Franchising: Alive and Well Among Our Veteran Community

USA Today's Top 50 Franchises for Veterans in 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

By Rob Bond and Annie Barbarika

In this fourth annual survey of veterans in franchising, the news is overwhelmingly positive. First and foremost, the US is finally decreasing its role in Afghanistan, the end result being that our military forces will be completing their tour and coming home from both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The best statistics on the overall role of military veterans in franchising have been collected by the IFA. Through their VetFran Program, with over 580 participating franchisors, coupled with the White House-led Operation Enduring Opportunity, over 4,300 military veterans and spouses have become franchisees since November 2011. Additionally, franchisors have employed nearly 65,000 veterans during this same period. On April 30th, the White House announced that 290,000 veterans and military spouses have been hired or trained since the launch of the program, with VetFran contributing almost a quarter of this total.

For this year’s survey, the World Franchising Network (WorldFranchising.com) asked over 3,000 franchisors to return a questionnaire that detailed the involvement of military veterans in their programs and the “discounts” they are offered in terms of initial investment, franchise fees, and on-going royalties. Detailed profiles of 426 firms can be found on Franchises4Vets.com. From this very impressive list, we selected the 50 companies that we feel not only had the best representation in their operations (including franchised units, company-owned units, and among the ranks of senior management), but also for the individual programs that they have created to attract veterans. It is worth spending some time going to the website to investigate the various industry groupings and specific systems that interest you.

There are several companies that have over 15% veteran-owned franchised units, including:

Franchisor Franchised Units Vet-Owned Units % Vet-Owned
JAN-PRO Cleaning Systems 13,560 5,230 38.6%
WIN Home Inspection 176 60 34.1%
ColorTyme Rent-to-Own 219 55 25.1%
Advanced Maintenance 11 2 18.2%
Kitchen Tune-Up 155 28 18.1%
Mosquito Squad 125 21 16.8%
Wild Birds Unlimited 287 45 15.7%
CruiseOne 820 127 15.5%
Matco Tools 1,500 230 15.3%
Anytime Fitness 2,165 327 15.1%

It is also worth noting that two smaller franchises—not included among the Top 50 because of their size—have a great veteran participation rate.

Franchisor Franchised Units Vet-Owned Units % Vet-Owned
Star Wellness 1 1 100%
Steelhouse Fitness 2 1 50%

Offsetting these very positive strides is the reality that unemployment among veterans (those leaving active duty within the past 10 years) is 11.7%, versus an overall jobless rate of 7.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clearly, these discrepancies must be addressed.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that discounts are only one element of the due diligence process. It is critical to investigate all facets of the franchise program being offered. These include financial performance representations (Item 19 in Franchise Disclosure Documents), annual growth, outstanding lawsuits, management, etc. It is also of the utmost importance that you work with a knowledgeable professional (franchise attorney, financial advisor, or experienced broker with no vested interest in steering you) who has been through the acquisition process many times. Good luck in finding a franchise that works for you!

Top Franchises for Military Veterans

Advanced Maintenance advancedmaintenance.com
AdvantaClean Systems advantacleansystems.com
Always Best Care franchisewithalwaysbestcare.com
Anago Cleaning Systems anagousa.com
Anytime Fitness anytimefitness.com/franchise
Batteries Plus Bulbs batteriesplus.com/franchising
Bennigan's bennigans.com
Border Magic/Boulder Designs bordermagic.com
BrightStar brightstarfranchise.com
ColorTyme Rent-To-Own colortyme.com
ComForcare Senior Services comforcarefranchise.com
Cookies By Design cookiesbydesign.com
Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System coverall.com
Creative Colors International creativecolorsintl.com
CruiseOne cruiseonefranchise.com
Doc Popcorn docpopcorn.com
Enviro-Master enviro-master.com
Express Employment Professionals expressfranchising.com
Fantastic Sams fantasticsamsfranchises.com
FASTSIGNS fastsigns.com
Flip Flop Shops flipflopshops.com
Griswold Home Care griswoldhomecare.com
Happy & Healthy Products happyandhealthy.com
HoneyBaked Ham Co. & Café honeybakedfranchising.com
Hungry Howie's Pizza hungryhowies.com/franchising
Instant Imprints instantimprints.com
Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems jan-pro.com
Kitchen Tune-Up kitchentuneup.com
Liberty Tax Service libertytaxfranchise.com
Little Gym, The thelittlegymfranchise.com
Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting maacofranchise.com
Matco Tools gomatco.com
Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies mauiwowifranchise.com
MOOYAH Burgers Fries Shakes mooyah.com
Mosquito Squad mosquitosquadfranchise.com
Mr. Transmission moranindustries.com
Padgett Business Services smallbizpros.com
Papa John's Pizza papajohns.com
Pet Supplies Plus petsuppliesplus.com
Pirtek USA pirtekusa.com
Renue Systems renuesystems.com
ServiceMaster (ServiceMaster Clean, Furniture Medic, et al) ownafranchise.com
Sign-A-Rama sign-a-rama.com
Snap-on Tools snaponfranchise.com
Spherion Staffing Services spherion.com
Sport Clips sportclipsfranchise.com
TeamLogic IT teamlogicit.com
Tropical Smoothie Café tropicalsmoothiefranchise.com
TSS Photography tssphotography.com
Tutor Doctor tutordoctor.com
U.S. Lawns uslawnsfranchise.com
Vanguard Cleaning Systems vanguardcleaning.com
Wild Birds Unlimited wbu.com
WIN Home Inspection wini.com
Wings, Etc. wingsetc.com