“I should probably talk to a lawyer.”
In most cases, a millisecond before or after you have to say that, your brain produces a mini-series inside your head consisting of an intense courtroom scene featuring you sitting uncomfortably in the defendants seat-waiting for the verdict to be read. Right?
But there is no verdict. Not in this case.
That’s because you’re not the defendant.
Better yet, there isn’t even a courtroom.
But there is a lawyer. One you should “probably talk to.” And in this specific situation, it’s actually a good thing.
Because if you’re thinking about turning your business-or business idea into a franchise business, you’re going to need to hire a franchise lawyer.
And that’s the topic of this post.
To this day, I can’t for the life of me come to terms with that fact that some people, when they need assistance with something very specific, don’t go to someone who specializes in the one thing they need help with. Please don’t be that person.
By and large, when you stop to think about it, hiring someone (a specialist), who according to The Oxford Dictionary, is “A person who concentrates primarily on a particular subject or activity, a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field,” makes total sense. Especially if you want to increase your chances of success.
And in franchising, success isn’t necessarily a given.
On Hiring A Franchise Lawyer
It’s great that you’re thinking of converting your independent business into a franchise business. It’s something that hundreds of people (at least) dream of doing every year. But it needs to done right.
For one thing, you need to make sure your business is the right type of business for franchising.
Chiefly, will your business be easy to duplicate?
At the same time, research will need to be done on the name you’re proposing for your franchise.
That’s because you’ll need to make sure the proposed name of your franchise isn’t already in use. If it isn’t, you’ll need help getting the name registered and trademarked right away.
Finally, you need to have a long-term plan.
Saying “I want to have 200 franchises up and running in 3 years,” sounds great, but how are you going to get there?
By hiring a competent franchise lawyer.
“Franchise success is a long-term process and the budgeting that you put in place for the development of your franchise system is just the start. That is, after you launch your franchise system, you need to have a 1 year, 2-year, 4 year, and 5-year game plan and budget.”
– Charles Internicola, Franchise Lawyer
What Else Does A Franchise Lawyer Do?
Besides helping you with the two things I listed above, there are several other items a franchise lawyer needs to do to get your franchise business launched. They include:
1. Writing Your Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)
Containing 23 distinct sections, the 300-page FDD lists very specific information about your franchise opportunity. These section-by-section disclosures must be presented to your franchise candidates before they can legally invest in your franchise business opportunity. Here are all 23 of them.
2. Preparing your franchise agreement (contract)
When you award someone a franchise, they sign a franchise agreement. The agreement spells out things like upfront costs, ongoing costs, territory size/restrictions, use of trademarks, operating requirements and more.
3. Structuring your business
In today’s complicated business world, things like taxation and liability-both personal and professional, need to be considered when you’re structuring your business.
That said, the best time to setup your business structure-your entity, is at the beginning. Your franchise lawyer can advise you of the best way to do it (in your specific case) and set things up properly.
4. Registering your franchise
13 states require franchisors to formally register with them before they can sell a franchise. The other 37 states are covered under federal franchise laws.
With that in mind, a question that a lot of new franchisors have revolves around the need to register in all 50 states from the get-go. Should you?
It’s a great question to ask the franchise lawyer you hired, as every situation is different.
To conclude, as you can clearly see, there are a lot of details that go into turning an independent business into a franchise business. And I only covered a few of them!
One More Thing
Finally, I’m not sure if you noticed, but there’s one thing that everything I mentioned above that a franchise lawyer does has in common.
That’s right. Without exception, everything a franchise lawyer does is in some way meant to protect you.
So if you feel you have a business that is franchise-worthy, make sure you hire a good great franchise attorney, so you can increase your odds of success, and at the same time, get the best legal protection available.