Choose your country

Or view all businesses for sale



Performing Due Diligence When Buying a Franchise

So you've decided to invest in a franchise - now what? This article will walk you through the due diligence process, to ensure you know what you're investing in.

If you’re thinking about investing in a franchise, conducting due diligence is an essential step along the way. Once you’ve identified an opportunity, you need to make sure you have a deep understanding of the franchise system, as well as the potential problems and opportunities that you’ll face.

But what questions do you need to ask, and what information do you need to gather? This article will guide you through the due diligence process, and help you make an informed decision about whether or not to invest.

Understanding the Franchise Due Diligence Process

Unlike buying a small business, where the focus might be on current profitability and assets, due diligence for a franchise involves scrutinising its overall system, understanding relevant laws, and evaluating the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee.

As a prospective franchise owner, start by identifying your interests and aligning them with potential franchise opportunities. Consider your budget and financial capacity. Use resources like the 'Top 10 Best Franchises in Australia' to narrow your options. Remember, this initial research is crucial in setting the stage for a more in-depth analysis.

1. What documents and information do I need?

When you’re conducting due diligence, there are two key pieces of information you should pay close attention to: the franchise disclosure document and the franchise agreement.

The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)

This document is a comprehensive source of information about the franchisor. It sheds light on financial stability, legal disputes and the overall success rate of the franchise system. Pay close attention to the details about franchise fees, initial investment requirements and ongoing expenses. Red flags in this document could signal future complications, so it's important to approach this with a critical eye.

The Franchise Agreement

This is the binding legal contract between you and the franchisor. It's crucial to understand every aspect of this agreement, from the length of the franchise term to the conditions under which it can be renewed or terminated. This document will govern your franchise relationship, so review it thoroughly. A franchise lawyer can be invaluable in this process, helping you decipher legal terms and ensuring that your rights and interests are protected.

2. What research do I need to do?

Now it’s time to take a deep dive into your chosen franchise's finances and operations. Some key pieces of information you might want to gather include:

  1. Reviewing financial statements: Analyse the franchisor's financial health. Look for stability, profitability and growth indicators in their financial history.
  2. Assessing existing units: Evaluate the performance of current franchise units. Are they consistently profitable? What growth trends are evident?
  3. Analysing revenue and costs: Understand the franchise's business model. What are the main sources of revenue? What costs are involved in running the franchise?
  4. Location and territory analysis: Research the demand for the franchise's products or services in your intended location. Also consider the level of competition in the area - how many similar businesses are operating nearby? Look at local demographics to ensure they align with the franchise's target market.
  5. Understanding territorial rights: Know any territorial rights or restrictions. How will these affect your ability to operate and expand?
  6. Evaluating exclusivity: Determine if the franchise offers territorial exclusivity, which can protect your investment from internal competition.

Having all this information to hand will give you a clearer picture of what you're investing in, both financially and operationally, and help you make an informed decision about the franchise opportunity.

two women speaking

3. Speaking to current franchisees

Deciding whether or not to invest in a franchise is about more than just numbers. Gaining insights from current franchisees is an important part of the due diligence process - they can - provide a clear view of the franchise's operations and often reveal details not found in official documents.

Questions you might want to ask include:

  • How satisfied have they been with the franchise?
  • Did they face any operational challenges, and how did they overcome them if so?
  • How much support have they received from the franchisor when problems arose?
  • Did the financial situation of the franchise match up to their expectations?
  • Were there any other unexpected issues?

Notice how they describe the franchisor's role. Are they supportive and actively involved? Identifying patterns in their feedback can provide critical insights into the franchise system's effectiveness and the franchisor's dedication to their franchisees. This step is invaluable for verifying the information you've already gathered and painting a comprehensive picture of what joining the franchise might entail.

4. Understanding the market

Understanding the dynamics of the market you’re about to enter, as well any current industry trends, is an important part of the due diligence process.. This understanding shapes your perception of the franchise's potential and its alignment with market needs. Take some time to consider:

  • Brand perception: How is the franchise brand viewed in the market? Is it recognised positively, and does it stand out from competitors?
  • Industry growth trends:. Are there emerging sectors or declining areas? This can vary significantly between industries, such as food versus cleaning franchises.

Beyond these points, consider the broader economic landscape. How does the industry respond to economic shifts? Are there seasonal fluctuations in demand? These factors can greatly influence the franchise's long-term success.

Also, familiarise yourself with the franchising code and relevant legal and regulatory compliance issues. This knowledge is crucial for legal operations and understanding potential risks.

Lastly, assess how the franchise adapts to technological changes and industry innovations. Are they embracing new marketing strategies or sustainable practices? This adaptability can be a key indicator of the franchise's future growth potential and relevance.


5. What legal aspects do I need to consider?

As a franchisee, understanding your legal position and the nuances of franchise agreements is vital. This is where the expertise of a franchise attorney becomes indispensable. They offer clarity on several key aspects:

  • Understanding the regulatory framework governing franchise operations.
  • Simplifying the franchise agreement, including fees, guidelines, and termination rules.
  • Navigating the franchise disclosure register to identify potential red flags.
  • Assisting in negotiating the terms of the franchise agreement for a favourable outcome.
  • Ensuring the franchise complies with all relevant laws to avoid future complications.

Expanding your understanding of these legal aspects with professional advice will help safeguard your investment and position you for future success.

Sealing Your Future with the Right Franchise Choice

Diving into franchise due diligence is your pathway to uncovering a franchise that aligns perfectly with your goals. This thorough process goes beyond mere financial scrutiny; it's an exploration of the franchise's legal framework, market standing and the support you'll receive from the franchisor. Think of it as piecing together a puzzle that, when complete, reveals a clear picture of your potential success as a franchise owner.

Are you ready to discover a franchise that resonates with your aspirations and promises growth? You can explore a world of opportunities to find the franchise that fits you best on Your ideal franchise venture awaits!


Q: What key financial metrics are crucial in a franchise evaluation?

A: Focus on initial investment costs, ongoing fees, profitability timelines and the financial performance of existing franchise units.

Q: What indicates a supportive franchisor?

A: Look for comprehensive training, ongoing support, effective communication, marketing assistance and a positive brand reputation.

Q: How do I gauge the market potential for a franchise?

A: Research local demand for the product or service, analyse competitor presence and consider market trends relevant to the franchise's industry.

Q: What should I look for in a franchise agreement?

A: Pay attention to terms regarding fees, territory rights, duration, renewal conditions and exit clauses.

Q: Is it important to talk to existing franchisees?

A: Absolutely. They can offer insights into day-to-day operations, franchisor support and real-world challenges and successes.

Q: How do I assess a franchise's legal and regulatory compliance?

A: Review the franchise disclosure document (FDD) for litigation history and compliance information, then consider seeking legal advice for a thorough understanding.

Q: Can I negotiate terms with a franchisor?

A: While some terms may be non-negotiable, aspects like territory and exclusivity might have some flexibility. It's worth discussing with the franchisor or a legal advisor.

Stuart Wood

About the author

Stuart is Editorial Manager at He has worked as Editor for a B2B publisher, Content Manager for a PR firm, and most recently as a Copywriter for Barclays.