Franchising 101: 5 Reasons to Define Your Franchise Territories


When you’re the mastermind behind a fantastic franchise network, making sure it soars to success is your top mission. And the ultimate game-changer to achieve this mission is knowing how to define and structure your franchise territories effectively. 

No convinced yet? Get ready to explore the five reasons why defining franchise territories is a must-do on your journey to franchise stardom!

What are Territories in Franchising?

In the world of franchising, territories are like puzzle pieces on a map that you strategically define and hand out to your awesome franchisees. These territories serve as exclusive areas where franchisees have the rights and responsibilities to operate their businesses, offering products or services under your brand’s umbrella. The concept of franchise territories is pivotal in ensuring the smooth and successful operation of a franchise system.

These territories aren’t scribbles; their scope and size are determined by the franchise agreement, a legal contract that outlines the rights and obligations of both the franchisor and the franchisee. This agreement specifies the boundaries within which a franchisee has the exclusive right to conduct business. It may enclose a single location, multiple locations, or an entire region, depending on the terms negotiated between the franchisor and franchisee.

Franchise territories are not arbitrary divisions. They are designed to balance the interests of both franchisors and franchisees. For franchisors, defining territories ensures that their brand is effectively and consistently represented in each area. For franchisees, it provides a degree of exclusivity, protection, and a clear market focus that is vital for their success within their designated territories.

Now we agree on this definition, let’s jump into the top 5 reasons why defining franchise territories is like adding a little extra spice to your franchising recipe!

5 Reasons for Defining your Franchise Territories

#1 Secure Candidates

Imagine you’re a prospective franchisee, ready to take the plunge into the franchising adventure. You’ve got your savings on the line, and you’re looking for some stability. Having an exclusive or protected territory provides you with the assurance that your investment will not be jeopardized by the sudden emergence of a competing franchisee nearby. This exclusivity fosters confidence and is a significant factor in a franchisee’s decision-making process. It gives franchisees the market focus and local knowledge necessary to enhance their chances of success and profitability within their designated areas.

#2 Ensure Optimal Coverage

Territory planning is like painting a masterpiece; it’s all about strategic strokes. When franchise territories are carefully planned, they maximize coverage, ensuring that no potential customer base is left untapped. Failing to do so can result in “white spaces” – areas that are not covered by your franchise. These white spaces are like buried treasure chests waiting to be opened, and if you don’t dig them out, they can represent a significant loss, accounting for up to 60% of potential revenue, according to several of our franchise clients. While it may not always be possible to achieve 100% coverage due to market limitations, striving to serve as many customers as possible is key to maximizing your franchise’s success.

#3 Avoid Cannibalization

Cannibalization is when there is an overlap in catchment areas served by different franchisees; in short, they end up competing for the same customers. This overlap may be due to poorly defined or neighboring areas, or the opening of a new store in an area already served by an existing franchisee. It can have a big impact on the sales performance of affected locations, so defining territories in a way that prevents these overlaps is a must. It ensures that each franchisee operates within a well-defined and non-competing territory, leading to order and healthy sales all around!

Learn more on how to avoid market cannibalization?

#4 Prevent Conflicts

Territory boundaries aren’t just lines on a map; they’re the peacekeepers of your franchise. Without them, you might have franchisees bickering over territory size, customer base, and earnings. These conflicts can also extend to disputes between the franchisor and franchisee. Clearly defined franchise territories help mitigate such conflicts by providing a structured framework that ensures peace and fairness for all franchisees.

#5 Assign Leads and Online Sales

In today’s digital age, generating leads and conducting online sales is an integral part of franchise operations. To efficiently allocate these opportunities, you need a clear system in place. Franchise territories serve as a reference point for assigning leads and online sales to the nearest franchisee. This not only streamlines the process but also optimizes the costs associated with delivering products or services by ensuring that they are assigned to the most strategically located franchisee.

How to Define Franchise Territories?

Unlocking the full potential of your franchise network begins with defining territories efficiently and effectively. Enter Smappen – your ultimate ally in this endeavor.

This nifty territory mapping tool offers an array of features that simplify and enhance the territory management process:

  • Build your franchise territories in a few click: Smappen offers several ways to define franchise territories: by counties and ZIP codes, by travel time or travel distance, or using success criterias and grouping your ideal customers into individual areas.
  • Secure candidates by showcasing potential territories directly on the map. Dustin Ingle, CEO of Insulation Commandos, even use it on the go from his phone when meeting with potential franchisees. Read the success story.
  • Spot cannibalization risk between your franchisees: on Smappen, you can draw or import your catchment areas and check is any of these areas overlap.
  • By mapping out your territories (could be delivery areas for example), and importing your lead list into Smappen, you can assign leads easily to the nearest franchisee.
  • Identify white spaces at a glance, with the map view, mapping all your territories, and ensure optimal coverage.

Smappen is your secret sauce for franchise success. 🍔

To wrap it up, defining franchise territories isn’t about drawing lines on a map; it’s a critical strategy for the overall success and harmony of your network. From securing candidates and ensuring optimal coverage to preventing conflicts and efficiently assigning leads, well-defined territories are the foundation of a prosperous franchise system, and Smappen is here to make it happen!

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