Today’s Top 100 Franchises Rated by Veteran Franchisees – From Franchise Business Review
Top 100 Franchises: Much has been written about the natural fit between military experience and franchise ownership. Franchising, like the military, is centered around clearly defined systems, a set structure, discipline, and teamwork. Because of this, people who’ve had successful military careers may excel in the world of franchising.
Many franchise companies offer special incentives for franchisees from the Armed Forces. These incentives may come in the form of discounted franchise fees, financing assistance, or ongoing support specifically designed for veteran franchisees. Some brands, like ActionCOACH, have even offered free franchises to veterans as part of their recruitment efforts.
With all of the special offerings and opportunities available to a vet, the search for a franchise may seem overwhelming. This report is designed to help make that process easier. Franchise Business Review is the only researcher to look at which franchise opportunities are the most veteran-friendly based on franchisee satisfaction and performance—perhaps the most telling data of all. Veterans & Franchising is the true story behind what franchise brands say they will do for veterans and what they actually do.
The data for this report was compiled as part of Franchise Business Review’s Veterans & Franchising 2012 study, which recognizes the top vet-friendly brands based on overall veteran franchisee satisfaction. To compile the data for this report, we surveyed nearly 3,500 military-trained franchisees, representing 265 brands. We also interviewed senior executives and franchisees at several brands for their first-hand perspective. From this data, we identify our list of Top 100 Franchises for Veterans, which includes companies with above average satisfaction among the veteran franchisees we surveyed.
Vets in Franchising
The same traits that make for a successful military career (the ability to follow directions, work in teams, and lead) can make for very successful franchisee. Franchisors told us that franchisees who have had successful military careers often outperform non-military franchisees.
“Franchisors offer a business model, operating systems, and procedures. We find that veterans are often better at following that system than those who haven’t had that kind of experience and training,” said Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS. “When you open a new business, it’s going to be longer hours and harder work—than just having a job. Our folks who have served in the military are not afraid of hard work. That kind of perseverance and commitment is what it takes to own a business.”
Researching a franchise
Researching and deciding on a franchise from the thousands of opportunities available can be overwhelming for anyone, but for an active soldier, especially one stationed abroad, it can seem nearly impossible. Signal 88 CEO Reed Nyffeler says it can take twice as long for active military personnel to research and start up a franchise because they begin researching their opportunities while stationed abroad and can only conduct their in-person research while on leave. At Signal 88, the typical sales cycle for an enlisted prospect is close to year, compared with 90 days for non-military franchisees.
This extended research cycle may be necessary for candidates to complete their due diligence and to save enough money to fund the endeavor. For an enlisted prospect, it’s not easy to pick up the phone and call a franchise development person or to call 20 current franchisees for validation. They need online tools—on-demand webinars, a PDF of franchisee satisfaction reports, easy-to-access educational materials—that they can look at wherever and whenever they want. If a franchise doesn’t offer these materials on their site, prospective franchisees should ask for them. As one Signal 88 franchisee told us, email may be the primary mode of communication for vets considering a franchise and the way they conduct the majority of their due diligence.
It’s important to note that, although many companies aggressively recruit veterans through discounts and other special offers, not all of them provide great opportunities for vets. Thorough due diligence—especially research into how other vets have fared in the system–is still a requirement for any prospective franchisee.
Our research on veterans in franchising falls closely in line with our research on franchising in general – the most successful franchisees don’t necessarily have direct experience in their particular industry sector. And in the case of those with military experience, they aren’t necessarily drawn to sectors or services that match their military specialties. This was certainly true of Sport Clips franchisee Chris Parker, who spent 22 years in the Air Force before becoming a franchisee. Parker and his wife Karen ended up buying a Sport Clips franchise after working with a business ownership coaching firm and researching dozens of franchise opportunities.
“It was a giant step for us because neither Karen nor I had any experience in either business or hair care. For us to do this, we needed to make sure we were comfortable enough to execute the game plan,”
Of course, many vets are drawn to hands-on concepts—such as Signal 88, Snap-on Tools, Auto Appraisal Network, and TeamLogic IT —that require skill sets similar to what they did in the military. The military breeds a lot of younger vets that are mechanical or technical or they specialize in other areas that require hands-on “hard skills.” Many of these veterans would not be attracted to a retail or food franchise because of the skills required to run those businesses. When it comes to our Top Franchises for Veterans, the top companies on our list are split across several franchise sectors: Advertising &
Sales (1 company), Automotive (6 companies), Business Services (4 companies), Child Services (2 companies), Cleaning & Maintenance (12 companies), Finance & Tax (5 companies), Fitness (2 companies), Food & Beverage (15 companies), Health & Beauty (2 companies), Home Services (8 companies), Pet Services (1 company), Real Estate (4 companies), Retail (4 companies), Senior Care (6 companies), Services (21 companies), and Sports & Recreation (2 companies), Technology (2 companies), and Travel (3 companies).
