How About a Franchise Career?

Franchising appeals to veterans looking for their next career. But is starting a franchise career as easy as it seems? We weigh the pros and cons.

As Art Morris prepared to retire from the Air Force after 21 years of active and reserve duty, he thought he was ready to own and run a business. So when the aircraft avionics technician came across Golf Etc. in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list, he thought he might have found a solution. After all, he was an above-average golfer.

Morris and his wife, Teressa, both 45, talked to two other Golf Etc. franchisees in California and visited stores from rival franchises Nevada Bob’s and Golf USA. The couple chose Golf Etc., plunked down $15,000 to buy a territory and sent Art off to Texas for in-store management and golf-club repair training.

After renting and rehabbing a store — taking their total investment to about $500,000 — the Morrises opened their Golf Etc. location in June 2005. It was an immediate success: Their store was the chain’s top-selling rookie, with $500,000 in gross sales the first year. “We were kind of on cloud nine,” says Art. “We had real estate agents who would drop $1,000, blue-collar guys who would drop a little.”

Starting a first business can be an alluring option for veterans struggling to find jobs in today’s slow economy. Franchising’s appeal is easy to understand: In exchange for an upfront franchise fee and a percentage of the revenue, the franchisor provides the store owner with business training, a known brand name, a system for designing and running the store, and, often, local and national advertising.

 Read more in: Part 2 – A Knack for Business

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