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Franchising comes with a much lower risk than opening a new business from scratch, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It can be complicated, and there are a lot of things to consider when deciding what franchise you want to buy. A franchise lawyer can do a lot in assisting you with understanding what you’re getting into.
“Reading a franchise agreement is something that needs an extra eye because you’ve got to interpret it,” says Ned Levitt, a franchise lawyer with Dickson and Wright LLP. “With a good franchise there isn’t much scope for negotiations, so it’s really a matter of interpreting for franchisees so they know what they’re going to get into.” As a franchisee, there are many ways the deal can go sour. Having a savvy lawyer on your side can help you to avoid any potential sticky situations.
“What I see most often is that however the company has decided to expand through franchises, they didn’t take the time to get good advice, professional support, and to really learn about franchising,” says Levitt. “So what that translates to is they oversell the franchise and over promise to the franchisee, and the franchisee makes a decision based on that information.”
Starting a business is slow at first even for a franchise. In the first couple months or years it’s important to have a support system in place to make sure you succeed. You’re opening a franchise rather than your own business because you want guaranteed success, so a good franchisor will be there with the supports you need in the tough opening period of your location.
The lawyer that you choose should already have practical experience in franchise law. Levitt says that a general practise lawyer can help, but they won’t add the same value as a lawyer with specific experience.
“If they’re savvy about it they can certainly spot the fraudsters and the troublemakers, and help the franchisee in their own journey,” says Levitt.
The ideal time to look for a lawyer is after you’ve done some background research on what type of franchise you want to buy. Draw up a short list of possible candidates, present it to the lawyer, and he or she will help you narrow it down to what is best for you. The lawyer can help you determine if franchising really is right for you, and, if it is, what type of franchise would be ideal.
To find a franchise lawyer, look up the Best Lawyers in Canada. There are many across the country, so with any luck there should be one near you.