Expectations

Both parties should manage their expectations:

  • Be realistic about what the franchisor can provide.
  • Understand that not all requests can be met immediately or fully.
  • Balance your needs with the overall goals of the franchise system.


Adopting a Problem-Solving Approach

When issues arise, approach them with a problem-solving mindset:

  • Identify the root cause of the issue.
  • Propose practical solutions when presenting problems.
  • Be open to compromises and alternative solutions.


Seeking Support from Other Franchisees

Leverage the experience of your peers:

  • Connect with other franchisees to discuss common challenges.
  • Share experiences and solutions that worked in similar situations.
  • Learn from the successes and mistakes of others.


Negotiation Skills

Negotiating with your franchisor is an art:

  • Approach negotiations with a win-win attitude.
  • Understand the franchisor’s constraints and business model.
  • Be clear about your priorities and willing to compromise on lesser issues.


Utilizing External Resources

Sometimes, external help is necessary:

  • Consider hiring a consultant for complex issues.
  • Use professionals for conflict resolution if you and your fellow franchisees can’t resolve it.
  • Attend industry seminars and workshops for broader insights.


Staying Committed to Customer Service

Focus on what you can control – your service:

  • Maintain high standards of customer service regardless of internal conflicts.
  • Remember that customer satisfaction directly impacts your business success.
  • Use positive customer feedback as leverage in negotiations with your franchisor.



The journey of a franchise owner can present challenges, but these obstacles are surmountable with the right approach. A healthy franchisor-franchisee relationship is pivotal for mutual success. By understanding the franchise model, communicating effectively, being proactive in problem-solving, and continually adapting to the changing business environment, franchise owners can overcome obstacles and get the services they need. Remember, in franchising, success is a two-way street – your growth and success contribute to the strength and reputation of the entire franchise system. As former franchise owners like myself have learned, the key is in building a partnership that is rewarding for both parties.


George Knauf Web imageGeorge Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both start-up and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.

Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980.