I ran across this informative article on whether you should hire a franchise broker to purchase a franchise via the Indiana Civil & Business Lawyer Blog.
The article discusses how the Internet has changed the way people find a franchise. With all the information available on the Internet it has produced "information overload" for prospective franchisees. The Internet has paved the way for trusted intermediaries to sort through the morass.
The controversy is whether franchise brokers are trusted intermediaries. As mentioned in the article it is important to remember that the franchise broker is not necessarily independent. The brokers are paid a fee typically only if the sale is successful and brokers themselves usually do not represent all franchise opportunities. Varying fees among franchises may encourage a broker to steer a prospective franchisee to one opportunity over another.
Other the other hand, I have had the good fortune to work with franchise brokers like Joe Cooney who are professionals and attempt to give objective information to prospective franchisees. Professional franchise brokers will encourage you to conduct appropriate due diligence. Professional franchise brokers will put your interests above their own. Their long-term livelihood depends on that. Not the one time sale.
But nonetheless do your homework just like you would for any professional whether it be a business lawyer, accountant, real estate agent, financial representative, business broker, etc.