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Check It Out

How to be a crack gumshoe when investigating a franchise.

They say that real detective work, unlike the glamorous world portrayed in the movies, is mostly mind-numbing routine and tedious research. Truth be told, private investigators are glorified information gatherers. The good ones know where the information is, how to get at it and what to take back to their clients. They also have a nose for valuable information. They are good listeners, and they are relentless in their pursuit of information that pertains to their case.

Investigating a franchise involves similar work. Sure, there is some glamour. Those trade shows are exciting. You were welcomed into company headquarters and met the charming president of the franchise. You could get used to this attention, right? Well, before you get too comfortable . . .

Andrew A. Caffey is a practicing attorney in the Washington, DC, area; the former general counsel of the International Franchise Association; and an internationally recognized specialist in franchise and business opportunity law. He is the founder of American Business Opportunity Institute and may be reached by e-mail on the Internet at

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This article was originally published in the January 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Check It Out.

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