20+ Differences Between Franchising vs. Licensing (Explained)

Both franchises and licenses are commercial contracts that allow for sharing specific brand elements in return for a price.

A licensing deal, on the other hand, only applies to registered trademarks, but a franchising agreement covers a company’s whole brand and activities.

As a result, franchises often perform best for service-based businesses, whereas licenses are better suited to product-based ones.

A licensee has greater authority over how they run their firm than an owner, who will have the franchise owner oversee their operations (franchisor). However, the franchisor will also provide a franchisee with a lot of guidance and training.

So, while there are some parallels between licensing and franchising, they are two completely different contracts with very different implications for you and your company.


Key Differences:


  1. Franchising is an agreement whereby the franchisor allows the franchisee to do business as a separate branch of the parent firm using the business model, brand name, or method for a fee (franchisor).
  2. In many nations, there exist laws that govern franchising. However, if no laws govern franchising, then business law governs.
  3. In the case of franchising, registration is required.
  4. In franchising, the franchisor offers the franchisee comprehensive training and assistance.
  5. The franchisor has extensive influence over the operations and operations of the franchisee.
  6. Franchisers must provide continuing support to franchisees.
  7. In franchising, common fee structures exist.


  1. A corporation (the licensee) buys the right to utilize intellectual property or to make a company’s product from the licensee for a set price or royalty.
  2. Contract Law governs licenses.
  3. Registration is not necessary for licensing.
  4. The Licensor does not offer any assistance or support while licensing.
  5. The Licensor controls how the licensee uses its intellectual property but not how the licensee runs its company.
  6. When obtaining a license, some property or rights are transferred once.
  7. In licensing, there is a significant amount of fee negotiating.

Comparison Between Franchising And Licensing

DefinitionIn a franchising agreement, the franchisor grants the franchisee the right to utilize the business model or brand name for a fee to do business as a separate branch of the parent firm (franchisor).In a licensing agreement, a business (the licensee) pays the licensee a royalty in exchange for the right to utilize its intellectual property or to make its products.
LawsFranchise laws, if applicable, or corporate law.Contract law.
PowerThe franchisor has extensive influence over the operations and operations of the franchisee.The Licensor controls how the licensee uses its intellectual property but not how the licensee runs its company.
ProcessThe franchiser’s continued help is required.It entails a one-time transfer of rights or property.
ProsFranchisees gains access to a regionally diverse market without sacrificing the value of their brand. Additionally, the franchisor offers ongoing assistance to the franchisee to grow a lucrative enterprise.Without making large financial investments, the Licensor gains vertical integration and increases the value of its brand. In addition, by depending on a powerful brand and removing rivals, the licensee is granted access to the market.
ConsThe franchisee’s large initial expenditure to achieve the franchisor’s quality criteria. Additionally, the franchisee’s autonomy regarding company operations is relatively low.The final use of the Licensor’s intellectual property rights is not under its direct control.
GoalsFranchise agreements are used to expand a brand through franchisees who work within standardized frameworks under the franchisor’s supervision.Through separately run firms, license agreements are utilized to monetize trademarks and technologies.

Major Differences Between Franchising And Licensing

What Exactly Is Franchising?

An arrangement between a franchisor and a franchisee is known as a franchise. The franchisor is the company’s owner. The franchisor offers the franchisee the rights to use their brand, including all associated goods and services, intellectual property, and other assets.

The franchisee then establishes a new location under the same name that effectively copies the original company. 

Franchises are subject to regulation under the FTC’s franchise rule and must abide by state laws. According to the franchise contract’s provisions, the franchisee must pay the franchisor charges to launch a franchise, use their name, and get business advice and support.

In exchange for a fee, the franchisor lends its brand to the franchisee and offers training and advice.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Franchising:


  1. All the advantages of being a self-employed business owner without the dangers of opening a new company are one of the perks of being a franchisee. 
  2. The benefit of a franchise is that it already has a client base and a tested business plan. 
  3. While there might be large costs associated with buying a franchise, they may still amount to a lower investment than if you were to establish your own business from scratch. 
  4. Additionally, buying a franchise is sometimes significantly less hazardous than starting a business from scratch. Another advantage of franchising is the shared relationship. 
  5. The franchisor can quickly expand its firm while delegating a portion of the job to franchisees. 
  6. The franchisee collaborates with the franchisor to run the company and pick up any necessary business skills. 
  7. One of the main advantages of franchising over licensing is the closeness of the bond between the franchisee and the franchisor. 
  8. Despite the franchise agreement’s complexity, it offers a variety of options.


