The franchising legal specialists
Our specialist franchising team is ranked among the top franchising lawyers not only in Scotland but across the UK, and can assist you if you are thinking about franchising your business, buying a franchise or master franchise opportunity or expanding overseas through franchising.
The lawyers in our team are British Franchise Association accredited and have extensive experience of helping many different types of franchisors and franchisees both in the UK and internationally.
In addition to our knowledge of franchising law, we are heavily involved in the wider franchising community in the UK. We are founding members of franchising support groups such as FranchisEurope, The Franchise Gap and the Retail Gap.
We are always happy to make introductions to other specialists in the franchising industry that you may require such as accountants, consultants, insurance brokers and banks.
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone seeking franchise legal advice. We are always competitively priced, pleased to discuss costs with you and, where appropriate, will endeavour to agree a fixed-fee for our involvement.
Our team is top ranked for Franchising in Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession 2018, with lead Partner David Kaye ranked as a Band 1 Leader in the Field and Andrew Fraser ranked as Star Associate.
If you are seeking franchise legal advice, or general business advice, get in touch today to arrange a free initial consultation.
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Franchising your business
If you have an existing business and you are looking at expanding through franchising, our dedicated franchising team can help guide you through this process.
We advise on all aspects of your franchising strategy, business format, and drafting the key documentation to formalise the franchise relationship including, most importantly, the Franchise Agreement - the document which will regulate the relationship between you, the franchisor, and your franchisees.
We can also:
- Assist with the registration and protection of your Trade Marks
- Draft and advise on any necessary ancillary documentation such as Confidentiality Agreements, Deposit Agreements and Trade Mark Licences
- Provide advice and assistance with expanding overseas through franchising
- Review your franchisee recruitment material to help you guard against any misrepresentation claims
- Make introductions to other specialists in the franchising industry and wider business community
Buying a franchise
Becoming a ‘franchisee’ is a great opportunity to own and run a successful business, using an established brand and business model which compliments your business skills.
In order to buy into a franchise you will need to sign a Franchise Agreement with the holder of the franchise rights (whether the franchisor or a master franchisee). These Franchise Agreements are often lengthy, complicated documents which are generally weighted in the franchisor’s favour. We specialise in advising you on the journey of becoming a franchisee by making sure you fully understand the agreement you enter into and have asked all the important questions you need to of the franchisor.
Also, more and more people are entering the world of franchising by purchasing an existing franchise business, known as a ‘franchise resale’. We have helped many franchise owners sell their franchise and, vice-versa, have helped numerous new franchisees purchase a franchise resale opportunity.
Our team has particular expertise in helping social enterprises grow through 'social franchising'
Social Franchising can involve full business format replication under one brand and trade name but can equalily involve simple knowledge sharing in exchange for a consultancy fee. Our team have worked with social entreprenuers across this spectrum to help them meet their social driven ambitions.
Franchising is increasingly becoming one of the more common methods of international expansion, particularly in the retail and food sectors. The most common reason for international expansion through franchising is that it utilises the local expertise of a franchisee in a particular territory.
Our specialists have many years experience advising clients on international franchising. From global giants like Nokia to local SME’s, they have advised on the international structure, entry strategy and franchise documentation for expansion into a wide variety of territories. Last year alone we advised clients on expansion into mainland Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.
We also help businesses in the UK acquire rights to operate ‘master franchise’ businesses in the UK. This often involves detailed negotiation of a Master Franchise Agreement (or similar international franchise agreement) to make sure our clients have a firm foundation on which to grow their franchise business in the UK.
Being part of your franchising team
Our approach is to work with you right through the life of your franchise operation to help you achieve successful implementation and development. Our franchising team has specialists experienced in advising franchisors and master franchisees on the legal and practical issues that arise during the operation of a franchise business including recruiting franchisees, implementing changes and assisting with disputes.
We regularly provide assistance to clients behind the scenes, giving strategic guidance in the operation of the franchise network, in addition to general business advice.
We offer a number of services to help you manage risk and protect your legal position, including:
- Advising on the recruitment of franchisees (including disclosure issues, drafting and advising on any necessary Side Letters)
- Dealing with any property work including acquisition of property or leases and any related property management issues
- Advising on how to implement changes within a franchise system
- Assisting with any disputes which arise with franchisees and, if necessary, dealing with any franchisee releases or terminations
- Assisting with ongoing brand protection and enforcement issues
- Providing training for your franchise team in understanding the franchise agreement and how to spot potential issues with franchisees
- Assisting with the purchase and re-sale of franchisee’s businesses within your network
- Conducting health-checks to review how your franchise operation is progressing and ensuring that your Franchise Agreement remains compliant with updates to the law
- Providing guidance on common problems and how to avoid them
- On-going involvement in management meetings to provide advice on franchising and other company issues
Whether or not you had legal advice (from Harper Macleod or another law firm) on your original Franchise Agreement, we can assist you with the operation of your franchise system and help you to develop your network to its full potential.
Podcast - Understanding the legal aspects of Franchising
Check out our first part of our Franchising Fridays Podcast Series. The first of our 4 part series comes from Harper Macleod Partner & Head of Retail & Franchising David Kaye on Understanding the Legal Aspects of Franchising. Watch and listen online here.
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