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Skip Navigation LinksChoose Maryland > Start a Business Page Title Header

Franchising

Buying a Franchise

An important step in the small business startup process is deciding whether or not to go into business at all.  Each year, thousands of potential entrepreneurs are faced with this difficult decision; because of the risk and work involved in starting a new business, many new entrepreneurs choose franchising as an alternative to starting a new, independent business from scratch.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to hurry into business, so it's important to understand your reasons for going into business, and determine if owning a business is right for you.

If you are concerned about the risk involved in a new independent business venture, then franchising may be the best business option for you.  But remember that hard work, dedication, and sacrifice are essential to the success of any business venture, including franchising.

What is Franchising?

A franchise is a legal and commercial relationship between the owner of a trademark, service mark, trade name, or advertising symbol and an individual or group wishing to use that identification in a business. The franchise governs the method of conducting business between the two parties.  Generally, a franchisee sells goods or services supplied by the franchiser or that meet the franchiser's quality standards.

Franchising is based on mutual trust between the franchiser and franchisee. The franchiser provides the business expertise (marketing plans, management guidance, financing assistance, site location, training, etc.) that otherwise would not be available to the franchisee. The franchisee brings the
entrepreneurial spirit and drive necessary to make the franchise a success.

There are primarily two forms of franchising:

·         Product/trade name franchising and

·         Business format franchising.

In the simplest form, a franchiser owns the right to the name or trademark and sells that right to a franchisee.  This is known as product/trade name franchising.  The more complex form, business format franchising, involves a broader ongoing relationship between the two parties. Business format franchises often provide a full range of services, including site selection, training, product supply, marketing plans, and even assistance in obtaining financing.

Additional Resources
“Is Franchising for Me?”
Consumer Guide to Buying a Franchise 

Franchise Registry

Franchise Directories and Evaluation

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