How to take the employee worry out of buying a franchise

The advantage of buying a franchise is that the franchisee's business is packaged up and ready to go. But for many franchisees that creates a huge problem: on day one their staff turn up for work and the franchisee is expected to manage them. Equipped with little or no prior business experience, that can be a huge barrier to anyone considering buying a franchise and one which the franchisor must overcome.

However, at Esquires we have been able to take the employment worry out of buying a franchise.

We learnt the hard way

We learnt about the problems employees can cause to a business before we had even sold a franchise. We had 3 corporate stores in Auckland and we caught one of our employees taking money from the safe. We dismissed her on the spot. She raised a personal grievance and due to a slip-up in process when we dismissed her, we were advised to pay her compensation at mediation.

That episode left a bad taste in our mouths and we realised that we needed to put in place a system to protect not only ourselves, but also our prospective franchisees.

Then along came the Approachable Lawyer
Irritatingly, Employment Law keeps changing and no more so than in the last 6 years. A change to holidays legislation meant we needed to get our employment agreements changed. However this time, rather than using our corporate lawyer, we approached employment specialist, Michael Smyth. Not only did Michael review our contracts and make them watertight, but he worked with us to create a system which would add value to our franchise model.

How the Esquires system works
The key to our system is the phrase “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”. Michael had just written a book called The Small Business Dismissal Manual: How to Fire the Employee that Won’t Go (and Not Get Sued). One of the great things about this book is that it was written in plain English and very easy to understand, ideal for our franchisees. It comes with all the templates necessary for conducting a dismissal process. Information from The Small Business Dismissal Manual has been integrated in our systems, alongside our employment agreement templates. But that’s just the framework: the key lies elsewhere.

The key is ongoing support
Franchisee Manuals can be very daunting for a new franchisee and we quickly identified that having all the information there would only work if the franchisee read it and was able to apply it to their individual situation. That’s where the Hotline came in.

Our franchisees now get access to Michael for all their employment issues. For our franchisees, the service is free and it means that they get advice on employment issues before a problem arises. That’s why at that level, the Approachable Lawyer brand works well for us. We want our franchisees to use the service and the brand helps them to feel comfortable doing that.

Our franchisees hear from the Approachable Lawyer once a month
To ensure our franchisees get value from Michael even if they don’t call to ask questions, they all receive regular help in the form of a monthly e-newsletter which contains helpful advice to avoid them getting into problems.

The proof is in the coffee
Since we engaged the Michael, neither us nor our franchisees have had to go to employment mediation or the Employment Relations Authority. Considering the speed that we are growing, that is a remarkable achievement and sufficient for us to be satisfied that we are on the right track. However, perhaps more importantly we have found a way to take the employee worry out of buying a franchise, which makes buying an Esquires franchise a very attractive option for any prospective franchise owner.

If you are interested in purchasing an Esquires franchise, contact: Stuart Deeks on Ph: 021 445 042 or go to the Esquires website.

If you are a franchise owner and want to take the employee worry out of buying one of your franchises, then click here to learn about the Legal Hotline.

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