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 ( 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 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
AdvantaClean Systems
Always Best Care
Anago Cleaning Systems
Anytime Fitness
Batteries Plus Bulbs
Border Magic/Boulder Designs
ColorTyme Rent-To-Own
ComForcare Senior Services
Cookies By Design
Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System
Creative Colors International
Doc Popcorn
Express Employment Professionals
Fantastic Sams
Flip Flop Shops
Griswold Home Care
Happy & Healthy Products
HoneyBaked Ham Co. & Café
Hungry Howie's Pizza
Instant Imprints
Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems
Kitchen Tune-Up
Liberty Tax Service
Little Gym, The
Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting
Matco Tools
Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies
MOOYAH Burgers Fries Shakes
Mosquito Squad
Mr. Transmission
Padgett Business Services
Papa John's Pizza
Pet Supplies Plus
Pirtek USA
Renue Systems
ServiceMaster (ServiceMaster Clean, Furniture Medic, et al)
Snap-on Tools
Spherion Staffing Services
Sport Clips
TeamLogic IT
Tropical Smoothie Café
TSS Photography
Tutor Doctor
U.S. Lawns
Vanguard Cleaning Systems
Wild Birds Unlimited
WIN Home Inspection
Wings, Etc.