I am excited that the Wall Street Journal featured Rush on Business as one of the blogs that provide insight for would-be franchisees. One of my passions for a long time on the blog is providing information to franchisees on pre-investment due diligence. Recently I ran across a potential franchisee that was told by a franchisor that he should not seek legal counsel. The franchisor told the prospective franchisee that a lawyer would only try to talk them out of the deal.
The purpose of a franchise agreement and disclosure document review is not for the lawyer to talk the client out of their franchise business opportunity. An appropriate review will help point out the legal and business risks and possible areas of negotiation. (Yes, many franchise agreements are negotiable). After the review, the client must still make their own decision about whether to proceed forward. I have been told by more than one client that a review opened their eyes to help them better understand the franchise opportunity. Some moved forward while others backed away from the deal.
There are some classic warning signs of franchisors that I have written about in the past. You could probably guess #1. There are a significant number of excellent franchisors out there. Don’t waste your time on those that don’t believe you should seek counsel when you are potentially investing your life savings. You owe it to yourself to do the best job possible investigating the franchise and performing the most due diligence possible.
Some of the other sites in the WSJ article are a great place to start for that due diligence including:
Blue MauMau (www.bluemaumau.com)
The Franchise Pundit (franchisepundit.com)
Unhappy Franchisee (www.unhappyfranchisee.com)
I would also add one of my personal favorites, The Franchise King Blog. The blog’s author, Joel Libava, is pro-franchise but is a big proponent of franchise due diligence.