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A franchise exposition show is a convenient way for you to shop for and compare different franchise opportunities. Since the primary goal of the salespeople is to sell their respective franchise, you'll need to do a little research before you go and approach booths with a prepared mind.
Research different franchise types before you go to the show and identify which opportunities meet your criteria, including your investment limit and overall goals. You can use this information to narrow down the opportunities and focus on the franchises that are more suited to you.
Ask each exhibitor about investment limits and financing opportunities at the show, but don't agree to anything. You need to be comfortable about the investment level and know what you can afford before investing or using franchisor-supported funding methods.
An exhibitor may try to increase your interest or make some unrealistic claims about the level of experience needed for the industry. If you can't see yourself in the franchise industry for years to come or know nothing about the work, you may struggle.
Ask exhibitors key questions about the franchise and take notes. At the minimum, you should ask questions about the franchise's minimum investment amount, number years in the business, number of locations, current franchisor controls and restrictions over locations and what type of support is offered to new and current franchise owners.
You might be offered free items or a meal in exchange for discussing the franchise opportunity further. You don't have to accept any of these promotions, but if you do, use the time to ask more questions.
Ask about the franchise sales and profits. If you're given solid numbers, ask for written documentation of the franchisor's claim. The Federal Trade Commission requires written documentation of profit claims and projections for franchises, so if you can't get this information, do not trust the information.
Don't sign any papers, make initial investments or fall prey to aggressive sales tactics at the show. Take the time to investigate each offer in detail before you agree to anything. A good franchisor will not pressure you into signing that day, since the commitment is significant.