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Buying a Franchise: A Consumer Guide

When you buy a franchise, you often can sell goods and services that have instant name recognition, and get training and support that can help you succeed. But purchasing a franchise is like every other investment: there’s no guarantee of success. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has prepared this booklet to explain how to shop for a franchise opportunity, the obligations of a franchise owner, and questions to ask before you invest.

A franchise enables you, the investor or franchisee, to operate a business. You pay a franchise fee and you get a format or system developed by the company (franchisor), the right to use the franchisor’s name for a limited time, and assistance. For example, the franchisor may provide you with help in finding a location for your outlet; initial training and an operating manual; and advice on management, marketing, or personnel. The franchisor may provide support through periodic newsletters, a toll-free telephone number, a website, or scheduled workshops or seminars.

Buying a franchise may reduce your investment risk by enabling you to associate with an established company. But the franchise fee can be substantial. You also will have other costs: for example, you may be required to give up significant control over your business while you take on contractual obligations with the franchisor.

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Buying a Franchise: A Consumer Guide