What You Need to Know Before Signing a Franchise Agreement

IMG_1300When you decide to become an entrepreneur, making the investment in your financial future can be a big decision. Your thought process should be thorough and precise before you make the final choice about how you will invest your money and time. Some people may choose to start their own businesses and create their own business models through trial and error. They feel ambitious and confident enough to do it all on their own.

Other business-savvy individuals choose to take what they feel is a safer, more secure approach to starting a business. They believe that a franchise is the best decision for them, as the business model is already in place and proven, and the company already has brand recognition.

Once you have decided to become a part of a franchise system, you should be aware of some things and make some considerations:

  • Understand the franchise agreement. The franchise agreement is the legally binding contract between you and the franchisor. Read this document carefully and make sure you understand every statement in it. The franchise agreement specifies the obligations, responsibilities and rights of both you and the franchisor, and it outlines actions that you and franchisor are prohibited from engaging in. Both you and the franchisor must sign the franchise agreement. If there is anything in the franchise agreement that you do not understand or do not totally agree with, then you shouldn’t just sign on the dotted line thinking it will work itself out in the future. It probably won’t.
  • Respect the franchisor’s supervision. Although you may not have an onsite supervisor for your franchise, being a part of a franchise means you must abide by the franchisor’s rules and protocols. If you don’t like taking direction from someone else, then you may want to reconsider becoming part of a franchise. A reputable franchise has proven methods and models for success, and the franchisor will stand by those — after all, they have succeeded based on the processes that work.
  • Obtain legal advice. It may wise to hire a franchise attorney for your own protection. An attorney can explain the entire agreement to you and possibly renegotiate terms that you may be concerned about or want to amend before you sign and are legally bound to the franchisor.
  • Investigate the opportunity thoroughly. Learn how much money you will need and the support and training that is available for you once you purchase the franchise. Make sure you like what the franchisor offers, and research the franchisor’s reputation. Ask lots of questions:
    • Will you have an exclusive area to provide your services?
    • Will you have minimum sales numbers to meet?
    • Can you get out of the agreement, and what would that entail?

Investing in a franchise can be the best business decision for you to get your business running. Just be sure to take the necessary steps so you know the legalities you could potentially encounter, the franchisor’s expectations and reputation, and the market for the franchise. Finding answers to your questions or concerns ahead of time can save you time and energy. Besides, a legitimate, reputable franchisor would not want you to enter into an agreement with them with doubts. Your success and confidence is a reflection on them.

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