Part 1 of this blog series addressed business issues to consider in deciding whether to franchise your business and preparations to be made before launching a franchise program. Part 2 of this blog series addressed preparation of the legal documents required under federal and state franchise law - the Franchise Agreement and the Franchise Disclosure Document ("FDD"). Part 3 of this blog series addressed state registration of franchises. This blog addresses compliance with franchise laws as a new franchisor begins offering and selling franchises. In addition to franchise disclosure and registration requirements, the federal and state franchise laws cover actions that must be taken when offering and selling franchises and actions that are prohibited in the offer and sale of franchises.
Part 1 of this blog series addressed business issues to consider in deciding whether to franchise your business and preparations to be made before launching a franchise program. Part 2 of this blog series addressed preparation of the legal documents required under federal and state franchise law - the Franchise Agreement and the Franchise Disclosure Document. This blog addresses state registration of franchises.
Part 1 of this blog series addressed business issues to consider in deciding whether to franchise your business and preparations to be made before launching a franchise program. This blog assumes that you have made the decision to franchise your business and you are ready to engage a franchise attorney to assist you with the legal compliance. The first step in legal compliance is to prepare a Franchise Agreement and the Franchise Disclosure Document required by federal and state franchise laws.
You may be considering franchising your business for a number of reasons. You may want to expand your business but don't have the capital to open numerous additional locations on your own. You may have people approaching you about buying a franchise because they love your business concept. You may like the idea of the brand and business you have built opening up in locations all over the country. However you come to the point of considering franchising, there are some initial steps to take before you launch into establishing a franchise program.
The site selection process for franchisees can be a tedious endeavor. You must find a location with the correct square footage, layout, accessibility, and demographics in the area that you and the franchisor have agreed you will establish the franchise. Once you have found a suitable location, you might be tempted to sign the lease without having an attorney review it and negotiating terms, not wanting to risk going through the search process yet again. This is a dire mistake and could negatively affect the success of your franchised business going forward.
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Franchisors whose business model involves physical locations for their units have certain specific interests and concerns relating to the leases entered into between their Franchisees and the Franchisees' landlords. Franchised locations, by virtue of being physical and visible to the public, can develop an ongoing brand awareness associated with their locations. Franchisors strive to protect that brand awareness by imposing certain restrictions and conditions on the Landlords who own and/or lease those locations.
If you are considering the purchase of a franchise, what is the value in hiring a franchise attorney? Purchasing a franchise is an extensive, and sometimes overwhelming, process that covers business, financial and legal issues. Since a franchise is typically a significant investment and long-term commitment, you are well advised to work with professional advisors along the way. So why should you hire a franchise attorney?
When we assist prospective franchisees considering the purchase of a franchise, we review the Franchise Disclosure Document and Franchise Agreement. We want you to understand your legal obligations under the Franchise Agreement and other franchise requirements before you make the decision to purchase a franchise. We will provide you with our assessment of the information disclosed in the Franchise Disclosure Document and our assessment of your rights and obligations and the franchisor's obligations to you under the Franchise Agreement by delivering to you a written memo and discussing it with you.
All franchisors and their legal counsel focus on the annual Franchise Disclosure Document update that must be completed within 120 days of the franchisor's fiscal year end. Typically, everyone is relieved that the project is done for the year. However, franchisors have an ongoing legal obligation under both federal and state franchise laws to amend the FDD during the year if a material change has occurred.