Franchise Leads Lagging Behind Employment Recovery in the U.S.

December 16, 2021 — In a dramatic recovery, employment in the U.S. reached 95.8% in November, as the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Indexed to January 2020 before the pandemic emerged, November employment at 95.8% was back to 99.4% of the employment rate seen in January 2020 (96.4%). This recovery in employment percentages can be seen in the red bars in the chart above. 

On the other hand, aggregate lead flow in November among the franchise lead generation assets of FranchiseVentures, the largest franchise lead demand generation network worldwide, reached only 75.3% of the January 2020 level (blue bars). For whatever reasons, the number of prospect inquiries has waned over the last few months, relative to the pre-pandemic period.

What does this mean? While the candidate pool has been robust throughout the pandemic, and as recently as our November 2021 survey, as franchises set growth goals for 2022, this gap suggests that the competition for the best candidates will increase significantly. Some possible outcomes:

  1. Competition, and prices, for key terms on Google Search, will increase. ROI will therefore decrease, all else being equal.
  2. Competition, and prices, on Facebook and Instagram (now Meta) will increase. This competitive pressure is in addition to the estimated 15%+ under-reporting of Facebook (Meta) conversions  (reported early in adoption of iOS 15) due to Apple’s privacy initiatives
  3. Competition for the best prospects on all other third-party sources (e.g. portals) will increase, as teams shift budgets to make up the gap.

As reported earlier, 32.2% of franchise development teams overall expect budgets to stay the same (with perhaps less results, given the above) and 62% expect their budgets to increase in 2022.

What do you do about this? The best advice, knowing the gestation period for leads, is to fill the pipeline now for deals that will close in the next several months. In addition:

  1. Reach out to the inquiries over the last year or two to nurture prospects who are now ready to move forward in the process.
  2. Make sure that every step in your funnel is optimized. 
    1. Search and social media ads need current (revised in light of Covid) headlines and copy
    2. Emails need relevant subject lines, honed value points, and links to landing pages with calls to action.
    3. Landing pages need clear value propositions and calls to action. 
    4. Consider that 80% or more of your prospects will be inquiring by phone – don’t underestimate the value of quick voice response, after a text or email to set up a follow-up call.

While challenging, 2022 should be the best year in several years for the franchise industry, with the worst of the pandemic behind, and better-tuned resources to bring the best candidates on board.


FranchiseVentures is the leading franchise lead-generation platform for potential franchisees to thousands of growing franchise systems in the United States and Canada. Its franchise lead generation brands include, Franchise Solutions, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities, Franchise For Sale, and, and together they provide the largest aggregation of prospective franchise buyers in the U.S.

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Published on Thursday, December 16th, 2021.

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