What documents do I need to franchise my business in Australia? 

Franchising your business can be a rewarding way to expand. However, it requires meticulous planning and a set of specific documents. Importantly, these documents need to comply with the Franchising Code. A comprehensive set of well-drafted documents ensures you and your potential franchisees are protected and fully informed. Here’s a guide to the essential documents needed to franchise your business in Australia.

Franchise Agreement

The franchise agreement serves as the cornerstone of any franchise system. This legally binding contract outlines the rights and obligations of both the franchisor and the franchisee. It includes critical elements such as the franchise fee, the duration of the agreement, renewal terms, territory rights, and operational standards. Consequently, drafting this agreement in consultation with a franchise lawyer is crucial. A franchise lawyer ensures the agreement is comprehensive and complies with all legal requirements. This includes those imposed by the Franchising Code of Conduct, which forms part of the Australian Consumer Law.

Disclosure Document

The disclosure document plays a vital role in maintaining transparency. The Franchising Code of Conduct mandates that this document be provided to all incoming franchisees. It offers them comprehensive information about the franchise, including details about the franchisor’s business history, financial performance, and any ongoing litigation. Therefore, the disclosure document helps franchisees make informed decisions by providing a clear picture of what they are getting into. Additionally, a franchise lawyer must assist in preparing this document to ensure compliance with the Franchising Code. This code requires the disclosure document to be updated annually and presented to prospective franchisees at least 14 days before signing any agreement or paying any fees.

Key Facts Sheet

The key facts sheet provides a concise summary of the most important aspects of the franchise. Essentially, it summarizes the disclosure document. It highlights critical information such as initial and ongoing fees, the term of the franchise agreement, and renewal conditions. This document is designed to give potential franchisees a quick overview, making it easier to compare different franchise opportunities. Furthermore, working with a franchise lawyer ensures that the key facts sheet accurately reflects the franchise offer and complies with the Franchising Code’s requirements.

Operations Manual

The operations manual is an indispensable tool for maintaining consistency across all franchise locations. It details the daily operations of the franchise, including standard operating procedures, marketing strategies, customer service protocols, and training programs. As a result, the operations manual ensures that every franchisee operates their business in line with the franchisor’s established methods and standards. Additionally, it can include network-wide policies such as privacy, workplace health and safety, and technology policies.

Additional Legal Documentation

Several other legal documents may be required in addition to the franchise agreement, disclosure document, key facts sheet, and operations manual. These include:

  • Lease and Licence Agreements: Clear lease agreements are crucial if your franchisees need to lease premises. If the franchisor holds the lease, they will typically grant a licence to occupy to the franchisee concurrently with their entry into the franchise agreement.
  • Supplier Agreements: Contracts with suppliers ensure consistent quality and pricing for goods and services. If the franchisor or its associate is a supplier, a robust supplier agreement should be deemed a related agreement of the franchise agreement.
  • Non-disclosure Agreements: These protect the franchisor’s valuable information from unauthorized disclosure.
  • Information Statement and the Franchising Code: While these do not need to be prepared, as they are readily available documents, they must be disclosed to prospective franchisees.

The Role of a Franchise Lawyer

Navigating the complexities of franchising requires expert legal advice. A franchise lawyer specializes in franchise law and ensures all your documents are compliant with Australian regulations and the Franchising Code of Conduct. They can help draft and review your franchise agreement, disclosure document, and other legal paperwork. By working with a franchise lawyer, you protect your business from potential legal pitfalls. Moreover, you ensure your franchise system is robust.

Preparing Your Franchise Documents

  • Drafting the Franchise Agreement: Start with a clear outline of what you want to include. Make sure the agreement is thorough but understandable.
  • Creating the Disclosure Document: Gather all relevant information about your business. This includes your business history, financial performance, and any legal issues. A franchise lawyer can help you present this information clearly and comprehensively.
  • Compiling the Key Facts Sheet: Summarize the essential points of your franchise offering. Make it clear and concise. This document should be easy to read and understand at a glance.
  • Developing the Operations Manual: Document every aspect of your business operations. Create a step-by-step guide to running the franchise. The manual should be detailed and cover all operational areas. Additionally, consider which policies should be included and have them drafted by a franchise lawyer. Regularly update the manual to reflect any changes in procedures or standards.

Final Steps

A franchise lawyer should assist in preparing all documents. They will ensure everything is legally sound and compliant with the Franchising Code of Conduct. It’s also wise to have a business advisor review your franchise model. They can provide insights into the operational and financial feasibility of your franchise.


Franchising your business in Australia involves several critical documents. These include the franchise agreement, disclosure document, key facts sheet, and operations manual. These documents provide the framework for a successful franchise system. Partnering with a franchise lawyer ensures your documents are compliant and legally sound. With careful preparation and the right legal support, you can expand your business successfully through franchising.

Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Magnolia Legal disclaims any liability arising from reliance on this article. Our terms of use apply