For a franchisee, success depends on an understanding of and compliance with the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). This document may be up to 200 pages long, so it can be challenging to determine which aspects are most important. Here are five critical issues to watch out for in an FDD:
1. What You Control
The FDD will delineate the elements of the franchise that you have complete control over, as opposed to those that are controlled by or require the approval of the franchisor. Franchisor-controlled elements may include much more than branding, products and services. They can extend to record keeping, advertising, vendors and more.
2. Non-compete Clauses
There will be a non-compete clause in the FDD. Understandably, the franchisor wants to protect its business. However, it is important for you to know how you will be restricted if you choose to sell the franchise. Will you be able to own, manage or even work for a similar business afterward? What are the time and geographic limitations?
3. Hidden Expenses
The FDD will list an estimated initial investment, but this may not be the only cost covered in the document. If you look closely, you may find hidden expenses, such as the cost of training or costs associated with upgrading the overall look of the franchise.
4. Your Territory
Running a successful business is difficult enough without having to compete against other branches of the same franchise. The FDD will outline your exclusive territory. Be aware that not all franchises offer exclusive territories.
5. Help From The Franchisor
What can you expect from the Franchisor? Will there be an initial training and ongoing training? Will there be support in creating and distributing promotional materials? Under federal law, a franchisor is not obligated to provide any help beyond that which is listed in the FDD. In other words, if a franchise development director tells you that support will be provided, make certain you get it in writing.
The franchise development director may explain the FDD to you, but it is in your best interest to have the document reviewed by an independent party. An experienced franchise lawyer can help you understand the document and identify potential issues. Furthermore, many of the items in the document may be negotiable. A lawyer may be able to negotiate more control, less restrictive non-compete terms, larger protected territories and more.
At Heekin Law, P.A., we have decades of experience helping franchisees set the stage for successful ventures.
We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.
To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to