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Franchise Lawyers Serving Maryland

What You Need to Know About Franchising


The franchise industry in Maryland is holding steady, with just over 14,000 franchise establishments in operation, employing approximately 165,000 workers. A state’s franchise track record is best suited toward its growing population, lower costs of living and business friendly environment. Good news for Maryland business, but there are some changes to keep top of mind.

State legislature implemented new minimum wage requirements effective January 1, 2020, that raised the minimum wage from $10.10/hr. to $11.00/hr. The wage will continue to rise annually until it reaches $15.00/hr. in 2025. In addition, the state is considering a privacy act much like the California Consumer Privacy Ace (CCPA), which could govern how franchisors and franchisees collect, share and use consumers’ personal information to create business opportunities. Keep on eye on local government to stay informed with further developments.

Maryland is a registration state for franchises, which means that you must submit your FDD to a state regulator for review. In Maryland, the initial FDD registration fee is $500 and the FDD renewal fee is $250.

Maryland Franchise Filing Fees






Pre-Effective Amendment**


Post-Effective Amendment**

*Renewal filings must be submitted before the expiration date or Maryland will require the filing be resubmitted as a new initial filing with payment of the initial fee.

**Post-Effective Amendment filings must be submitted if you are making a material change to your FDD after your initial or renewal filing is approved. Pre-Effective Amendment filings are submitted if you are making a material change to your FDD but your initial filing or renewal filing is not yet approved. No further sales may be made in Maryland until the amended FDD is approved and the registration is effectively amended.


The preferred method for filing in Maryland is through an online portal created by the industry for registration states. The filing fees are also paid through the portal via ACH. You will be required to complete and submit an ACH authorization form to us before we will submit the filing for you. Transaction fees apply for each filing with the current rate being $100 per.

Maryland will accept unaudited financials for first-year startup franchisors, but then will impose a financial assurance. The state may also require the submission of unaudited financials to supplement the audit in certain circumstances.

No deals may be closed in Maryland until the initial, renewal or amendment filing is approved, and all Maryland prospects must be disclosed/redisclosed with the approved FDD. In limited circumstances you may be able to disclose a Maryland prospect while a renewal or amendment is pending – please contact your Spadea legal team for further direction.

If you are a Maryland-based franchisor, you cannot sell anywhere until Maryland has approved your initial, renewal or amendment filing.

Advertising – Any advertising that will be used by you to target prospects in Maryland or will be published and used only in Maryland, must be filed with the state at least seven days prior to its first use. If we do not receive a comment or response from the state on the filing in those seven days, you are free to use the advertising.

Financial Assurance – If the Commissioner finds you do not have adequate financial arrangements to fulfill your obligations to franchisees, the Commissioner may require some form of financial assurance be instituted, such as an escrow, deferral of initial fees, or posting of a surety bond.

Did You Know?

Greenbelt, MD was the first community in the United States built as a planned city.

The most popular franchise industry in Maryland is commercial and residential cleaning.


Maryland Franchise Exemptions

Large Franchisors – exemption from registration only

Large Investment – exemption from registration only

Sales to Existing Franchisees – exemption from registration only

Renewal of an Existing Agreement – exemption from registration and disclosure

Sales by Existing Franchisees – exemption from registration only

Sales by Executor, Trustee, etc. – exemption from registration only

Sales to Bank – exemption from registration only

Out of State Sales – exemption from registration only

Non-Franchisor Exemptions


Flat Fee Program for Franchisors

Spadea Lignana’s CORE program for franchisors is a cost-effective and practical solution for the ongoing legal needs of franchisors, including but not limited to, FDD updates, state registrations and franchise agreement executions. Through a proprietary cloud-based system we can effectively and efficiently manage FDD Disclosures and Franchise Agreement executions for fair flat fees billed monthly. We believe that hourly billing, although necessary in certain circumstances like complex M&A deals and litigation, can weigh on the relationship between client and attorney.  By coming up with a fair flat monthly fee, the uncomfortable negotiating of whether or not a 6 minute increment in your bill for replying to an email was legitimate goes away.

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Attorneys Who Understand MD Franchise Law

Franchise laws vary from state to state, and it can be difficult to understand the requirements. Spadea Lignana has streamlined the process to ensure you remain compliant as you grow nationally.

We also work with franchisors nearby in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

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