Welcome to a buyer's guide to franchising. I'm John Usher, a second generation franchisee with more than 25 years experience in the franchise industry. I'm also an attorney, who not too surprisingly, focuses on franchise matters. I've owned and operated multiple franchise brands. I've bought existing franchise units. I've built units, I've sold units, and I've even closed some units. Like the insurance company that says, "we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two," I know a franchise thing or two because I've seen, and done, a franchise thing or two.

Over my time as a franchisee, I've seen way too many people, practically everyone, enter into long-term contracts without understanding exactly what they signed up for. FDD sounds kind of innocent. I think it's safer to not refer to the documents as an FDD, but call it what it is: a long-term contract. To reinforce this point, I sometimes say FDD stands for framework designed to deceive. Now, this may seem a little harsh, but it's important to always remember the documents are created for only one purpose, and that is to benefit the franchisor. Contracts are fine, until there's a problem.

Most franchisees never look at their FDD after they sign the documents. It only gets a review when a problem arises. Unfortunately, as you will see, that's just too late. The only time you can really help yourself is before you sign. I created this presentation as a quick overview to fdds, because I think it is so important for people to be better informed when they make their franchise decisions. I hope you find the presentation enlightening. If you have a question regarding franchising, you can ask by going to my website, at www.usherlawfirm.com. Let's get informed.