Starting a franchise business can be exciting. Isn’t it nice to have control over your business without having to start everything from the scratch. Customers can easily recognise you by the brand name and when there’s a problem, the franchisors provide technical support / qualified staff who can give advice. It is not a surprise at all that the number of people who start their own franchise business is increasing, but is it really that easy?

It is a known fact that often when it comes to franchise businesses, there’s tons of paperwork, legal rules and arrangements involved. So, whether you are a franchisor or franchisee, hiring a franchise lawyer can save time, energy and more importantly, money. 

It is a great choice to consider getting help from the professionals, however, how do you know which one is the right fit for your business? Below are a range of questions you may want to consider asking yourself before engaging with a franchise legal service.

 

What  to Ask When Hiring a Franchise Lawyer

Are you experienced?

How would you know if your prospective lawyer is experienced? Ask them directly. Ask them whether or not they have any prior experience dealing with the franchise industry so that you can get to know how familiar they are with the industry. 

Knowledge and experience is required when dealing with franchise agreements. In most cases, it is better to work with lawyers who are specialised in this field. Not only because they can provide specialised advice but also as they are familiar with franchise disclosure documents (FDD) and franchise agreements. Specialised franchise lawyers will ensure that you only agree to the terms that are beneficial to your business.

 

Do you have experience in my industry?

Not only does your franchise lawyer need to be familiar with franchise businesses in general but they also have to be familiar with your businesses industry. Otherwise they have to be willing to learn it inside out. This is to ensure that both of you have the same understanding of industry conditions.

 

Do you have other clients in my industry?

Although having other clients in the same industry as you proves the fact that your franchise lawyer is experienced in the industry, two or more of your competitors can be risky. Consulting the same lawyer with your main competitors wouldn’t make you any more comfortable. Even though the legal code of ethics exists, do you really want to risk leaking confidential information to your competitors? 

 

How are they going to charge you?

Different agencies have different ways of payment methods. It is crucial to determine how they are going to charge you for their legal services. 

 

Flat fee

A flat fee is a fixed price for the service, in which many franchise lawyers require it to be paid upfront. Although you may find some lawyers who are willing to offer you a flat fee rate, the final price of the service also depends on the amount of time they spend on your case. However, it might not cover the costs of filing or contract negotiations, so it is important to discuss in detail with your lawyer on what it covers.

 

Billable hour

The billable hour is the system where lawyers charge their clients according to the amount of time they spend on the case, which is the most common method of charging a client. Since the amount of money you will be spending is depending on the amount of time you spend with your lawyer, it is important to get an idea of how much time your lawyer is going to take, to ensure the transparency of your billing.

 

Are you a good communicator?

Because your franchise agreement lawyer needs to be able to educate you and your employees with legal documents, it is important that they have excellent communication skills and are able to translate all of the jargon for you. They should be able to explain the laws and how it might affect your business so that you are able to be prepared to handle any problems that may arise.

 

In conclusion, choosing a franchise lawyer that is the right fit for your business can be complicated yet definitely worth the time. If you are looking for a franchise lawyer to help you in all aspects including giving advice, reviewing franchise documents (i.e. franchise agreements, disclosure documents, financial statements, and etc.), as well as negotiating with your franchisor on your behalf, then reach out to the experts at LegalVision. Here at LegalVision, our team of Franchise lawyers can assist you with all aspects involving the franchise industry. We have extensive experience advising clients from diverse ranges of industries, including hospitality, home services, IT and retail. Contact us today for more information.