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Everything you need to know should be in this one document, but where?

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This story appears in the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (also known as a UFOC, a "disclosure document" or an "offering prospectus") is a detailed set of prescribed disclosures the law requires every franchisor to deliver at least a couple weeks before the completed franchise sale. All UFOCs follow the same guidelines regarding structure and content. That makes them useful for comparing two or more franchise programs side-by-side.

Reading the UFOC thoroughly gives you a substantial advantage. It's chock-full of information you can use. Thankfully, it's also well-organized into 23 items of narrative descriptions, and includes up to three years of audited financial statements from the franchisor and a copy of the franchise agreement you'll be asked to sign.

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