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Franchises Under the Magnifying Glass

How to choose the right company and get resources to run your own business

5 Steps to Get Started

En español

  1. Do your research. There's no shortage of franchising information out there, which is fitting given there's so much to learn, from nuances in your contract — which are virtually always non-negotiable — to the myriad fees a franchisee pays the corporate office. Go to Franchising Resources

  2. Consider using a franchise broker. Unlike franchise consultants, franchise brokers representing numerous companies are paid by the franchisor and offer their services for free to the prospective buyers, similar to the way headhunters and executive recruitment firms work. Professionals with experience in the industry, brokers can provide guidance, although many franchise buyers do successfully go it alone.

  3. Contact the franchise. Franchise websites will have contact information for prospective franchisors; usually you'll send an e-mail or fill out a brief form, and wait to hear back from someone. If, after talking to the franchisor, it's clear that you and the franchise may have a future together, you'll move on to the next step: the application process.

  4. Fill out an application. These forms get pretty personal, understandably. You'll have to disclose your assets, submit to a background check and authorize a credit check.

  5. Hire a franchise attorney. Before you sign any contracts, consult a franchise attorney. Although you may wind up paying as little as a few hundred dollars, if there's a lot of negotiating involved you'll pay considerably more. But using an attorney can save you from a financial crisis down the road, so it's worth the money.

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