Step 2: Researching Franchises to Own

Deciding to buy a franchise could be one of the biggest decisions a person faces when taking the next step in their lives. With such a large commitment, the only constant in the business is you. Finding the right franchise is like anything in life, finding a place where your strengths and passions can ultimately be fulfilled. This is the first building block to finding the right franchise. From here the research begins, and luckily this won’t be done alone.

There are various organizations that are fully dedicated to helping you find the right franchise for you. There are four main organizations that can be used to research and discover the brand that could become your business.

Franchise Business Review

Since 2005, Franchise Business Review has been a leading marketing research firm that has researched over 1,000 franchise brands. Franchise Business Review has two key objectives: 1) Bringing transparency to franchising and 2) Helping franchise brands achieve performance objectives. They support franchise buyers through an independent franchisee satisfaction review. This satisfaction review is not to replace the investigation process that potential buyers should through, but instead, it measures the health of a franchise based on franchise owners' reviews. With this tool interested owners can get feedback from existing franchisees about a brand that they are interested in buying.

The reviews can be curated to any potential franchise owner's needs. There are categories that are for specific reviews such as Investment, Industry, Special Interest, and a Featured section. Franchise Business Review breaks down franchises and gives honest reviews about the business.

Franchise Gator

Franchise Gator has been around since 2002 and provides franchise directories of Franchise and Business Opportunities. This site allows you to search using three variations, state, industry, and investment amount. They cover the bigger and most well-known franchises to the smaller up-and-coming franchises. When you find a franchise that suits your wants and needs, Franchise Gator provides a summary of costs requirements, options, and franchisor details, along with a summary of the business and top ten reasons why that company is the right business investment. From there you can request more information about the business.

This site offers specific information about franchises, while also meeting the needs that you are specifically searching for. Franchise Gator also provides information about owning a franchise and blog posts about existing franchisees.


For 20 years FranConnect has been a leading franchise management software provider. This site provides blog posts covering franchise news and best practice articles. These practices illustrate how to best grow, scale, and optimize franchise systems. FranConnect provides the latest information about managing and marketing your franchise to become a successful business. The webinars and events are geared towards informing and supporting the franchising community. This site can be utilized in researching the best ways for your franchise to reach the levels of success that other businesses have already achieved.

FranConnect offers the management and research that most other sites lack. This website best benefits questions about franchising and running a business, rather than specific franchise opportunities. FranConnect will support your franchise through information and training.

Franchise Direct

Franchise Direct’s goal is to provide a platform where entrepreneurs can connect with franchisors that are seeking investors. For 20 years this site has grown into a worldwide hub for franchise and business opportunities at an international level. The difference between this site and the others listed above is the international franchises that are offered for research. This could be a selling point for you if you have connections outside of the country or wish to relocate. Also, it can illuminate the franchise world outside of our country and bring you more knowledge about the business world.

Another advantage to using Franchise Direct is advertising. They encourage franchise owners to advertise their businesses through this site. Whether that is something to utilize after ownership or to see the vast amount of companies on this site, it is a plus for anyone researching franchises. There are ample amounts of articles and resources to comb through as you continue the research process. The three main categories are industry, investment, and location. Franchise Direct also lists the most popular franchises and the top 100 franchises.

Franchise Direct offers a wide variety of franchises, as well as opportunities at a global level.

All four of these websites were created to make researching franchises easier and allow you to find the perfect business investment. While these websites will provide much-needed information about different franchises and investment opportunities there are still questions to ask yourself throughout this process. What are your goals? Do you have the support/funds to buy a franchise? Is the franchise system the right fit for you? These questions should get you thinking about the commitment and business that you will be a part of. Asking yourself these questions could provide insight as to whether you are ready to take the steps required to owning a franchise. Another question that could pop up when researching is if you will need a franchise broker or not.

Franchise Broker

While researching franchises the term franchise broker could come up. A franchise broker works for a franchise network or for themselves. Their job is to educate potential franchise owners on franchises that are available while assessing the right brands and then referring them to a specific franchise. They are an agent that looks out for your best interests but represents a portfolio of franchises.

The main advantage of using a broker is that they can point you in the right direction when it comes to deciding about buying a franchise. They offer a variety of brands that you never thought would be the right fit. Brokers speed up the research process for interested franchisors, which could take months of your time. 

Franchise brokers are also useful when it comes to locations and territories. You may have your heart set on a location, but the brand you want to pursue does not exist in that territory. Brokers can quickly tell you what locations are available for that brand or vice versa which brands are available in a specific location. This saves a mass amount of time before becoming too attached to one brand.

It’s important to remember that if you decide to enlist in a franchise broker you have no commitments to a broker or a brand they suggested just because you utilized their services. Also, you do not have to work with one broker. It’s recommended that you interview a few different franchise brokers to find someone who you are comfortable with and who will fit your needs best.

Interviewing different brokers could bring knowledge about franchising and the process that could take weeks to learn by yourself. During the interview process, you can ask yourself if this is the right path for you to follow or if you can do the same job better.

Franchise Expos

A great tool to utilize when researching franchises is going to a franchise expo. Here you can talk firsthand with franchises and ask questions on the spot. The expos are designed for franchisors to show off their business and bring in new entrepreneurs. These events are a great time to ask important questions geared towards a specific business that in return can lead to expert advice. Another advantage of attending an expo is the free seminars that are offered. Before attending a franchise event research the different brands that will be present at the expo. Write down important questions, and more importantly find out which brands pique your interest.

While there are many expos for franchises, there are a few that could be considered the best.

IFA Annual Convention

The IFA Annual Convention is the biggest franchising convention. This convention brings together franchisors gather for business development and personal growth. Whether you come as an existing franchisor or someone new to the franchising world, this convention is the perfect opportunity to network for a future in the industry. This will be useful in gathering information about the franchising world and the business techniques that go along with it. There are various seminars and keynote speakers that can share knowledge about personal experiences and the best practices of running a business.

The Great American Franchise Expos allows you to explore upcoming expos and events in the franchising world. While it is not a convention, it provides clear information about dates and must-see events throughout the country. The goal is that they can bring those seeking to own a franchise the opportunity to gain knowledge about existing franchisees and meet with franchisors who have years of experience. It is free to sign up and attend these expos. Another plus from using this site is that they offer various online expos and seminars. This is extremely beneficial if you do not want or are unable to travel to an upcoming expo. You can gain knowledge about franchise law and financing options. This is a great source to use when looking into expos to further your franchising research.