Yes, you should consult with a franchise attorney before entering into an agreement, and here are the reasons why.
Benjamin Franklin could be called the “American Father of Commercial Franchising.” In 1731, he and Thomas Whitmarsh agreed that Whitmarsh would open a printing business in Charleston, South Carolina. Franklin sold paper and printing equipment to Whitmarsh while agreeing to a non-compete with Franklin.
The author of Poor Richard’s Almanac subsequently established similar relationships in multiple states (New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Georgia) and several countries (Antigua, Jamaica, Canada, and Great Britain). Thus, starting one of the earliest known examples of a franchise network.
From those early humble beginnings, franchising has evolved to become a tried and true, all-be-it complex, business model. Franchising, implemented correctly, is a practical and efficient way for those who want to start a new business to connect with companies that seek to quickly expand their markets.
The franchisee (new business owner) gets the advantages of a brand recognition, a turnkey business operation with ongoing assistance, and group purchasing power in most cases. The franchisor (the existing business owner) benefits from expansion with little capital, motivated ownership, and greater brand awareness.
Franchising, as an industry, did not come into its own until the 1950’s and 1960’s when brand names such as McDonald’s, Denny’s, Dunkin Donuts, Holiday Inn, H&R Block, and many other iconic businesses launched their own franchise networks.