Veterans Appreciated and Heartily Welcomed by the Franchising Community

Friday, June 20, 2014

By Rob Bond and Annie Barbarika

In this fifth annual survey of veteran participation in franchising, we have found that the impact of recruitment and retention of veterans is increasingly positive. Given the negative news surrounding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with the VA scandals, the franchising community as a whole should be extremely proud of the leadership role it has assumed and the constructive impact it has had on recent veterans. Across the board, franchisors are aggressively recruiting veterans with incentives in the areas of reduced or waived franchise fees, reduced and/or deferred royalty payments, free or heavily discounted “start-up” packages, and other enticements.

Given the difficulty of comparing companies based solely on their incentive packages, we have instead focused on the more meaningful end result. We looked at how many veterans are currently in the system, whether as a franchisee or as a manager of a company-owned unit. The accompanying chart lists 50 exceptional franchisors who have clearly seen the value of having veterans in their systems.

To find out about each company’s specific programs for the Top 50 companies listed below and other prominent franchisors actively recruiting veterans please go to and click on Franchises for Veterans from the Search tab. The International Franchise Association has also taken a strong leadership role in supporting the veteran community. Visit for a list of active members in their hugely successful VetFran program.

Although the Top 50 list considers only franchisors with over 40 operating units, there are several franchisors with less than 40 units that offer highly-competitive programs and incentives.

Franchisor % Veteran-Owned or Managed Units
Advanced Maintenance 44% of 18 Units/100% Management Vets
BlueGrace Logistics 31% of 22 Units
Engineering for Kids 50% of 10 Units
Honest-1 Auto Care 35% of 26 Units
IslandTime Treasures 40% of 10 Units/33% Management Vets

One company that exemplifies the recruitment of veterans is the Dwyer Group. They have seven concepts under their umbrella, several of which are listed in the Top 50 chart. One concept, Mr. Rooter, is also managed by Mary Kennedy Thompson as President. Mary is one of the few industry presidents who was also on active duty (8 years in the Marine Corps).

Prospective franchisees, however, should not be tempted solely by discounts and/or other incentives that are offered. Primary consideration should be given to the products and/or services provided by the franchisor, the level of initial training offered, the ongoing support of franchisees, and, most importantly, the level of satisfaction among existing franchisees. A $50,000 savings today in a marginally competitive system would be money poorly spent. Take several weeks or even months to properly evaluate multiple systems. Once you have narrowed down the list, talk with a minimum of 20 existing franchisees and assess whether or not they would recommend that a family member join the system. Ask the franchisor to specifically identify veterans in their system. Given the strong bonds among the military community, my guess is that veterans in franchising will be very candid about their level of satisfaction. A well-executed due diligence plan will provide a source of financial stability and pride. A poorly executed decision, however, will be a long-term nightmare. So, do your homework.

50 Top Franchises for Military Veterans

Company Internet
ACFN - The ATM Franchise Business
Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning
Always Best Care Senior Services
AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service
Anytime Fitness
Boulder Designs
Brickhouse Cardio Club
BrightStar Care
Caring Transitions
Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
CMIT Solutions
Color Glo International
Doc Popcorn
Driven Brands (MAACO and Meineke)
Dunkin' Donuts
FirstLight HomeCare
Fresh Coat
Furniture Medic
Griswold Home Care
The Grounds Guys
Growth Coach, The
Happy & Healthy Products
HomeTeam Inspection Service, The
Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems
Kiddie Academy
Liberty Tax Service
Little Caesars
Little Gym, The
Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees And Smoothies
Molly Maid
Mosquito Squad
Mr. Appliance Corporation
Mr. Rooter
Mr. Transmission, Milex and Alta Mere (Moran Family of Brands)
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives
Padgett Business Services
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors
ProTect Painters
Snap-on Tools
Sport Clips
Surface Specialists
Tutor Doctor
U.S. Lawns
Wild Birds Unlimited