A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were driving back from an airshow and we stopped to get lunch. The place we stopped at was packed, but we still got great, polite, efficient service. And, of course, the food was delicious. My husband made an off-hand comment about how, if you wanted to own a franchise, that place would be the one to buy. Well, we’re not in the market for a franchise, but if you are, you need to check out VetFran.
VetFran is a program developed and run by the International Franchise Association, which helps provide veterans the tools they need to become a franchise owner. It was featured on the “Vetrepreneurship Roundup: 100 Great Sites for Military Veteran Businesspeople” list just released by Military Online Colleges (if you haven’t seen the list and you’re interested in business, you need to check it out) and it’s not hard to see why. Looking at their site, VetFran has put together a massive amount of information which will demystify the franchise buying process for veterans and, if they decide to become franchise owners, help them be successful.
Let’s take a look at some of the things VetFran offers:
– VetFran Toolkit: The toolkit, which can be accessed for free by providing your name, e-mail, and branch of service, contains a free online “Franchise Basics” course, videos on topics such as franchise law and franchise financing, a “fundability” app to help you determine how you appear to lenders, a personality test to help you determine which kind of franchise suits you, and access to a mentor network.
– VetFran Directory: This is a list of the 580+ companies, everything from sernior care to tattooing, that participate in the VetFran program. You can click on each company and see such information as: what is required to get started, initial fees and total investment cost, how many veterans own franchise sites for that company, and what the company will help you with as a new franchisee (such as site selection, design, and training). You can also see what kind of incentive each company gives to veterans. I clicked through a few to get an idea of what the incentives look like and here are a few examples:
- Liberty Tax Service: Veterans are offered special financing.
- Massage Envy: Veterans get $5,000 off initial franchise fee and $3,000 off the fee for any additional franchise sites.
- Cold Stone Creamery: Honorably discharged veterans receive a 50% discount off franchise fees.
- Jiffy Lube International, Inc.: Initial franchise fee is waived for veterans. (This one has some particular details about royalties and real estate costs that you’ll want to review.)
– International Franchise Association Resources Page: This webpage isn’t veteran specific. However, if you are thinking of going into a franchise business, I would take a look at some of the resources here. Some are free, such as the downloadable “Franchisor’s Guide to Public Relations” and the “20 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Franchising,” while others, such as the very expensive ($350) “An Introduction to the Law of Franchising,” have to be purchased. You might also take a look at IFA’s official magazine “Franchising World.” It is $50 annually for non-members, but you might be able to find it at your local library. And, based on the May 2013 issue, which specifically talks about veterans and franchising, it has a lot of useful information on topics such as which franchises are growing and where, which ones are winning awards, and key articles on individuals and franchises.
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