Is That Legal in Your Area? How to Find Franchising Laws Specific to Your Town
Can it be done? Are you legally allowed to follow through with your new zany idea? Do seemingly mundane steps need to be cleared with the city? Or the state? Or some zoning committee that's unique to your area? Maybe – the thing about town and business laws is that they are always different, and they are always changing. Each town will have varied rules than the next. Another marker that makes laws hard to pin down is that they update constantly. Though this requires knowledge of said changes, it's actually a good thing – it means the city is working in your favor. Changes can upgrade your entire industry and implement new and more efficient rules for all.
However, in the meantime you must determine which laws apply and which ones are on the way out, and which ones must be followed even if they don't make sense. That's the hard part.
Where to Start
The most knowledgeable source of information (and best place to start) will be your franchising company. They know approximate laws and who to talk with about specifics. Even if you're branding into a new area (or new state!), they will have an outline of where to look. Often that means reaching out to the city about current or upcoming legal changes, talking with city council members or seasoned business owners who are willing to share their information, and so on. The notion of community over competition is on the rise, and following this mantra will allow for some seriously knowledgeable resources. Besides, the franchising company is on your team – your growth benefits them, so they're going to push harder in your favor than anyone else.
It can also be a good idea to talk with a lawyer, especially one who specializes in your industry or franchising. They will know the ins and outs, who to talk to, and every step that needs to be taken along the way. By working with someone who deals with these very legalities every day, you can gain access to the fastest ways to obtain licenses, how to strictly meet the law, and how to do so with as little steps as possible.
Linear Steps to Take
In any portion of business ownership, it's better to be over prepared than under. There is no such thing as knowing too much – while you don't want to act on all of that knowledge at once, it's still helpful for a rainy day.
This education can be achieved in a number of ways. If you're a reader, take to research and look online (or in print materials). You can read websites, check newspapers for local ordinances, head to builders' home pages for free resources, and more. Set aside specific time to do this – it's an important step and will allow you an edge up on your career.
If you're more of a people person, use your talking skills to gain information. Start networking with builders and contractors, those who are involved in your industry of choice, as well as those outside it. The more connections you're able to make, the more widespread your reach can become. This also comes in handy when you're trying to meet someone specific – by asking current contacts you have a better chance at reciprocation than a cold call or email.
The Take Aways
There are plenty of resources available for you to find local laws that are specific to your franchise; by actively communicating you can learn industry legalities. These are important steps that put you within the law, and will keep your business running smoothly through its beginning stages.
Before moving forward with legal steps, consider these free and helpful resources to promote your business.