A question that I hear a lot is: what are other franchise models doing? Franchisors looking to restructure their fees want to know what other franchise models are doing. Persons looking to buy a franchise want to know if this is common in the franchise industry or do all franchises require this?
Yes, you can go buy competitor’s franchise disclosure documents. They cost a few hundred dollars depending on the disclosure document you want to buy. However, there are some free alternatives.
Here are the links: http://www.freefranchisedocs.com/
CalEasi is maintained by the State of California and is an online data base of registered FDD (franchise disclosure documents) in the state of California. However, staffing constraints and franchise exemptions can result in not obtaining the information that you are seeking or obtaining dated information.
CARDS is the new website established by the state of Minnesota. Like California’s CaLEasi website, this is an electronic database of FDDs filed in the state. The website, however, only dates from 2010. So if you are looking for historical data, this not the site.
The free alternatives may not have all disclosure documents available or this year’s disclosure document, but they are free. So if your curiosity is not worth a couple hundred dollars or if you do not need the most up-to-date information, check out the above links before you spend your money.