It is a common misperception that franchise agreements are not negotiable. Often the franchisor will negotiate on certain terms and conditions. You may, however, run into a franchisor who will not negotiate the terms and conditions of its agreement. Is those instances should you still hire a lawyer to review the agreement? The answer is . . . (you probably guessed my response) yes.
Even if the agreement is not negotiable it is important that you fully understand your legal rights and your responsibilities under the franchise agreement. Most franchise agreements contain a significant amount of legalese that may be difficult for non-lawyers to understand. Further, there are important franchise laws in Iowa which you should become familar with to help you deal with a franchisor. (See Iowa Code 523H) Some of these Iowa laws are pro-franchisee and may be particularly helpful in the event you have a dispute with a franchisor. A lawyer can help you understand these laws.
An experienced lawyer who reviews franchise agreements and Uniform Franchise Offering Circulars (UFOC) frequently may also be able to assist you in determining whether the agreement is fair – even if it is not negotiable. The lawyer should be able to tell you whether the agreement and the UFOC complies with applicable laws and whether it contains the information franchisors are required to provide to franchisees.
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