Why Hire A Franchise Lawyer?

Your investment in a franchise will be huge. You will likely invest a great deal of money and time. You will also be entering into a relationship with a business partner which is intended to continue for years and years. For many franchisees, it is the biggest business deal of their lives.

Don't you want to fully understand the terms of the deal? And possibly negotiate better terms?

That's where an experienced franchise lawyer comes in.

Help with the FDD.

All franchisors are required by the Federal Trade Commission to provide prospective franchisees with a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). This lengthy and detailed document is basically a disclosure statement. It contains the particulars of the franchise and the terms for you to obtain one of their franchises.

An experienced franchise lawyer can help you review and interpret the FDD. He can:

  • help you understand this very thick document
  • help you spot red flags
  • help you formulate questions to better understand the franchise opportunity

Help with the Franchise Agreement

The franchise agreement is the actual contract between you and your franchisor. This agreement is the document which formally describes all of the parties rights and obligations.

Frankly, the franchise agreement tends to be very slanted to protect the rights of the franchisor. After all, the franchise agreement was written by the franchisor's attorneys.

An experienced franchise attorney can help you (a) understand the franchise agreement, (b) compare the terms to other franchise agreements, and (c) negotiate better terms.

  1. Understanding the Franchise Agreement

    Franchise agreements tend to be very lengthy legal documents, containing complicated terms and provisions. You need to understand the deal you are signing. An experienced franchise attorney can help you understand various terms and their significance, such as:

    • Transfer Restrictions/Conditions
    • Arbitration & Dispute Resolution
    • Audit Rights & Expenses
    • Rights to Intellectual Property
    • Supervision & Time Devotion
    • Insurance
    • Guaranties
    • Rights & Remedies Regarding Default
  2. Comparing Terms to Other Franchise Agreements

    An experienced franchise attorney has seen hundreds of franchise agreements. He can tell you whether the terms in your particular franchise agreement are common, or whether they are unusual.

  3. Negotiating Terms of the Franchise Agreement

    We often hear clients say: “The franchisor said that the franchise agreement is non-negotiable.” We usually find that is NOT the case.

    While franchisors usually won't change certain types of terms (like the amount of the initial fees, or the amount of royalties), they may be willing to modify others.

  1. In our experience, successful negotiation depends on various factors, including:

    • the explanation of your underlying concern;
    • the reasonableness of your position; and
    • the clarity of your counter-proposal.

    An experienced franchise lawyer can help you negotiate important terms, like:

    • Territorial Protection
    • Transfer of Ownership
    • Renewal
    • Indemnification
    • Audit Expenses
    • Non-Competition

Help with Other Business Matters

Hopefully, your franchisor will be very helpful in many aspects of your new business. But, you're still going to need help with various legal matters in starting your franchise. (Indeed, many franchisors recommend that you obtain your own attorney to assist you.) For example, an experienced franchise lawyer can help you:

  • create a new business entity (e.g. c-corporation, s-corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership) to shield your assets;
  • establish ownership agreements;
  • review and negotiate leases;
  • contract with key employees;
  • advise you on other legal business issues.


Jeff Wheelock

Read what others have to say about our franchise expertise

Jeff took me through my franchise agreement line by line making sure i understood every detail i was signing. He focused on two main categories - am i protected if things go really well and am i protected is if things do not go well. I had no idea how exposed i was in the downside scenario until he walked me through a few example situations. I also did not understand the exposure i was taking on the upside scenario. When i read the agreement i read the part about territory completely wrong and because of his accurate assessment of territory i chose to not pursue this franchise. He created a simple to read addendum that i was able to send on to the franchise owners and gave me great tips on negotiating terms. When i find another franchise i intend to pursue i will definitely contact Jeff again to review any agreements before i sign.
Diane H.
Jeff is very knowledgeable, takes pride in his work and really has your best interest at heart. He took the time to explain everything in language I could understand. I now have more confidence in knowing what I am getting into. I would definitely recommend Jeff.
Jon W.
The best money we spent in analyzing our franchise opportunity by a long shot. The advice was practical and sound. I would recommend Jeff Wheelock to any person that is evaluating a franchise opportunity and implore them that his review of the franchise documents is a critical part of the due diligence process.
Jason L.

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