What’s Being a Franchisee Really Like?


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What’s it like being a franchisee? Bart Bess is a good guy to ask — because he’s on his way out, but also on his way in.

Bess once owned more than 100 retail outlets of a cell phone brand. Then he opened four clinics with QC Kinetix, a franchise that offers regenerative medical treatments for pain management. Now he’s switching places in the franchise world: In late 2023, he put his clinics up for sale so he could become QC Kinetix’s chief operating officer.

We wanted to know: As Bess transitions over to the franchisor side, what advice does he have for incoming franchisees? Here’s what he said.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

Research a Business → Research a Lifestyle

“When you’re researching franchises, reach out to a lot of owners and see how their lifestyles are. Is that the lifestyle that you want? Because some businesses may be way more hands-on than you were thinking. Others may be more hands-off than you wanted as a business owner.”

Buy a franchise → Buy a franchise’s vision

“People will buy into a franchise, and then start blaming the franchisor for all the problems. It’s easy to do that. You forget to look within your own business at what some of the problems could be. So really believe in the brand. Believe in their techniques and their goals. You build a successful brand around things that are working, so execute it the best you can.”

Related: This Pizza Chain Will Pay You to Become a Small Business Owner — No Money or Experience Required

Pick a location with many people → Study how potential customers move

“When you’re looking at a map, sometimes you think, ‘these people are going to the center.’ But maybe there’s a freeway or something that they just don’t normally cross, so they actually may drive farther in a different direction. When looking at real estate, you need someone that knows the way locals travel.”

Build culture after you hire → Build culture as you hire

“People can go anywhere for a paycheck. They pick a career because they love what they’re doing and love the people they work around. From day one, it was critical that I hired people who cared about the culture as much as I did. I would start the culture at the interview, to make sure I was hiring candidates that fit it.”

Related: Find Out Which Brands Have Ranked on the Franchise 500 for Longest, Earning a Spot In our New ‘Hall of Fame’

Expand to new cities → Expand toward customers

“When we advertise, we hit the whole area. When people call in, I’m getting their zip code and finding out where they live. That’s the next area my clinic would go. Some realtors have given me cities that seemed great, but when I compared it to where people are calling me from and where my marketing is working, I was not capturing people there. Follow the data.”

Related: 25 Lessons Business School Won’t Ever Teach You

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