Finding a civilian job after you’ve served is often tough, but actually starting your own business can be an especially intimidating task. Luckily, there’s a solution that can reduce the financial risk and increase the opportunity for success: Franchising. If you are willing to work long hours, can follow a system, afford to buy and operate a business, are eager to manage people and are passionate about achieving success, a veteran-friendly franchise is a great choice.
Why Start a Business?
It’s been said to be a good leader, one must be a good follower. This adage rings especially true when in regards to the military and its service-members. As a young Marine, I learned the principles of leadership and management from my senior non-commissioned officers. Observing habits, memorizing routines–along with many hours of study via USMC handbooks, I eventually understood what it took to be a leader.
When it was my time to step up, quarterback the troops, I followed a script written by the Marines ages ago. And my experience is not at all unique–millions of service-persons before and after me have been imbued with these endemic qualities of leadership and management. For many in their post-military career, these characteristics are something they’d like to capitalize on. For these people, helming their own business can be an especially satisfying career move.
Veteran-Friendly Franchises: Information Resources
In addition to numerous web-based resources available to veterans seeking information regarding business ownership, the Small Business Administration operates www.sba.org. There, you’ll be able to find everything you need to know about owning and operating a small business or franchise.
From getting that first loan, to organizing a payroll, to establishing a health care program for your employees, the SBA provides an invaluable service to entrepreneurs. Recently, the Small Business Administration has announced the SBA’s Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative.
Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative
Those eligible for the Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative include veterans, service-disabled veterans, active-duty service members in the Transition Assistance Program, reservists and National Guard members and widowed spouses of the aforementioned groups.
Including covering start-up cost, the Patriot Express loan covers equipment purchases, inventory, infusion of working capital and a host of other essential expenditures required for operating a small business. Loan interest rates vary from 2.25 percent to 4.75 percent over prime, featuring some of the SBA’s lowest interest rates for business loans.
Below, you’ll find several top-rated veteran friendly franchises according to the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program. Many provide military discounts and incentives for prospective franchisees.
- Snap-on Incorporated: The leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics, equipment and service solutions for professionals. They offer honorably discharged veterans a $20,000 discount on the initial inventory purchase for their franchise.
- Liberty Tax Service: A low-cost tax preparation service. They offer a 10 percent discount on the franchise fee to military veterans.
- 7-Eleven Incorporated: The world’s largest convenience store retailer and the #1 franchise opportunity in the U.S. They provide a 10 percent discount off franchise fees for all honorably discharge veterans.
- Interim HealthCare, Incorporated: Provider of full continuum home care and healthcare for the past 45 years. They offer a 10 percent discount on franchise fees of $40,000.
- ACFN Franchised, Incorporated: The premier provider of ATMs in hotels and other travel and entertainment-based businesses since 1996. They offer $1,000 discount off franchise fee for veterans.
- CruiseOne: One of the nation’s largest cruise retailers and a part of World Travel Holdings. They offer retired and active duty military member 20% off initial franchise fees.
- GoWaiter, Incorporated: Industry leader in restaurant marketing, food delivery and catering. Franchise fees are reduced from $19,500 to $17, 500 for veterans.
- Huddle House Incorporated: For over 47 years, Huddle House has been serving communities “Any Meal, Any Time.” Veteran incentives include a reduction in initial franchise fee from $25,000 to $12,500.
- Milec Complete Auto Care: Leading franchisor in the automotive aftermarket industry. They offer a one-time discount of $5,000 off franchise fee for any veteran receiving an honorable discharge.
- U.S. Lawns: A commercial landscape management company. Honorable discharged veterans will receive 85% financing of their $29,000 franchise fee.
Ultimately, staring your own business, be it a franchise or an independent venture, takes hard work and lots of determination. Fortunately for active-duty service members and veterans, the Small Business Administration and the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program are there to assist you in achieving the success you seek.