What To Consider Before Buying A Franchise
Here are some useful tips on what to consider before buying a franchise. Before investing in any franchise system, be sure to get a copy of the franchisor's disclosure document. Sometimes this document is called a Franchise Offering Circular. You should read the entire disclosure document. Make sure you understand all of the provisions.
The following outline will help you to understand key provisions of typical disclosure documents. Get a clarification or answer to your concerns before you invest.
Business Background: The disclosure document identifies the executives of the franchise system and describes their prior experience. Consider not only their general business background, but their experience in managing a franchise system. Also consider how long they have been with the company. Investing with an inexperienced franchisor may be riskier than investing with an experienced one.
Litigation History: The disclosure document helps you assess the background of the franchisor and its executives by requiring the disclosure of prior litigation. The disclosure document tells you if the franchisor, or any of its executive officers, has been convicted of crimes involving, for example, fraud.
Bankruptcy: The disclosure document tells you if the franchisor or any of its executives have recently been involved in a bankruptcy. This will help you to assess the franchisor's financial stability.
Costs: The disclosure document tells you the costs involved to start one of the company's franchises. It will describe any initial deposit or franchise fee, which may be non-refundable, and costs for initial inventory, signs, equipment, leases, or rentals.
Restrictions: Your franchisor may restrict how you operate your outlet. The disclosure document tells you if the franchisor limits the supplier of goods from whom you may purchase, the goods or services you may offer for sale, the customers to whom you can offer goods or services or the territory in which you can sell goods or services.
Terminations: The disclosure document tells you the conditions under which the franchisor may terminate your franchise and your obligations to the franchisor after termination. It also tells you the conditions under which you can renew, sell, or assign your franchise to other parties.
Training: The disclosure document will explain the franchisor's training and assistance program. Make sure you understand the level of training offered.
Advertising: You often must contribute a percentage of your income to an advertising fund even if you disagree with how these funds are used. The disclosure document provides information on advertising costs.
Current and Former Franchisees: The disclosure document provides important information about current and former franchisees. Determine how many franchises are currently operating. A large number of franchisees in your area may mean increased competition. Pay attention to the number of terminated franchisees. A large number of terminated, cancelled, or non-renewed franchises may indicate problems.
Earnings Potential: You may want to know how much money you can make if you invest in a particular franchise system. Be careful as earnings projections can be misleading. Insist upon written substantiation for any earnings projections or suggestions about your potential income or sales.
Financial History: The disclosure document provides you with important information about the company's financial status, including audited financial statements. Be aware that investing in a financially unstable franchisor is a significant risk; the company may go out of business or into bankruptcy after you have invested your money.
Hire a lawyer or an accountant to review the franchisor's financial statements. Do not attempt to extract this important information from the disclosure document unless you have considerable background in these matters. Your lawyer or accountant can help you understand the information.
About the Author: John Mussi is the founder of Direct Online Loans who help UK homeowners find the best available loans via the www.directonlineloans.co.uk website.