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How to be a Successful Franchisee - Start With Royalties



Franchisees preparing for success should know their rights and understand the legalities of franchising from the start. One key component to consider is royalties.


Royalties are payments made to the franchisor in exchange for the rights to use their intellectual property, business model, and expertise. Since these payments can vary greatly, it's important that franchisees understand exactly what the royalty fees cover and how much they will be required to pay.


Whether you're an unhappy franchisee or are considering investing in a franchise (a prospective franchisee), this article will provide a comprehensive legal guide on royalties, and some tips on how to put yourself in the best position to become a successful franchisee. We'll discuss their various components and factors to consider when negotiating a royalty agreement with your franchisor. We'll also look into payment methods, common mistakes made by franchisees when calculating royalties, and what you can do if your franchisor is charging too much.


Understanding Franchisee Royalties


One of the primary reasons aspiring entrepreneurs start a franchise business is to capitalize on the brand recognition and marketing advantages of an existing company. But that doesn’t come without a cost. As with any business venture, there are startup costs, and whenever you enter into a franchise agreement, one element that can’t be overlooked is understanding the agreed-upon royalties.


Royalties are financial payments owed to the franchisor. They can be paid as a fixed fee or as a percentage of gross sales, and they are automatically deducted from your monthly sales earnings. The amount of royalties will depend largely on your franchise agreement—always make sure you read through it thoroughly before signing it so there’s no confusion between you and the franchisor about what you owe and what you’re getting in return for it.


By understanding your obligations up front, you can plan for how much money will be owed to the franchisor each month (and budget) accordingly so that any surprises down the line can be avoided. If you have questions about royalties or want more information about what they mean for your business, don’t hesitate to contact your franchisor or seek out legal guidance from an experienced attorney familiar with franchise law.


Factors That Affect Franchise Royalties


Royalties are the fees franchisees pay in exchange for the franchisor's use of their trademark, brand and system. As you consider whether franchising is right for you, it's important to understand the various factors that contribute to the amount of royalties you may be expected to pay.


Some of these factors include:

  • The size of your franchise location: Franchises with a larger space typically pay more in royalties than those with a smaller footprint.

  • Your location: The cost of living in an area can play a role in royaties. For example, franchisees located in urban areas might be asked to pay higher royalties than those located in small towns.

  • Your sales volume: In many cases, royalties are calculated as a percentage of sales revenues. This means that franchises with higher sales volumes may end up paying more in royalties.

  • The type of franchise system: Franchise systems can range from low-cost/low-royalty to high-cost/high-royalty models. Generally speaking, retail and restaurant franchising tend to be on the high end while service franchises are often on the lower end.

It's important to understand all these factors before signing on as a franchisee so that you know what kind of royalty payments will be expected down the line.


Reasons Why Franchisees Might Be Unhappy With Royalties


If you're unhappy with your franchise's royalty fees, you may be able to negotiate a better rate. But, before you do that, it's important to know why you may be feeling unhappy about your current royalty fees. Here are three reasons why franchisees might not be happy with the royalties they pay:


Unclear Terms


If the terms of the franchise agreement don't clearly state what kind of fees are due and when, it can be difficult to budge from a position of power when dealing with a franchisor. Knowing what's expected of you is key to negotiating any changes or improving upon existing royalties.


Unexpectedly High Fees


Franchisees often find themselves paying more in royalties than they had anticipated when they signed the franchise agreement. This can lead to feelings of disillusionment or frustration if there's not enough cash flow to cover all expenses.


Not Enough Value


The value that franchisees get in exchange for their royalty fees should also be considered. If they don't feel like they're getting enough value for their money - either through ongoing training, marketing support, access to technology, etc - it could make them question whether their royalties are worth it in the long run.


How to Improve Franchise Royalties


If you're looking to lower your franchise royalties, here are some tips:

  • Review the franchise agreement: Make sure you have a clear understanding of the terms of the agreement, including any royalty fees or requirements.

  • Negotiate with the franchisor (see more on this below): If you have an issue with the fees you're paying, you may be able to negotiate a better rate.

  • Research other franchises: If you're not getting the value you deserve from your royalties, you may want to consider other franchise opportunities.

