(Courtesy of jontunn on Flickr)
Attorneys-in this case, franchise attorneys, have power. Most of their power comes from what they learned at law school. Some of their power comes from who they are…and what they believe in.
And, if you’re on the hunt for what you feel is the best franchise business to buy, you need a franchise attorney.
I’ve been working with Tom* for about a month. Downsized 9 months ago from his middle management position at a major high-tech company, he’s been looking into franchise ownership as a career alternative. He feels that he’s ready to take the leap into business ownership. (*Tom is not my clients real name. I’ve chosen to not reveal it at this time. I may in the future, though.)
Tom scheduled a call with me to discuss what he was doing.
During our call, Tom explained his situation, and shared the names of some of the franchises he’d been looking into. I gave him some feedback, and then shared some inside information. I was able to provide a bit of inside information because I knew of the franchises and even one of the non-franchise opportunities he’d been checking out.
Tom liked my approach, and ended up signing up for more time with me.
When The Student Is Ready…
You know how that proverb ends, right?
If not, here you go: The teacher appears.
Tom was ready, plain and simple. He made a conscious decision to do this franchise thing right. He didn’t want to only depend on himself to make this big decision…potentially a $250,000 decision.
Since he signed up for more time with me, I’ve been walking him through my franchise discovery and research process for the past 4 weeks. Tom is getting really close to making a decision on a franchise to own.
And, I’m proud of him. He’s been doing what I’ve been suggesting and more. Now, Tom’s not perfect. He did manage to veer off course a bit, but I gently, (kind of) steered him back to where he needed to be.
The Power Of Franchise Attorneys
Tom almost blew it.
Here’s what he asked me:
“Joel, since the franchise agreement (contract) isn’t really negotiable, do I really need to hire an attorney?”
“Yes, Tom.” No…it was more like this: “Yes, Tom!”
I told him that while it’s true that he probably wouldn’t be able to negotiate much-if anything, it’s still a 25+ page legal document. Written by attorneys.
I know that Tom doesn’t want to spend the money. No one does. But, he needs to. Most franchise agreements are 10 years in length. That’s a long time. And, it would feel even longer if it wasn’t completely understood.
One more thing: Tom needs to hire a franchise attorney.
It’s not that franchisors are trying to screw people with their long and difficult to read agreements. Not at all.
I just like to see a level-playing field.
The power of a having a good franchise attorney by your side is priceless.
And, it’s just business.