Our research on investment levels most popular with veteran franchisees once again falls in line with trends across all of franchising. Veteran franchisees, like their non-veteran colleagues, are drawn to a wide range of investment opportunities. Franchise Business Review’s 2012 Top 100 list includes a diverse group of investments, starting as low as $5,675 for a Sit Means Sit dog-training franchise and exceeding $4 million a food concept like Quaker Steak and Lube.
In our recent survey of close to 3,500 military trained franchisees, we found ten brands that especially stand out when it comes to franchisee satisfaction: Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning, CertaPro Painters, Sotheby’s International Realty, American Poolplayers Association, Cruise Planners, Home Instead
Senior Care, FASTSIGNS, TeamLogic IT, Miracle Method Surface Refinishing, and Jan-Pro. Not surprisingly, many of these names are the same brands that top our annual list of Top Franchises for all of franchising. It makes sense that brands focused on overall franchisee satisfaction would also have high satisfaction among franchisees who are veterans.
Hundreds of franchise brands offer special discounts and incentives to prospective franchisees with military experience, making it an excellent time for veterans to consider a franchise opportunity. Franchise brands recognize the significant strengths and related skills that veterans can bring to a
business—especially a franchising business, which is built around systems, teamwork, and following a step-by-step protocol. Franchisees with military experience aren’t necessarily guaranteed success, but they may have more characteristics for success than non-veterans. From the perspective of a potential franchisee, veteran or not, it’s always important to carefully research a particular brand before investing. Even though a number of franchise brands offer special incentives to franchisees with military experience, these brands should still be thoroughly vetted to ensure a good fit. Prospective franchisees (especially those stationed abroad) should ask franchisors for online company materials and financials,
franchisee satisfaction reports, webinars, and anything else you need to make the research process easier from afar. Perhaps most importantly, you should contact existing franchisees who are veterans to get the true picture of how well the system supports vets.
Top 100 Franchises for VETERANS
Advertising & Sales
Auto Appraisal Network
Christian Brothers Automotive
Color Glo International
Business Serv ices
The Goddard School
Cleaning & Maintenance
Aire-Master of America
Anago Cleaning Systems (Master Franchisors)
DKI (Disaster Kleenup International)
Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning
Jan-Pro (Master Franchisors)
Martinizing Dry Cleaning
Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning
Finance & Tax
Liberty Tax Service
Murphy Business & Financial
Padgett Business Services
Tax Centers of America
Brickhouse Cardio Club
Food & Beverage
Charley’s Grilled Subs
Checkers & Rally’s
Happy and Healthy Products
Jack in the Box
Quaker Steak & Lube
Simple Simon’s Pizza
Uno Chicago Grill
Health & Beauty
European Wax Center
ASP – America’s Swimming Pool Co.
Five Star Painting
Miracle Method Surface Refinishing
Pillar To Post
Surface Specialists Systems
Sit Means Sit
Sotheby’s International Realty
United Country Real Estate
Home Instead Senior Care
Right at Home
1-800 Water Damage
Fish Window Cleaning Services
Paul Davis Emergency Services
Paul Davis Restoration
Precision Concrete Cutting
Precision Door Service
Signal 88 Security
Truly Nolen of America
Two Men and a Truck
Big Frog Custom T-Shirts
Interstate All Battery Center
Wild Birds Unlimited
Sport s & Recreation
American Poolplayers Association
Kampgrounds of America/ KOA
Expedia Cruise Ship Centers
Molly Rowe joined FBR in 2010 to lead the company’s editorial efforts both on the research side and in marketing. In this role, she manages the publication of FBR’s many special reports; authors industry articles, blogs, and newsletters; and oversees FBR’s marketing content. A former journalist, she also handles all media outreach for the company and has greatly increased FBR’s exposure in both the mainstream media and industry publications. Prior to joining FBR, Rowe was executive editor at HCPro, a publisher of compliance, training, and management information for the healthcare industry, and a writer for HealthLeaders magazine.
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