Franchisees can find strength in numbers. Combining the strengths of multiple franchisees can offer greater leverage and negotiating capacity.
Two of the most common forms of franchisee organizations are a franchisor-appointed advisory counsel and an Independent Franchisee Association. The purpose of this article is to provide an introduction and articulate benefits.
The (fundamental) Difference
The franchisor-appointed advisory counsel is a group formed, and, ultimately, controlled by the franchisor. The intended purpose of the franchisor appointed advisory counsel is to act as a forum for franchisees to be heard and share feedback.
An Independent Franchisee Association is controlled by the franchisee members. An Independent Franchisee Association is formed outside of the franchise system. Typically comprised of members of the same franchise system, the Independent Franchisee Association is free of franchisor control and influence. As such, a Franchisee Association can provide greater freedom of association, discussion, and potentially power.
Both organizations are used to address franchisee-related concerns. The goal of each is to allow for a collaborative environment in which franchisees can communicate and improve upon issues.
The Purpose of an Independent Franchisee Association
The Independent Franchisee Association leverages the collective interests of the franchisee-members. This allows for an increased ability to negotiate with the franchisor. The Franchisee Association solely represents franchisees, free of influence from the franchisor.
Typically, a franchise attorney represents an Independent Franchisee Association. The attorney will attend meetings and help franchisees navigate complexities and changes in the workplace, thereby improving conditions. The franchise attorney will negotiate with the franchisor on behalf of the Franchisee Association.
Franchisee interests are frequently opposed to franchisor interests. Organization yields power through unification of interests- therefore, the more organized a group of franchisees are, the greater the ability to negotiate with the franchisor and affect positive change.