Let me backtrack a little bit. When I did my due diligence for The UPS Store back in 2002, I received all of their franchise application materials, including the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (now called the Franchise Disclosure Document), via UPS. For some reason, it didn’t occur to me that the FDD could be sent any other way.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I was talking with a top franchise executive about a possible collaboration, and we somehow ended up discussing their FDD. He offered to send me a copy, which surprised me a bit since I’m not a prospective franchisee. But he explained that the FDD is a public document, so after putting down the phone, I sent him an email and gave him my mailing address. A few minutues later, he sent me an email with their FDD in PDF format. Duh — of course, I should have known that it could be sent electronically.
And just this evening, while doing some Internet research on a new product that I might be offering soon, I learned that the FDDs can be downloaded for free from the website of the State of California’s Department of Corporations (California Electronic Access to Securities Information and Franchise Information). It’s all there — categorized, current, and free!
For some reason, many franchisors make it sound like these FDDs are confidential documents that are sent only to qualified applicants. Wrong!
I’ve reviewed close to a hundred different franchises, but my coverage to date does not include any data from the FDDs. To correct this, I intend to revisit some of the most popular franchises on the blog and focus mainly on this newly available information. Depending on the response, I may have to do this for every franchise I’ve previously featured. So please check back often for new blog posts highlighting what I think you need to know from the FDDs, particularly with respect to revenues and earnings. And if there’s any particular franchise that you feel I must revisit, please send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.