Buying a Franchise

Franchise Liability

When you’re choosing a franchise opportunity, you’re thinking about the satisfaction of running your own business and how much money you’ll earn, but you should also take some time to think about legal liability. This can be one of the big differences between one franchise and another.

For instance, if you run a franchise like Scooter’s Jungle, a children’s play place franchise, you’ll need to make sure you have proper legal protections for liability issues. Of course, it’s always in your best interest both personally and legally to ensure that everything is safe but selecting a business model with built in liability protections is important.

Scooter’s Jungle, for instance, has a standard waiver they make available to each franchisee to use for their customers. While you might think first that this is a red flag, Scooter’s Jungle offers extensive training through their “Jungle University” and they pride themselves on the support they offer franchisees. Safety is certainly a high priority, as it should be for a company that runs children’s parties.

However, we have to be realistic. These parties are in an environment where children play in large inflatables, primarily supervised (or unsupervised) by their parents. Though franchisees are required to make every effort to ensure a safe play place, accidents could happen. As a franchisee, you might be held liable for an accident if you don’t take legal steps to protect yourself and your business.

Scooter’s Jungle has built safety controls into their business model to help franchisees run a safe business and also to provide the legal tools necessary if an accident should occur.

If you’re looking into a franchise where there is the potential need for liability waivers, make sure to find out who handles them, if there’s a set process for using them developed by the franchisor, and if you can change language in the liability waiver as necessary. The answers to those questions should have a big impact on how you select a franchise. It’s also wise to consult a franchise lawyer on the legal ramification of liability waivers for you as a franchisee in the process of getting your franchise documents and contracts signed.

When you’re looking at a franchise that doesn’t have liability waivers, like most businesses, it’s important to think about the liability risks and how to protect your personal assets. For instance, we’ve probably all heard the story about hot coffee causing severe burns to a woman’s lap. That was a franchise situation — and almost certainly not one in which the franchise owner foresaw any possible danger to customers.

There are now warnings on any cup that might contain hot liquids. As a franchisee, you might be exposed to these kinds of liability risks, even if you follow your franchisor’s regulations, as in that historic case. Determine any possible risks your franchise business could involve and take steps to ensure that your personal property and assets are safe.

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