  1. The loss of control is one of a franchisee’s disadvantages. 
  2. Even though it is your company, the franchisor will make the majority of important business choices or, at the very least, must authorize them. 
  3. Although this assistance might be useful when learning the firm’s ins and outs, it can also appear micromanaged to seasoned business owners. 
  4. However, the franchisor benefits from this control since it can continue managing how its brand is utilized. 
  5. A franchise appears far more expensive and difficult than a license. 
  6. Between $10,000 and $50,000 might be spent on the first franchise costs, and there are also continuing expenses to consider. 
  7. Although it may seem expensive, keep in mind that you are obtaining access to a whole company. 
  8. A license agreement, in contrast, restricts your ability to utilize particular trademarks. A license will thus be less expensive and difficult, but it also grants you access to far less. 
  9. Business owners will occasionally choose licensing agreements over franchising agreements due to the cost difference; nevertheless, these are not interchangeable and frequently do not apply to the same kinds of enterprises. 
  10. Not to add, by creating a license agreement for company operations that genuinely come within the franchising category, you are also placing yourself in danger legally. 
  11. If startup costs keep you from opening a franchise, you might want to look into these affordable franchise opportunities. 
  12. You can also look into franchise finance to assist you in paying for these costs.

What Exactly Is Licensing?

On the other hand, licensing is a constrained, formal economic relationship in which a certain party is permitted to use specific registered trademarks of a company.

Business partners, the Licensor, and the licensee are the parties who get permission to use each other’s trademarks. For the privilege of using the registered trademarks of another firm, the licensee gives the Licensor an agreement royalty fee. 

Disney and Calvin Klein are two of the most well-known companies with which license agreements are in place. In addition, Calvin Klein has license arrangements in place with several manufacturers.

This indicates that the Calvin Klein corporation has granted some manufacturers a license or loan to use their products under the Calvin Klein name.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Licensing:


  1. The freedom of the licensee is one advantage of licensing. A licensing arrangement often involves two well-established firms. 
  2. The right to utilize protected marks that are already well-known and beloved by a devoted following is being purchased by the licensee. 
  3. Because of this, licensing is a safe investment and a fantastic method to grow your company. 
  4. Another benefit of licenses over franchises is how straightforward the contract is. 
  5. The licensing agreement will be relatively easy to understand because it only pertains to using one (or a small number of) protected marks.


  1. The limits are the main drawback of licensing over franchising. A license only allows for the use of particular protected marks. 
  2. Although this limits the arrangement, your firm may not require anything more. 
  3. It’s also crucial to ensure you’ve taken these precautions to safeguard your intellectual property before signing a licensing deal. 
  4. Another disadvantage is that many individuals are unaware of the full value of licenses. 
  5. There is a lot of misunderstanding on whether to establish a license agreement and when the licensing agreement crosses the line into a franchise. 
  6. Before you sign either a license or a franchising agreement, be important to consult with an experienced attorney.

Contrast Between Franchising And Licensing


  • Franchising- Franchise agreements use trademarks, extra intellectual property, goods, services, an operational manual, and many other things.
  • Licensing- Unlike a franchise, a license has significantly more restrictions. For example, only the use of registered trademarks is permitted under a license agreement.


  • Franchising- The franchisor can include rules in a franchise agreement for how the franchisee will advertise the business, utilize the brand’s trademarks, choose its location, and run the firm. In other words, because the franchisee’s firm is effectively an extension of the franchisor’s business, the franchisor may exert much influence over it.
  • Licensing- In contrast, a licensor has virtually little influence over a licensee’s company. The Licensor may impose restrictions on the licensee’s use of protected marks, but it has no other authority over its business operations.

Industry Examples: 

  • Franchising- In general, franchises are service-based enterprises. Chain restaurants, hotels, cleaning services, car repair shops, software repair enterprises, etc., make up the majority of franchise operations.
  • Licensing- Businesses that give or acquire licenses frequently work with products. Licenses are excellent for giving a product, such as apparel or other consumer items, a well-known brand or image.


