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Have No Fear

The thought of reading a franchise agreement got you shaking in your boots? Knowing what to expect can make it less intimidating.

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This story appears in the December 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A franchise agreement isn't exactly light reading, but buying a franchise without poring over the agreement first could spell disaster. Fortunately, while the size, shape and style of franchise agreements vary according to each system, many of their basic features are universal.

A franchise agreement grants you the right to operate a business in the franchisor's system. It's a complex commercial contract designed to create a business relationship that could span 20 years or more. It grants a panoply of intellectual property rights, describes product and service standards, and sets the ground rules for the transfer, renewal and termination of the business relationship.

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