One of the brightest spots in the world of franchising is the recent emergence of military veterans as successful franchisees. Today’s Armed Forces personnel have selflessly given a great deal to their country and, thankfully, their country is reciprocating. The franchising industry is no exception. In a recent survey conducted by the World Franchising Network, 250 major franchising systems responded by noting the special concessions they make to veterans. These programs are detailed on www.Franchises4Vets.com, a popular new website dedicated solely to the recruitment and support of veterans.
Survey respondents mentioned three fundamental character traits that make veterans exceptional franchisees. First is their tenacious work ethic – the ability to hang in there in the face of adversity, as franchising is not always a walk in the park. Second is their sense of self-discipline and focus, because running a successful business doesn’t allow one to be easily distracted. Third is their ability to follow directions and inplace systems, since it is absolutely critical that franchisees follow the franchisor’s time-proven systems.
Exceptional examples of veteran franchisee success include More Space Place franchisee Keith Belair, an Army veteran who has won every corporate award offered by the company, and Jeff Anderson, from the Marine Corps, who is a successful 8-year franchisee of Window Genie.
The determinants of what we consider the “best” franchises for veterans include: 1) the overall program offered to veterans; 2) the percentage of veterans among existing franchisees; and 3) the percentage of veterans among a company’s senior management ranks.
It is interesting to note that the presidents of two of the 50 Top companies are in fact veterans themselves. Mary Thompson, President of Mr. Rooter, a Dwyer Group franchise brand, and Joe Lindenmayer, President of TSS Photography, both indicated that their experience as Marine Corps officers was an invaluable element in their future success.
Among the 50 Top franchisors, the incentives offered to prospective veteran franchisees often include a significant reduction in the franchise fee, where most offered at least a 20% reduction. Other franchisors waive or significantly reduce royalty payments for extended periods. Still others offer special inhouse financing of the investment, a discount on the initial order from the franchisor, a Grand Opening allowance or any number of creative ways to entice and reward servicemen for their sacrifices.
While these front-end inducements are extremely inviting, it is critical that prospective franchisees not focus solely initial shortterm savings. It is absolutely essential that each franchisor’s entire franchise program be evaluated from every angle. Is their product/service viable over the long-term, do they have a competitive advantage, do they provide superior initial training and on-going support, would existing franchisees make the same decision to invest today if they had the opportunity, are franchise fees and royalty fees competitive within the market segment, etc. Due diligence is fundamental to long-term success. For more information about the franchise programs offered by the 250 survey respondents, please visit www. Franchises4Vets.com. Jeff Anderson, Window Genie Franchisee. Keith Belair (middle), More Space Place Franchisee. Marty Juarez (left), COO and Bob Wood (right) Chairman & CEO 50 Top Franchises for Military Veterans COMPANY INTERNET AAMCO