Franchising is a popular business endeavor for entrepreneurs. According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), in 2000 franchisors and franchisees accounted for one trillion in annual United States retail sales. In addition franchising business accounted for forty-percent of all United States retail sales. Not all franchises, however, do well. Many people want to become the next Bill Gates, but many laypersons do not recognize that a "franchise is a system of business operations that, more often than not, will permit a person who operates the franchise properly to succeed in achieving a reasonable profit." Therefore, potential franchisees should consult an attorney on all matters involving the franchise. And, possibly hire an accountant. In addition, potential franchisees should thoroughly investigate their investment. Taking these necessary steps is the only way to make good business decisions and also to limit litigation.
This article examines the need of franchisees to seek the advice of an attorney. This article will first explain the role of an attorney in the complex process of owning a franchise. Secondly, the article will explore ways to counsel the client on whether to become involved in the franchise business and how to chose the appropriate franchise/franchisor for the client. Next, the article will review the financial process. Lastly, this article will stress the importance of reviewing franchise documents and applying the appropriate law.
II. EXPLAIN YOUR ROLE AS THE ATTORNEY
Before an attorney takes on a franchisee they should have experience in franchise law. The attorney must know the franchise law. Also, special consideration should be taken for franchises outside the United States. A good way to achieve experience in franchising law may be to first seek employment with a corporation such as Hilton as in-house counsel to gain knowledge and experience. In addition, inexperienc