Franchisors generally say that their franchise agreement is non negotiable. There are a number of reasons for that. First they have spent a great deal of money having the agreement prepared hopefully by an expert franchise lawyer and they do not want to spend more money negotiating the terms of the franchise agreement with each franchisee. Further, of course, it would be an administrative nightmare if every franchisee was on different terms and would cause consternation within the network when franchisees found out that others had negotiated better terms than them. As a result it is standard for franchisors to adopt a “take it or leave it” approach. Having said that, certainly in the early stage of a franchise network it may be that franchisors, whatever they say, are flexible and, of course, if your lawyer points out clauses that simply do not work, then your prospective franchisor is likely to want to amend his franchise agreement.
The real reason why you need a report from an expert franchise lawyer – not the solicitor you used for your divorce and I would certainly recommend that you use an affiliate of the bfa – is that you need to know if the agreement that you are being asked to sign is unusual, unfair or unworkable in precisely the same way that you need to know, when you buy a house, what are its defects. A survey, like a franchise report, will not remedy those defects, but at least you will enter into the agreement/purchase with your eyes open. Franchise reports generally can be obtained for as little as £400 and in view of the size of most franchisees’ financial commitment and their commitment in time and energy, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.