If you are thinking of starting up a franchise, it is vitally important that you work with an experienced franchise attorney. Franchise lawyers will make sure that the company you are setting up is fully legitimate and that you actually get what you are paying for. Additionally, they will help you with your contracts and more. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why you should always work with franchise lawyers.
Helping You with Your Business Entity
You have to make sure your business is formally established, which is a requirement for both tax and liability. You can be in a limited partnership, a sole proprietorship, a general partnership, an S or C corporation or an LLC, this will always be necessary. Your lawyer is there to work together with your accountant so that your personal assets and your home are fully protected from any claims for liability that may arise in the future. Additionally, it will help you to receive the correct percent of your profits as well.
Speaking in Plain English
One of the problems with people who start franchises is that they are entrepreneurs, not legal or financial experts. This means that they may read their contracts but never truly understand what the jargon means. Working with a proper franchise attorney means that they will be able to explain the ins and outs of the document for you. Additionally, because it is their job to understand this kind of jargon, they will also be able to see if there are any red flags in there that you need to be aware of.
Generally speaking, you, as the franchisee, are the suppliant. This means you cannot discuss anything, and the franchisor is in charge. As such, the playing field isn’t level, but rather tipped against you from the start. A franchise lawyer can help you level it out, creating a fair playing field. Of course, the leverage of the franchisor will greatly influence just how much they can demand, but they are often willing to soften some of their demands if this is beneficial to them and you.
For instance, there is generally no negotiating the fees for advertising and royalties. However, most franchisors are more than happy to discuss and loosen any deadlines, particularly in relation to your opening. Furthermore, they may be willing to support you more for your grand opening and they often allow you to make corrections on transgressions rather than immediately calling a default.
One of the keys in franchises is protection from competition. This is why it is never possible for two Subway restaurants to sit next to each other. However, how far away your competitor has to be is set by the franchisor. This is something a franchise attorney can really work with. They are able to demand certain boundaries and they are really good at understanding the demographics of the location you are considering. Once that is established, they will help you to have protection or exclusivity granted to you, something that is almost impossible to achieve without the help of an attorney.