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Franchising Advantages

Franchising Advantages

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Published by: Efeh1 on Sep 05, 2011
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01/16/2013

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THE ADVANTAGES ANDDISADVANTAGES OFFRANCHISING
byDavid E. Holmes
Northern California Office Southern California Office555 Chorro Street, Suite D-26621 Pacific Coast Hwy., Suite 250San Luis Obispo, California 93405Long Beach, California 90803Phone: 805.547.0697Phone: 562-596-0116Fax: 805.547.0716Fax: 562.596.0416Please visit our website at www.HolmesLofstrom.com
 
© 2003 Holmes & Lofstrom, LLP www.HolmesLofstrom.com 2888.547.0697
THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FRANCHI S ING
This memorandum, produced for a number of our clients consideringfranchising, brings together a “bullet point list” of the advantages and disadvantages(both business and legal) of moving to a franchised system of operation. I’vedecided to list the disadvantages first, to in some way attempt to counterbalance mynatural tendency to be an advocate for franchising, given my 25-plus yearsinvolvement in the field.Note that my comments relate primarily (but not entirely) to comparingfranchising with a dealership program, and do not address the issues of movingentirely to a company-owned units approach, which is not what I understand you’reconsidering.
DISADVANTAGES OF FRANCHISING
 H
IGHER
L
EGAL
E
XPENSE
 The necessity of preparing agreements, Uniform Franchise Offering Circulars(UFOCs) and related documents, and filing them in various states (with attachedaudited financials) represents a significant expense, although the year-to-yearexpenses are generally less than those initially incurred in setting up the structure andrelated documents. Basic documents, once prepared, can be filed in many stateswith generally minor changes.Additional legal (and possibly accounting) costs will be incurred if a separatelegal entity is used for the franchising program.
 T
ECHNICAL
L
EGAL
C
ONSTRAINTS
- F
RANCHISE
A
WARD
P
ROCESS
 
Franchise laws are particularly technical in their application (for example, if a Franchisorprovides only 9 days of pre-sale disclosure rather than the required 10, theFranchisee has an automatic rescission right, even though the missing day was notthe cause of any loss.) For these reasons, an education program for franchisingpersonnel (which we provide) and the assistance of an in-house legal complianceperson is highly useful.
 T
ECHNICAL
L
EGAL
C
ONSTRAINTS
- R
EGULATION OF THE
R
ELATIONSHIP
 
Franchise laws in a number of states regulate the circumstances in which aFranchisor may terminate or refuse to renew a franchise. While generally notpreventing Franchisors from achieving termination or non-renewal, these laws dopresent a number of technical requirements that must be complied with. Theserequirements make inclusion of provisions for objective standards (for both systemcompliance and financial performance) for termination (and/or recovery of “exclusive”territories) particularly important.
 
© 2003 Holmes & Lofstrom, LLP www.HolmesLofstrom.com 3888.547.0697
 F
RANCHISE
M
ARKETING
C
ONSTRAINTS
 
Advertisements, brochures, flip charts, video tapes, etc. offering the franchise(but not retail advertisements) must be pre-cleared with state agencies and cannotcontain earnings claims. Information regarding possible financial results for operatingunits can only be presented in a formal document attached to the UFOC.
 C
ONTROL
I
SSUES
 
As with dealerships, there may be quality control and related issues, at leastas compared to company-owned operations.
 B
USINESS
R
ELATIONSHIP
I
SSUES
 
Perhaps more than with dealers, Franchisees typically view themselves as,to some degree, partners with the Franchisor in the development and possiblesuccess of the system. While most will agree that committee management doesn’twork and that there needs to be “one captain for the ship,” a wise Franchisor will workwith his Franchisees, probably with the help of a franchise advisory council, in chartingstrategic directions, implementing marketing plans, etc. A Franchisor must bepsychologically comfortable working with Franchisees who will understandably takethe view that “if we’re going to be in on the landing, we’d like to be in on the takeofftoo.”
 N
EED TO
D
ELIVER
P
ERCEPTION
(
AND
R
EALITY
 
 
)
OF
C
ONTINUED
V
ALUE
 
Franchisees (perhaps more than dealers and particularly if they are beingasked to pay royalties and/or marketing fund contributions throughout a long-termcontract) can be expected, after some period, to feel that they know as much aboutrunning the business (at least on the retail level) as the Franchisor and will ask whattheir continued payments are buying them (“What have you done for me lately?”)Wise Franchisors anticipate the question by building value in the brand (seebelow), updating systems and providing continued operational and marketingbenefits that give the Franchisee a superior position
vis a vis 
the competition,making his or her leaving the system obviously a poor business decision.
 P
OTENTIAL FOR
L
OSS OF
F
REEDOM
 
Unless carefully designed, awards of “exclusive territories” may generatelegal and other problems when a Franchisor seeks to expand through alternativechannels of distribution (Internet, mail order, etc.), special venues (units in Wal-Mart,K-Mart, etc.), access different markets (non-automotive), co-branding opportunities,mergers with existing competitive chains, etc. Appropriate franchise agreementprovisions, and proper education of Franchisees, and management of theirexpectations, can largely avoid these issues.

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