If you are looking into franchise opportunities or thinking about franchising your business, Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDD’s) are one of the best sources of information on franchisors and their franchise offerings.
FDD’s are legal documents that are required to be provided to prospective franchise buyers in the United States at least 14 days before they pay a franchisor or sign an agreement. For more information on FDD’s check out Franchise Basics: What is a Franchise Disclosure Document? in which we cover the document in depth.
Since most franchise companies are privately held and do not share FDD’s publicly it can be difficult to find these FDD’s online. If you want one from a brand you are interested in you can always ask the brand for the document and they are obligated to give it to you during their sales process. However, that doesn’t scale well if you are interested in looking at multiple brands at once.
Luckily, Franchisors are required to register their franchise offerings in various States and four of them provide the disclosure documents online for free, Wisconsin is our favorite since we think it is the easiest to use.
California Free FDD Search - California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation Self Service Portal. Search for publicly available franchise documents submitted to the State of California by typing in the name of the franchise in the ‘Legal Name’ box and selecting “Uniform Franchise Registration” in the ‘Application Type’ box.
Indiana Free FDD Search - Indiana Secretary of State Securities Portal. Search for publicly available franchise registrations submitted to the state of Indiana by selecting “franchise” under ‘Registration Type’ and typing in the name of the franchisor under ‘name’.
Minnesota Free FDD Search - Minnesota Commerce Department’s Commerce Actions and Regulatory Documents Search. Search for publicly available franchise registrations submitted to the State of Minnesota by selecting “Franchise Registrations” under ‘Area of Interest’ and type in the name of the Franchisor under ‘Franchisor’ or the name of the franchise under ‘Name of Franchise’.
Wisconsin Free FDD Search - Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Franchise Registration Search. Search for publicly available franchise registrations submitted to the State of Wisconsin by typing in the name of the franchisor under ‘Name(Legal or Trade’ and click search.
There are a few websites that have free databases to find and download FDD’s. Currently Franchimp provides free credits to download FDD’s and they have one of the most extensive databases of FDD’s we have seen.
Franchimp FDD Search - Search for FDD’s by typing in the name and selecting the document year you would like to download.
To learn more about developing your franchise or exploring franchise opportunities contact us here.