Features of Franchising

  1. Many individuals initially consider the legislation when they consider franchising. The franchisee must serve the customer. 
  2. Although the legislation is undoubtedly significant, it is not the most crucial concept to comprehend regarding franchising. 
  3. Fundamentally, franchising is about the brand value of the franchisor, how the franchisor supports its franchisees and how the franchisee fulfills its duties to deliver the goods.
  4. They also support services in accordance with the system’s brand standards, and most importantly, franchising is about the relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees. 
  5. The most important asset of a franchisor is its brand, and customers base their decisions on which stores to frequent and how frequently they visit those stores. 
  6. Customers, to a certain extent, don’t really care who owns the company as long as their expectations for the brand are satisfied. 
  7. Developing a relationship with your clients is a must if you want to succeed as a franchisee. 
  8. Customers will prefer to do business with you because of the high caliber of your offerings and the close connection you make with them. 
  9. Excellent franchisors give their franchisees the processes, resources, and assistance they need to uphold the brand standards of the system and guarantee customer happiness. 
  10. Additionally, franchisors and all of the other franchisees anticipate that you will independently oversee the daily operations of your companies in order to improve the company’s standing in your region. 
  11. Franchises appear to the general public to be similar to other chains of branded enterprises, but they are actually quite distinct. 
  12. In a franchise structure, the brand owner does not oversee and run the sites that routinely provide customers with their goods and services. 
  13. Although every license is a franchise, according to the law, not every license is a franchise. That may occasionally be really perplexing.


  • Franchising- A franchise agreement is often a significantly stricter and more sophisticated contract. A franchise deal has numerous moving components, but a license arrangement is only simple lending of certain protected brands or pictures.
  • Licensing- Compared to a licensing arrangement, launching a franchise involves a lot more legal formalities and compliance with regulations.


  • Franchising- The majority of franchises pertain to service-based businesses like fast food restaurants and car repair shops.
  • Licensing- Software, patented technology, and other items and goods are the subject of licensing.


  • Franchising- The intricate agreement governing franchising spells out both parties’ obligations and responsibilities. The franchisor helps equip the service provider with the necessary abilities and expertise to represent its brand to clients.
  • Licensing- A licensing agreement, which entails the one-time sale of property or rights in exchange for money, governs licensing. In most instances, the Licensor gives no technical support or help.


Types of Licenses

  1. You are given permission to run your business in a particular locale, such as a neighborhood, city, or county, by means of a local operating license. 
  2. To start and run a new business, these levels of government could need you to get a local operating license. 
  3. Following site inspections, cities and counties award zoning and land use permits. If it complies with the necessary zoning and land use laws is determined by the site inspection. 
  4. It’s possible that the location where you’re creating a business has already been zoned for your industry, so you won’t need to apply for one.
  5. You must seek construction permits from your local city government, whether you’re building a new structure or remodeling an old one. 
  6. This guarantees that the building or restoration conforms to local laws and safety standards. 
  7. Your licensed contractor should be knowledgeable about the construction permits required by your local government in order to launch your business.
  8. You can admit visitors to your site if you have a fire permit. You may need to get this small business license from the fire department in some cities. 
  9. For some, maintaining your firm necessitates routine inspections and inspection certifications.
  10. You should have the necessary permits to operate lawfully if you’re starting a business that could have an impact on people’s health. 
  11. Your local government has every authority to impose requirements. If you want to offer alcohol at your site, you must get a local liquor license. 
  12. However, the majority provide a public PDF version of their criteria, so if you want additional information, get in touch with your neighborhood health inspector’s office.
  13. You should find out if a liquor license is available for purchase, as some jurisdictions have a cap on the number of licenses that may be given.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is patent licensing?

Patent licensing is giving authorization to a third party to profit from the sale and use of the licensed goods.

The owner of the patent grants permission to a third party for a predetermined royalty sum to use, market, and profit from the patented innovation.

Q2. What is a copyright?

Original works of authorship are protected by copyright, a sort of intellectual property, as soon as the creator fixes the work in a tangible form of expression.

Paintings, pictures, drawings, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, and a wide variety of other works fall under the purview of copyright law.

Q3. What is the importance of copyright?

A kind of intellectual property known as copyright protects the expression of ideas. It shields the original creative, literary, dramatic, cinematographic, or sound recording authors or owners against unlawful use or duplication of the work.

Q4. What is meant by international trade?

A need or desire for commodities or services leads to the exchange of capital, products, and services across international borders or territories.

Such commerce accounts for a sizable portion of the gross domestic product in most nations (GDP).

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