I know Franchisors provide Franchisees with support in the start-up stage, but do they also provide assistance once the business is established?

Absolutely! The whole point about franchising is that you are not in business by yourself and the franchisor is there to help you with all of the issues that may arise in your business whether those issues are of a technical nature or they relate to general business issues that would affect any business such as VAT, marketing and so on.
You would expect to see in the franchise agreement an obligation on the franchisor to provide continuing training once the initial training has been provided. This training can be of an update nature or could, relate to training in new methods and techniques that have been developed by the franchisor. The franchisor has a vested interest in ensuring that all franchisees provide the best possible service and therefore are fully trained. Usually this training is provided for a small charge or at no cost – the franchisor should not aim to make a profit from this.
At the same time you would expect franchisors to give general advice and assistance to franchisees. This advice and assistance could relate to benchmarking a particular franchisee against other franchisees or assisting with a franchisee who is having problems.
When considering taking a franchise it is, of course, essential that you undertake a thorough “due diligence” on the franchisor and one of the questions that you need to establish is the extent to which the franchisor does, indeed, provide continuing assistance and training and whether such assistance and training is helpful to franchisees.

Written by: John Pratt

Partner, Hamilton Pratt