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In Focus howveTerAnS cAnA oID rookIev FrAnchISeBuyInG mISTAkeS BykevIn DuBoIS mthe job force. And that makesany veterans returning fromactive duty consider purchasing afranchise rather than reentering perfect sense. Many of the attributes of a good soldier translate well to owning a franchise— e.g. managing personnel, time management, decision-making under pressure, working in a structured environment, etc. But just like any newcomer looking to buy into a franchise, there are some things veterans should be aware of before purchasing a franchise. Kevin DuBois take Your time Once you do your research and find a franchise that suits you, chances randomly. That’s how you get the full story on the franchise. If a are you will want to get the deal done as quickly as possible. Big franchise rep discourages you from calling franchisees of your own mistake. You need to take your time for a decision of this magnitude. choosing, you probably should reconsider the franchise. The process should take from four to eight weeks from your first conversation with the franchise development representative to the What? You have An Attorney? time you sign the franchise contract and pay your upfront franchise You should hire a franchise attorney—not a general attorney that’s fee. If your franchise sales rep feels the need to push you into making familiar with franchise contracts--before you sign a franchise a decision faster than you’re comfortable with, that’s a red flag. contract that will lock you in for 10 years or more. A good franchise attorney can help you decipher the FDD and the franchise contract. beware of sale Prices If you having a franchise attorney is an issue with your franchise Most franchisors offer some type of veteran’s discount. Those rep, that may be a reason for concern. The contract you will sign can range from five to 20 percent off the franchise fee. Others will may or may not be negotiable, but that’s not the point. The point help with outside expenses like finance fees for consultants to find here is for you to protect yourself. The rep’s not going to. the perfect loan for you. Be a little wary of franchises that offer a With these caveats in mind, there are a number of franchise veteran’s discount and then discount the price even more. Buying opportunities out there that are well suited to veterans and their a franchise should not be about the amount of money you are saving active duty experiences. Some examples of franchises that veterans but about finding the right fit. That doesn’t mean you turn down a may be interested in include weight loss/exercise franchises, motel discount if you think it’s a business you can succeed at. Just be wary. franchises, handyman franchises, furniture repair franchises, dry cleaning franchises and lawn care franchises. stalling tactics Another thing that makes purchasing a franchise more The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is a 200-page appealing for veterans: financing. Through a voluntary program document that features important facts and figures about the called Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran), franchisor, including background information on the executive franchise companies can offer financial incentives to honorably team, contact information for current and former franchisees, discharged veterans who are purchasing franchises. These company financial information, and more (the more that you have incentives are presented by almost 200 companies that are to worry about is litigation/lawsuits). You want that document members of the International Franchise Association (IFA). Some in your hands as soon as possible. If the franchisor doesn’t want companies will even waive or reduce initial or training fees in order you to have the FDD until you meet with them face-to-face, it’s to assist the veterans in getting started. probably because they want to explain some of the things in the Owing a franchise might not be the first thought a veteran has FDD. Word of caution: read the FDD before you meet face-to-face. upon his or her return from active duty. But for the right individual, it can be a more appealing and lucrative option than returning to special Franchisee lists the daily grind of the job market. Some franchisors instruct their sales reps to hand out a list of specific franchisees that prospective franchise owners should call Kevin Dubois is the CEO of Lapels Dry Cleaning, an environmentally as part of their due diligence. That’s great! Speak to those people on friendly dry cleaner with franchise locations across the U.S. Lapels the list. Just make sure those franchisees aren’t the only ones you Dry Cleaning as one of today’s top franchise opportunities. For more call, or even meet in person. Get the FDD, and call lots of others, information, visitwww.lapelsdrycleaning.com. 24Opportunity World • November/December 2012 www.OpportunityWorld.com


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