Can franchisee associations be formed without permission?
I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction concerning individual franchise owners right to establish franchisee associations, and what legal rights do we as the franchisee have as well as the franchisor’s.
Franchisee associations are more common than ever
There are many franchisee associations found throughout the industry, and for the most part, they probably do a lot more good than harm. However, when first confronted by the possibility of such an association being formed within a franchised network, most franchisors react with resentment over the thought of having to deal with such a new organization. “How dare they?” is a standard comment. For any number of reasons, mostly fear I suppose, franchisors tend to be threatened by franchisee associations, but in fact, such associations can be extremely beneficial to the entire franchise system if handled properly. The main benefit is that the franchisor ends up with but one central voice to listen to and address regarding franchisee issues and concerns.
Now, with that said, realize that there are probably as many approaches to managing franchisee associations as there are individuals and organizations that help to form them. Some espouse diplomacy, others advise that the association be warlike in its position with the franchisor. Therefore, the first question that you and your group must examine is what type of stand and relationship you want to achieve with your franchisor. Then you can begin to interview firms (attorneys) and evaluate their proposed services based on your view of the desired future relationship.
Franchising is a mixed bag if nothing else. Aside from FTC (and certain state’s) requirements for disclosure and initial sale of a franchise, there is actually great disparity in the operation of different franchises.
Oh, I failed to answer your most basic question. You and all franchisees are able to form franchisee associations without anyone’s ‘permission’. Just be prepared for the possibility of a little (maybe a lot) of push back.
I hope this helps, and if you need to ask more questions, just let us know.