  • Shop around for deals: If you're looking to save money, look for deals on franchise fees and compare them to what you're paying now.

  • Consider franchise financing: If you're unable to lower your royalties, you may be able to cover the costs with financing.

By taking the time to review your franchise agreement, negotiating with the franchisor, and shopping around for deals, you may be able to improve the amount of money you pay in franchise royalties. Doing so could help you make the most of your franchise investment and succeed in the long run.


What You Can Do to Negotiate Franchise Royalties


When it comes to franchise royalties, the best course of action for a prospective franchisee is to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate! Taking the time to understand your rights and the terms of the agreement can lead to a favorable outcome that benefits both parties. Here are some tips on how to get started:

  1. Research - Take the time to research similar franchises in the same market and compare their royalty fees. Don't be afraid to ask questions or make inquiries about what other franchisees have paid in similar agreements.

  2. Understand Your Negotiation Power - Talk with your franchisor and understand what type of leverage you have in negotiating a better deal when it comes to royalties. Do you have experience in business? Are you purchasing more than one franchise? Leverage this information when you discuss your royalty fee with your franchisor.

  3. Understand Your Rights- Understand your legal rights under state and federal laws when it comes to franchising agreements. Laws vary by state, but there are certain protections in place for both parties involved in a franchising agreement that must be adhered too. Consult with an experienced franchise attorney if needed.

  4. Negotiate- Make sure that whatever agreements you come too, they are mutually beneficial for both parties involved, taking into consideration all influencing factors such as industry trends, market saturation rates and economic conditions at the time of signing the agreement.

By following these steps, negotiating successful royalty fees can yield great rewards for both parties involved in a franchising agreement—especially for those confident enough to take on the task!


Franchising Laws and Regulations Pertaining to Royalty Agreements


Franchisees should also pay attention to franchising laws and regulations that pertain to royalty agreements. In the United States, these laws are regulated by both federal and state governments. Depending on the jurisdiction, franchisees may not be able to negotiate certain aspects of their royalty agreement, such as:

  • Payment structure - how often the franchisor is paid and whether it is a one-time or ongoing payment

  • Differential fees - whether different fees are added for advertising or other services

  • Termination rights - rights to end the agreement early and how much notice must be given

Additionally, some states’ laws prohibit franchisors from dictating certain conditions related to royalties, such as termination without cause or requiring undesired incentives. It is important for franchisees to understand these regulations when they are entering into a royalty agreement. Knowing state and federal laws give them an advantage in negotiations with the franchisor.


The Financial Impact of Choosing the Right Royalty Structure


Choosing the right royalty structure has a big impact on the long-term success of your franchise. The wrong option could mean that you owe more in royalties than you can afford - or that you're not getting enough return on investment for your efforts.


When evaluating different royalty structures, there are a few key things to consider:

  1. Royalty Fees: What percentage is charged from your gross sales? Is it a flat rate or does it change depending on sales?

  2. Gross Receipts vs. Net Profits: Are you paying based on gross receipts or net profits? Each will have a different effect on your profits.

  3. Advertising Contributions: Some franchisors require franchisees to contribute a percentage of their gross sales towards an advertising fund, which can be tricky to manage and have an impact on your business's bottom line.

  4. Flexibility: Can the royalty structure be adjusted over time if needed? Can you negotiate an agreement that works best for both parties?

These questions are vital when considering any royalty structure and should be discussed with legal counsel to ensure that all aspects of the agreement are clear and reasonable for both parties. With the right legal team, you can negotiate the best possible agreement and protect your long-term franchise success.


Becoming a Successful Franchisee


In summary, only focusing on royalties when opening a franchise is a flawed and damaging approach to take. A franchisee needs to have a firm understanding of their rights and obligations under the franchise agreement before they even consider paying a fee. Doing so helps ensure that the franchisee will have the best chance of succeeding and the franchisee should be properly informed about the potential success rate and failure rate of their chosen franchise. If a franchisee is unhappy with the royalty structure of their franchise agreement, they should ensure that they understand their rights and obligations under the agreement and speak with an experienced franchise lawyer before attempting to renegotiate the fees.


Contact us if you need help determining your franchisee royalties, or need a franchisee attorney to help you review your FDD or franchise agreement.



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