What a field manager actually does – and how to find a good one

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

When you buy a franchise, one of the benefits will be access to a field manager. But what exactly is a field manager paid to do?

First of all, relationship management is key for any field manager – who might also be called a business development manager (BDM).

Secondly, a field manager needs to ensure there is brand alignment across the network. The third task for a field manager is to help boost a franchisee’s sales and profit levels.

According to a recent study produced by the Franchise Relationship Institute, existing franchisees surveyed revealed that although the improvement of sales and profits is hugely important, emotional engagement from a field manager is vital.

It is important that a field manager is business minded, because as a franchisee you may want help analysing your figures, and developing strategies.

But you will also want someone who is engaging, positive and friendly. You will want to know that you will get constructive advice from a field manager who is happy to engage in discussions with you.

Of course you want them to be transparent and honest too. And someone who you believe has your best interests at heart.

So how can you ensure that you are joining a network with field managers who are effective and add value?

Your best source of information on this is to turn to existing franchisees within the network. When you conduct your due diligence, ensure you have a list of questions to pose to franchisees about the field managers or BDMs.

10 questions to ask a franchisee

  1. Is there a great culture in the network?
  2. Does the field manager share best practice?
  3. How often does the field manager visit?
  4. What sort of approach does the field manager adopt in dealing with challenging situations?
  5. How much confidence is there in the business skills of the field manager?
  6. What sort of business experience do field managers have across the network?
  7. What difference has the field manager made to your business?
  8. How dependable is the field manager?
  9. How much interest does the field manager show in the success and well-being of franchisees?
  10. What sort of relationship do you have with your field manager?

You might be spending quite a bit of time with your field manager, depending on the particular franchise business you buy into and your particular needs, so make sure you have confidence in the team.