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Finding Success in Franchising
by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Dale Carnegie, ServiceMasterPrecision Door

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It was 2002, and Andrew Wilson - then, an Army First Lieutenant - sat in a tent in Afghanistan, listening to the rumble of artillery. During that rare moment of downtime in a war zone, he decided to thumb through a Fortune magazine.

What this platoon leader found in its pages altered his post-military career trajectory, catapulting him into a highly profitable business venture: franchise ownership.

   

He’d stumbled onto an article about 1-800-Got-Junk, a franchise corporation founded by Brian Scudamore of Vancouver, Canada.

Wilson went on to making his first million by sifting through other people’s junk.

“It caught my imagination,” he recalls. “I started looking at the money I’d save if I didn’t go to graduate school. I had three kids and thought it might be better to invest in something I could make money at.”

Last year, Wilson sold his 1-800-Got-Junk franchise and bought into another one (also launched by Scudamore). This one is a moving company called You Move Me. He owns two operations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Okla. This newest venture, which he has been running for about 18 months, already has earned nearly a million dollars in revenue.

Many other veterans are finding their calling in franchising as well. The International Franchise Association reported that 4,314 veterans were franchise business owners in 2012. That number went up 20 percent in 2013, to 5,192 veterans.

But don’t assume that big money from franchising is a finger-snapping, immediate result. Wilson and others who have had this level of success use specific strategies that have given them an extra edge. Here are a few of their secrets, plus what you need to know about deciding whether franchising is right for you.

Fly under the radar. Seek franchise opportunities that aren’t obvious to everybody else. Wilson liked Scudamore’s vision to shake up negative public perception of “junkyard dealers” with 1-800-Got-Junk.

“I wanted to work with a franchise that professionalizes an industry that a lot of people stereotype and that would focus on the customer experience,” Wilson says. The corporation eventually became a household name in many cities, as it was featured on A&E’s Hoarders, and even received a nod from Oprah.

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