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Want The Real Story On a Franchise? Call a Franchisee.
CNBC.com | January 24, 2012 | 11:01 AM EST

If your preliminary research into owning a franchise has whetted your appetite, then it’s time do the serious research.

In my last franchise column I talked about the questions you should ask yourself to find out whether a franchise is the right move for you.

Now, it’s time to talk to franchise representatives.

You probably have a lot of questions. You will need a lot of answers. Some of them will come from a franchise development representative.

But the really important questions will come from another source: The current crop of franchisees that are in the franchise system you’re thinking of joining. It’s super-important that you talk to them. They'll have the answers you need.

At a certain point in the franchise discovery process, your franchise representative will encourage you to start reaching out to current franchisees. Most of time, you’ll receive a list of franchisees to call. But, it’s not the complete list. You’ll receive that as part of the Franchise Disclosure Document , or FDD. That’s because the Federal Trade Commission requires all franchisors that are registered in the US to provide the names, addresses and phone numbers of current franchisees as part of the FDD.

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