Advising on Franchise Agreements
Franchising is not regulated in the United Kingdom. Anyone can offer "franchise opportunities" and there is no guarantee that a business opportunity is a genuine franchise. Many individuals have lost their life savings being fleeced by unscrupulous salespeople promising large profits and overnight success by following their tried and tested process.
The latin phrase "Caveat Emptor" or "Buyer Beware" applies and it is absolutely vital that a franchisee does all possible due dilligence on a franchise opportunity before proceeding with their investment. This includes:
having an experienced franchising solicitor review and provide a report on the franchise documentation
having an accountant or financial adviser look over the opportunity to ensure that any figures provided by the franchisor stack up
asking the franchisor if you can speak to existing franchisees in the network. If they refuse, this is cause for concern
developing your own business plan for the opportunity in your local area (don't just copy and paste any business plan that the franchisor provides)
Most franchisors will present their franchise agreement as being "non-negotiable". This is completely standard as the franchisor does not want 100 franchisees all on 100 different negotiated versions of the franchise agreement. Therefore, there is no point paying a lawyer to revise or re-draft a franchise agreement if the franchisor has made it clear to you that they will not accept amendments! This is a waste of everyone's time (and money).
Instead, our role as your franchising lawyer will be to:
review the franchise documentation
prepare a report on the documentation for you providing our thoughts (including on any areas of the agreements which we consider to be wrong or unduly unfair)
discuss the report with you to ensure that you understand the terms of the agreement
Once our report is complete, we always recommend that you discuss our findings with the franchisor who can provide any clarifications if required or, if necessary, make any amendments to their standard document by way of a "Side Letter" or "Variation Agreement".
We do all this on the basis of a fixed fee agreed with you in advance, so please give us a call now to discuss any franchise opportunity which you are interested in purchasing.