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Franchise Agreements & What They Include Explained

It is normal for new or prospective franchisees to wonder: 'What is a franchise agreement?'. Even if you are a seasoned professional, a franchise agreement is a highly complex legal document that requires patience and insight. Before embarking on a franchising journey, it is vitally important to understand the foundation on which this business model is built: the franchise agreement.

In the following article we are going to provide an overview of franchise agreements, outlining what they include and why they are so important.

What Information Is Included in a Franchise Agreement?

A franchise is a contractual agreement between two or more parties. As such, a number of terms are stipulated before the formation of the business. This is known as a franchise agreement.

So, what is a franchise agreement? Simply put, it is a legally binding contract that outlines the conditions of ownership from the franchisor to the franchisee.

It serves as the foundation for the franchisees business, awarding permission to operate using the franchisor's brand, trademarks and proprietary systems.

Franchise agreements are complex documents. Their content can vary widely depending on the industry and nature of the franchise opportunity. However, there are several common elements that you will typically find in a franchise agreement regardless of whether it is a construction franchise, fitness franchise, or another industry:

Franchisee Obligations

  • This segment outlines the responsibilities and obligations of the franchisee. It may include details about location selection, training requirements, operational standards and the purchase of equipment and supplies.

Franchisor Support

  • The franchisor, in some cases, offers support to the franchisee. This may include training, marketing guidance, ongoing operational support or access to the franchisor's supply chain. If this is available, it will be outlined in this section.

Intellectual Property

  • Franchise agreements will usually address the use of trademarks, logos and intellectual property. The use of these assets will be clearly defined.

Fees and Payments

  • Fees and payments are part and parcel of owning a franchise. This section outlines the initial franchise fee, ongoing royalties and any other financial obligations, such as advertising contributions or technology fees.

Territorial Rights

  • Franchise agreements often underline the geographic territory within which the franchisee can operate. Depending on the agreement, this can be exclusive or non-exclusive.

Term and Renewal

  • It defines the initial term of the franchise agreement and the conditions under which it can be renewed. This section is vital as it sets the timeframe for the relationship.

Termination and Exit

  • Agreements between both parties outline the terms for termination and exit. This might cover voluntary and involuntary termination, as well as the process for selling or transferring the franchise if there is one.

Non-Compete and Confidentiality

  • Just like any business, franchise owners are usually restricted from engaging in competing businesses during and after the franchise agreement's term. They may also be required to maintain confidentiality regarding sensitive information which pertains to the franchisor.

Dispute Resolution

  • Disputes are an inevitable part of owning a business. Thus, the franchise agreement typically outlines the terms for dispute resolution. This includes the legal process, should the disagreement escalate to such a level.

The Importance of Franchise Agreements

  • Now we understand what information is included in a franchise agreement, it is useful to understand why their existence is so important. Franchise agreements play a crucial role in the success and sustainability of both franchisors and franchisees. This is why:

Legal Protection

  • Franchise agreements provide a legal framework that protects the interests of both parties. They clearly define the rights, responsibilities and obligations of each party, reducing the risk of disputes.


  • They ensure consistency across the franchisor's brand and help franchisees to adhere to established standards. Moreover, they maintain the brand's reputation across multiple sites and locations.

Brand Integrity

  • By outlining the use of trademarks and intellectual property, franchise agreements help maintain the integrity of the franchisor's brand. This is done by preventing misuse of sensitive assets, thus lessening the potential damage to the brand's image.

Financial Clarity

  • Transparency between the franchisor and franchisee on matters of finance is highly important, especially if the objective is to reduce the risk of conflict.These agreements specify, in detail, all financial aspects, including fees and royalties. This level of transparency helps both parties maintain a professional relationship.

Support and Training

  • If training or support is being provided, it will be outlined. This gives the prospective owner a clear understanding of the level of support available, which ultimately provides peace of mind and a sense of security.

Exit Strategy

  • In some instances, the franchise needs to be terminated, transferred or sold. Having a clear exit strategy outlined is the best way to alleviate stress during this process, for both parties.

Dispute Resolution

  • In the event of conflict, a dispute resolution segment can save a lot of time, money and stress for both parties. Thus, it is highly important that this be included in the agreement.


  • Whilst it is true that franchise agreements set certain standards, they also allow for a degree of flexibility. If customisation is authorised, it will be outlined.

In conclusion, franchise agreements are the backbone of this very lucrative business model. They are comprehensive documents that stipulate the rules of ownership. If the goal is to ensure legal protection, consistency and brand integrity, every franchisor should carefully craft an agreement. This ensures the relationship between both parties grows upon a consistent and stable foundation.

To ensure a mutually beneficial and successful partnership, it is encouraged that both parties fully understand the terms outlined in the agreement. If you are new to the world of franchising, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel to understand the agreement. That way, you enter the agreement with perfect insight.

Are you interested in owning a franchise? Discover our range of handpicked franchising opportunities all across the USA – book your free consultation today. Alternatively, if you have any questions about franchising or would like more insight, get in touch today.

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