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Reading an FDD is daunting, but Franchise Times has a few shortcuts for prospective franchisees, to help them make an initial decision whether to investigate the brand further or move on. Read below to learn about Item 19 and Item 20, and why they matter.

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Reading an FDD, the multiple-page franchise disclosure document required for any franchise offered for sale, seems daunting, but at Franchise Times we have some tips to make it easier for prospective franchisees. Here are the four most useful items and how to read them.

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We started by selecting 10 new industry categories, which were chosen to be popular and attractive to different types of franchisees (for example, those who like working with kids or running a healthy restaurant). We change these categories each year.

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What are you trying to achieve? When considering which franchise to buy, this is the most important question to answer. “I call it the introspective self,” says Nick Neonakis, a franchise consultant and author of "The Franchise MBA—Mastering the Four Essential Steps to Owning a Franchise," who adds a number of other questions prospective operators should explore at the very beginning, long before they actually begin researching specific industry segments or brands within franchising.

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With 2,000 votes cast over 30 days, franchisees, ambassadors and enthusiasts clicked to show their love for the 40 brands nominated in this year's Franchise Times Zor Awards. The tallies comprise one of three key pillars, along with editorial research and financial returns to the operators, to name our final winners. By category, Un-hoarding garnered the most votes by a sizable margin. College Hunks Hauling Junk received more votes than any other brand, and our editorial team agreed that these College Hunks had the fundamentals to back up the enthusiasm.