- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Franchising: A Perfect Fit for Veterans

by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: American Airlines

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Here are their tips on finding the franchise that’s right for you and shoring support to get your new business on firm footing:

Investigate options based on consumer needs. If you care about something or want a certain product, chances are you’re not alone. The top five industries for franchises are (in this order): services, senior care, home services, advertising/marketing and food, Eldridge says.

Ironically, neither Myers nor Anthony had long-term aspirations to become franchise owners. Both of them stumbled into it because they had needs as consumers.

As a Naval Academy midshipman, Myers says she was “well-trapped on campus” with food choices. She sorely missed the Smoothie King that was widely available in her far-away hometown of New Orleans. During her ensuing career, she found that naval bases also did not provide very healthy food options.

”I thought it was a good idea based on my experience and what I wanted and what other people wanted, too,” she says.

She became a partner in a Smoothie King business in 2009, and then bought out the partner in 2011. Her business growth has been rooted in the strategy to locate new franchises on or near military installations. They’re so popular with military members that, “I feel I could open a new location every other month at this point,” she says.

Myers, too, had a need: He has a young hearing-impaired son who couldn’t hear wasps buzzing near his head in the back yard. The family also has a pool, which attracts mosquitos. Myers was spending $190 monthly on bug spray.

“I thought, ‘There has to be a company out there that will spray for me better than what I can do and cheaper. I looked in Oklahoma City, but there was no one who just sprayed for mosquitoes, and they all wanted you to sign a contract. Nobody guaranteed their work,” he says.

Once you narrow down a niche, research franchises. After Anthony couldn’t find a local mosquito-spraying business in Oklahoma City, he researched companies and found Mosquito Joe as a top 10 franchisor in Forbes magazine. “One thing led to another. I jumped on a plane and literally I loved everything they had to say. It’s more than just pest control; it’s health care,” he says.

Also investigate whether the franchisor participates in the VetFran program which is a great opportunity for veteran owned franchises. Franchise fees normally range from $40,000 to $50,000, but there are more than 650 VetFran member companies that offer discounts to veterans. The list can be viewed here:

Anthony was “wowed” by Mosquito Joe’s discount of $2,500 off its franchise fee, plus a payment plan with no interest for the remainder due. He had to buy vans, a rack system inside the vans and blowers. To get started in the franchise, he estimates someone needs $62,000 to $100,000. Although he didn’t have much money, he obtained loans for the first vehicle and also received financial support from his family.

Anthony has a three-year payment installment plan and intends on expanding his territory next year. “I proved I was going to be a hard worker and make the business functional and successful. They said, ‘We have faith in you and will front you the money to expand,’” he says.

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