Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Franchise Registration and Exemption

The offering of franchises in Washington is governed by RCW 19.100."Franchise" is defined in RCW 19.100.010(4) as:
 
(a) An agreement, expressed or implied, oral or written, by which:
    (i) A person is granted the right to engage in the business of offering, selling, or distributing goods or services under a marketing plan prescribed or suggested in substantial part by the grantor or its affiliate;
    (ii) The operation of the business is substantially associated with a trademark, service mark, trade name, advertising, or other commercial symbol designating, owned by, or licensed by the grantor or its affiliate; and
    (iii) The person pays, agrees to pay, or is required to pay, directly or indirectly, a franchise fee.

Franchisors must register their franchise offerings prior to offering in Washington, unless the offering qualifies for one of the exemptions contained in RCW 19.100.030. Filing requirements are summarized in the Frequently Asked Questions Section.

If you have questions about the requirements for franchising in Washington, please email Carol Kelsey at Carol.Kelsey@dfi.wa.gov or call 360-902-8760.

If you would like to check to see whether a particular franchise has filed with the Division, or would like copies of their franchise documents, please contact Carol Kelsey or call 360-902-8760.


Electronic Franchise Filing System

The Securities Division is pleased to announce the availability of its new online electronic franchise filing system. This system allows franchise applicants to file new franchise applications, franchise renewals, franchise amendments, and franchise reapplications via the internet, eliminating the need to make paper submissions to the Division. The implementation of the Franchise E-File System continues the Division’s goal of applying LEAN principles to our processes, thereby reducing waste and increasing productivity. We encourage all franchise applicants to begin using the Franchise E-File System immediately in lieu of submitting physical applications.

Franchise E-File System
Notice to Interested Persons (PDF)
How to get started – Step-by-step instructions and information about using the Franchise E-File System
Electronic Franchise Filing FAQs


Laws, Rules & Resources

RCW 19.100 - Washington Franchise Investment Protection Act
WAC 460-80 - Franchise Rules
WAC 460-82 - Franchise Broker Rule
Franchise FAQs
Franchise Act Policy Statements
Franchise Act Interpretive Statements
2008 Franchise Registration and Disclosure Guidelines (PDF)


Forms

Franchise Registration Application (PDF)
Sample Washington Franchise Agreement Addendum (PDF)  
Franchise Impound Agreement (PDF)
Guarantee of Performance (PDF)
Salesman Disclosure Form (PDF)
Annual Notice of Claim of Exemption (PDF)
Franchise Broker License Application (PDF)
Franchisor Surety Bond (PDF)


Publications

Buying A Business Opportunity
Avoiding Business Opportunity Fraud
Buying A Franchise: A Consumer Guide (Federal Trade Commission)


Franchise Act Interpretive and Policy Statements

Interpretive and Policy Statements


Other Sites of Interest

North American Securities Administrators Association
Federal Trade Commission
FTC Rule (PDF)
FTC Franchise Compliance Guide
FTC Franchise FAQs
International Franchise Association
Washington State Attorney General's Office
National Fraud Center
Better Business Bureau