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Why Use A Lawyer?

by Simon Lord, last updated on 13th May 2010

There's no excuse for cutting corners when buying a franchise

Occasionally, disappointed franchisees call our office to ask for advice. Their message is almost always the same: ‘We're in a bit of bother.' In most cases, they admit to not having bothered to consult a lawyer before buying their franchise. Well, to save you making the same mistake, here's our list of the reasons people why people don't use lawyers, and the reasons why they should.

1. It's such a good franchise. It might indeed be a good franchise, or it might just be a large franchise, or it might be a franchise that's past its peak. A good reputation is important but it's what's in the franchise agreement that counts. Use a lawyer.

2. I read through the agreement, it looks pretty straightforward. Oh really? Do you know what the term is and what happens at the end of the term? Do you know who you can sell it to? Do you know what your obligations are and how many ways you can lose the business if you break them? Use a lawyer.

3. I need all my money for the business, not to pay expensive lawyers. There are lots of expenses involved in starting a new business, but it's easier to think of items such as equipment, advertising or even insurance as investments. Think of legal advice is a form of investment, too - it ensures that you are properly equipped with the knowledge to make the most of your new business. Use a lawyer.

4. There's no point in paying a lawyer, the franchisor won't change the agreement anyway. Franchisors don't generally change terms and conditions to suit individuals, but some franchise agreements are more onerous than others. The time to find out what you are getting yourself into is before you sign, not after. Use a lawyer.

5. The guy who handled our house sale looked it over. Franchising is a specialist area that requires advisors with knowledge of what should and shouldn't be included, what's reasonable and what's unreasonable. They also know most of the players. Use a lawyer - but use a specialist one (see the Directory ).

6. I bought an existing franchise and the franchisee said the agreement was OK. What else was he going to say? He might have been desperate to get out of it. Use a lawyer.

7. There wasn't enough time. If a franchisor puts you under pressure to sign a franchise agreement, take a big step backwards. You should get all the information you need on which to base an informed decision at least 14 days before having to sign anything. That gives you time to - yes - use a lawyer.

8. I don't trust lawyers.  So you had a bad experience once? Get over it. You need a specialist on your side to help you make the right decision. Start by making a right decision now. Use a lawyer.

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