Aspiring entrepreneurs looking for a lucrative business opportunity often consider franchising. With over 3,000 franchise systems in the United States and more being added every day, the options for investing in a franchise can seem overwhelming – especially for those who are new to the franchise world.
Veterans, in particular, have unique considerations to consider when exploring franchising options. Military members often have access to discounts, incentives, and other resources not available to the average entrepreneur. However, they are also more likely to face legal restrictions, such as the restriction that a veteran must buy a franchise directly from the franchisor, often with limited financing options.
This article seeks to answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding franchises for veterans in the United States and provide a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges available to veteran entrepreneurs.
How Do You Start a Franchise as a Veteran?
Starting a franchise as a veteran involves the same steps as starting any other franchise: researching opportunities, obtaining or gathering financing, choosing the right franchise, negotiating terms with the franchisor, completing paperwork, and establishing your business.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Programs offers special loan options for veterans. The SBA 7(a) loan offers veterans loan guaranties of up to 85% and access to very favorable loan terms. There are also multiple state-run business loan programs tailored for veterans, plus other financing options like the Capital Access Program or partnership programs through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Another option is to use the Homeowners Assistance Program, a VA program that helps veterans and people affected by base realignment and military downsizing buy, rent, retain, or adapt a home by providing assistance in the form of grants, loans, or salary supplement.
What Are the Benefits of Franchising as a Veteran?
Franchising as a veteran has a number of benefits. Many franchisors are either run by veterans or offer special discounts and incentives to veterans that other clients and prospects don’t have access to.
For example, multiple franchisors have partnered with VetFran, a program created to help veterans transition into franchise ownership. These franchises offer a discount on their initial franchise fee, waived training and travel expenses, and even offer financing and business advice.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC) designed to help veterans transitioning into business ownership. The VBOCs provide counseling, access to resources and training to help veterans launch their business.
It’s important to note that while many veterans are eligible to receive these discounts and business resources, not all veterans will qualify. Therefore, it’s important to research and understand which programs are eligible for veterans before launching a new franchise.
Are Franchises a Good Investment for Veterans?
Veterans have a range of entrepreneurial opportunities open to them, including franchising. Franchises offer the potential of high returns on investment, often with a much lower financial risk than starting any new business.
Franchising also offers veterans the opportunity to gain business experience and build a successful career without the inherent risks of running a startup. Furthermore, the franchisor should provide ongoing support and training, allowing veterans to focus on growing and managing their franchise.
Franchises are not, however, risk-free investments. As with any business, the success of a franchise depends on careful research, planning, and execution.
What Are the Best Franchises for Veterans to Invest In?
The best franchises for veterans to consider are those that offer special discounts, incentives, and other resources to veterans. A brief overview of some of the top franchises with special benefits for veterans follows:
-Cherry Blow Dry Bar: They offer discounts of up to 25% off the initial franchise fee and free training and travel expenses for veterans.
-Enviro-Master Services International: They offer up to 50% off the initial franchise fees and waived advertising expenses.
-Brightway Insurance Franchise: They offer a $10,000 discount on the initial franchise fee for veterans.
-Lifestyle Property Works: They offer up to 50% off the initial franchise fee and financing options for veteran franchisees.
-Shack Shine: Veterans receive a 50% franchise fee discount, free training, and waived travel expenses.