Starting a Franchise - Specialist Franchise Solicitors

If you are contemplating offering your business model as a franchise, you are in the right place.

We have seen how new franchisors have developed over time, helped them over mistakes and through troubles and to maximised profits. This knowledge is now available to you.

These are the key things that you should do before you launch your franchise:

  • prove the franchise system – not just that your business concept works, but that the concept can be properly franchised. Ideally you will pilot the franchise system through one or more arms-length pilots, although this may not always be necessary
  • register your trademarks and any other intellectual property
  • prepare a prospectus about the business which sets out your offer (the franchise package) very clearly
  • prepare some financials which set out what the franchisee might expect to earn. Successful pilots are often essential as proof. Make sure you can justify figures or you may be exposed to substantial legal claims
  • have in place an internal system to cope with supporting your franchisees from the start
  • ensure that your business is legally compliant in every way, because it will be the template for the franchised business
  • Prepare all the necessary franchise documentation, and in particular, the franchise agreement.

Because we have experience of a large number of launches, we can offer a package of advice, at a price fixed from the outset, to provide all of the legal advice that you will need to take your franchise to market. While most lawyers will talk only about the franchise agreement, there are other important issues to consider:

  • structure of the franchise: should you have a separate franchise business? What is the relationship between your business, the franchisee, and the customers? How does cash flow around the network?
  • ‘ownership’ of customers; ring fencing of liabilities
  • ownership of the intellectual property to be used in the franchise, which is usually at the very least the trademark and the franchise system
  • what degree of control can be exercised by you over your franchisees? The more thought that is given to this, and embodied in your structure and reporting systems, the less you will need to rely on the franchise agreement and lawyers in the future.

Many new franchisors should consider using a franchise consultant to ensure that the business concept is successfully cloned and the franchise package constructed correctly. Although we have considerable knowledge of these areas, an experienced consultant will have additional specialist experience, particularly on how to best sell those all important first few franchises. You should choose your consultant carefully. There are only a handful in the UK with sufficient experience, so you should examine their track record carefully.

A good consultant will advise on the all important aspects of presenting the package to potential franchisees:

  • converting the business concept to a franchise proposition
  • constructing a detailed franchise package
  • structure and level of fees
  • presentation of earnings claims
  • strategy for recruiting franchisees.