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What are the differences between buying a franchise and buying a business?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2023 | Business Law

Starting a business from scratch can be incredibly difficult and challenging. Instead of building from the ground up, you may want to buy into an existing business.

You will have two general options for doing this. You can purchase a franchise or buy a business. There are some distinct differences that you should know before making your decision.


Buying a franchise means you are taking ownership of a business that is part of a larger corporation. A good example is a fast food restaurant. Generally, these businesses run under the corporate name and oversight. You cannot make changes to the offerings in any way. You also have to follow the general guidelines from the main office about how to operate your business.

In contrast, when you buy an existing independent business, you buy everything, including the control over it. You get a ready-made situation, but you can change anything you want.


With a franchise, you generally have ongoing contact with the corporate office. You may receive training and continuous assistance from the corporation to help you run your business and handle any issues that may emerge.

When you buy a business, you are on your own. The previous owner will walk away and leave you to handle the business operations on your own.

In general, with a franchise, you are buying into a business and will be running your own location of that business. You have little control, but you have assistance available to you when you need it. If you buy an independent business, you take over the whole operation. You will generally have little or no assistance moving forward, as you are in complete control after the change of ownership is complete.

Legal guidance

Whether you choose to buy a franchise or an independent business, an attorney can help you to understand the implications of your choice and guide you through any complications that may arise.


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