Also, what are some of the legal steps I should take in order to buy a restaurant franchise?
The answer depends entirely on the attorney. Fees will range significantly depending on the attorney, the system being reviewed, the complexity of the Franchise Disclosure Document, and the types of agreements that will need to be reviewed (e.g., subfranchise, area representative, multi-unit agreements). Having an attorney experienced in franchising assist you is an important step in deciding whether you should buy a franchise. You should also discuss the Franchise Disclosure Document with an accountant or other professional advisor, and carefully review any lease that is offered to you if you have already picked out a possible location.
I would be happy to give you my fee quote offline. Feel free to call or email me. My direct dial is 702-473-7075.
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Dear Braintree, MA; you will find quotes from franchise attorneys and other attorneys all over the place. I don't think it is advisable to seek quotes on this forum but I would be glad to give you one privately. I am a 25 year franchise attorney; Legal Steps in buying a franchise is also a very detailed answer and requires private consulting, and the steps are different if you are buying an existing franchise restaurant vs a new franchise not yet in existence. Many options in this regard how to set up your structure. But a legal review of the franchisor's documents is definitely a critical piece first.
The foregoing is for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as attorney-client advice.
My colleagues have given you excellent advice, namely, that prices can vary greatly, both by attorney and by the specifics of your situation (e.g., a new vs. existing franchise being purchased), and that it is better to seek "prices" privately.
But more importantly, price should not be your guide on this. You are contemplating a very expensive marriage. Yes, marriage. It is typically a 10-year relationship. You are investing a great deal of money. The advice you will obtain will cost a tiny fraction of that. So focus more on the knowledge and experience the attorney has in franchising, as well as your rapport and comfort level. Never underestimate the importance of feeling comfortable with your attorney. Good luck to you!
As my colleagues have stated the fee will depend on the attorney and the FDD and other factors that can only be evaluated after a conference with an experienced franchise attorney. Some may charge a flat or fixed fee, others may charge an hourly rate. There is no "norm".
To understand the legal issues in buying a restaurant or any other franchise, again you need to sit with a franchise lawyer to explain and explore the various issues that can arise.
Franchise Agreements can be enormous documents - 100+ pages. So flat fees are generally not an option unless the lawyer knows how many pages it is. That being said, I like what one atty said about this arrangement between you and the franchisor being a marriage - hes right. And the bigger the franchisor the more voluninous and specific the franchise agreement usually is. If you need a franchise agreement reviewed and want a lawyer to help guide you through the process, you want a business lawyer with experience with contracts.
This response is not to be considered legal advice by anyone. This communication, alone, does not create an attorney-client privilege. Unless you have executed a fee agreement with the attorney, that is related to the subject matter contained in this communication, you are advised not to rely on this communication to make any decisions whatsoever or to create an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship shall exist with this attorney without a fee agreement executed by you and the attorney.
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All of my colleagues have given you very sound advice; namely that the fees vary depending on the lawyer you choose and the work you are seeking, and that you definitely should get legal advice before entering into a franchise relationship. With that said, you'd be surprised that more and more attorneys are beginning to turn to a flat-fee business model and are offering their services for a fixed price. This type of model is great for the consumer because you'll know what you are expected to pay before you enter into the legal relationship BUT it's also good for the lawyer because it's a motivating factor to get work done efficiently and effectively. If you are going down the franchise route, not only do you want someone experienced in reading franchise agreements, but you also want an attorney with whom you can have a life long business relationship; someone you feel comfortable to call and help you get out of a pinch. Make inquiries of lawyers into how they might bill your work and then choose someone with whom you feel that you'll be able to have a long term relationship. Good luck.
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