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V eterans in F ranchisin g S upplement april 2 0 1 4 Our Veterans in Franchising special supplement has become a regular feature of Franchising USA. To share your story in the MAY issue, please contact Jenn Dean, Business Development Manager Phone: 250-590-7116 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contents 46 Cover Story: Geared for Success Meineke Car Care Centers
Live 2B Healthy Senior Fitness
52 Franchise in Depth
Home Franchise Concepts
56 A New Collaboration for Veterans in Franchising Jim Mingey, Veterans Business Services
Mike Hansen, Property Management Inc
60 Profile Zooming Groomin速
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Geared for Success: Meineke Car Care Centers Meineke Car Care Centers, Inc. may have started as a single store offering a single product, but today the one-stopshop offers complete car care repair services that customers have come to know, love, and trust. Founded in 1971 by Sam Meineke in Houston, TX, the brand began as a muffler shop, but as the exhaust industry started to decline Meineke quickly adapted to become a complete service car repair shop. Now offering services in brakes, tune ups, diagnostics, under car repairs, tires and exhaust, as a part of the Driven Brands family Meineke has successfully built its automotive business franchise system with over 960 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Providing franchisees with market share,
national advertising, financing assistance and recession resistance, the renowned Meineke brand provides its partners with a broad range of services, hands on training, and a unique system that’s geared for business success. While the automotive industry has grown significantly since 2000 and is projected to grow through 2016, part of the reason for this trend is that consumers are holding onto their cars for longer periods of time and miles driven. This results in increased maintenance and repairs. “Auto repair is what we provide in terms of service, but Meineke is a retail oriented business and it requires sophisticated marketing to customers, as well as incredible customer service,” says Dave Schaefers, Senior Vice President of Franchise Development of Meineke. “We want to be the preferred automotive provider so we focus on growing the company through customer retention.” As over 60 percent of the business is from repeat customers, growing this base is critical to company growth. “In order to gain repeat customers franchisees need
to provide an environment where the customer trusts us,” he explains, adding, “It’s about the brand experience on a retail level.” Seeking franchisees to join the brand, Meineke is looking for individuals with a background in business, marketing and management. While automotive experience is not required, instead franchisees need to be able to manage and hire great staff. “In our business people are everything, so franchisees need to be able to evaluate and train their staff,” says Schaefers. “They need to be able to put the aces in their places, it’s critical when opening a store.” Franchisees must also be dedicated to overseeing the facility, ensuring it’s run the way the business system is documented. “Meineke is not a wallflower business where a franchisee can sit back and let things happen. They need to be active or hire management that is active within their local communities, get to know local business members and be engaged within their market.” Over the several years the company has started working with multi-unit franchise
“Working with VetFran, Meineke offers a 25 percent discount to Veterans, and to date has approved over $800,000 in discounts.” applicants, and recently sold out Phoenix, AZ with a 20-license package. “In addition to our traditional buyer, Meineke is bringing in a different level of buyer, someone who can develop an entire region. In response to this we’re offering license and royalty discounts as incentives for the right candidates to grow with the company,” explains Schaefers. The cost to purchase a Meineke location ranges between $250,000 to $275,000. This includes equipment, inventory, license fees, and working capital. Working with VetFran, Meineke offers a 25 percent discount to Veterans, and to date has approved over $800,000 in discounts. “The average discount per Veteran is $7,500, which means we have done well over 100 licenses with Veterans,” says Schaefers. A fan of signing on Veterans because of their experience in a highly structured, mission-driven system, Meineke believes this experience coincides with their ability to follow a process, which at large is what franchises are based on. “If someone follows a franchise system, they have a very good chance of being successful with their business,” explains Schaefers. A great example of a Veteran who has found success with Meineke is Tom Perez. Coming to the business after serving in the military for 14 years, Perez has followed the franchise model and is seeing incredible results. Meineke’s franchise licensing process is extensive and relies on cooperation and participation from the Meineke Leadership Team. Requiring franchise approval from the sales, real estate, financing, legal, and operations teams, as well as the President of the company, the entire process takes four to six weeks to complete. The process begins as soon as a candidate expresses interest in purchasing a franchise, at which point they are indoctrinated into the company to ensure it’s a good fit for both parties. Filling out a preliminary discovery questionnaire
including financial information, if the candidate passes the first round of approval they will then review the FDD and FTA before attending a Meineke presentation and discussion. Practicing due diligence, the candidate will next contact other franchisees to learn about their experiences with the company. Meineke also provides a very detailed and well thought out Item 19 Franchise Performance Representation. “During the process we direct candidates through company operations, marketing,
training, buying, funding, and opening,” explains Schaefers. “If all goes well the candidate will identify the market they are interested in and we’ll investigate the area using our geographical analytics. Next presenting the candidate to the company, we will review their file and determine approval.” Once all departments have agreed that the candidate is fit to run a franchise, they are then awarded a license. Once approved the entire Meineke team will know where the new franchisee hopes to grow, and how many units
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they are looking to open. Assigning an experienced Field Real Estate Representative, this individual assists with identifying approved locations based on cost, geographical location and potential impact on other stores. Meineke’s Financing Manager will also help with funding requirements and an assigned Project Coordinator will arrange signage, equipment, inventory, training and the grand opening. Attending the two and a half week training program at Meineke University approximately one month prior to opening, here franchisees learn the company’s operations from the store level to marketing, accounting, human resources, and more. Additional support is provided through Meineke’s Internet system dealer, which provides access to over 100 training courses, videos, and the operations manual. An open forum is also available for franchisees to engage with other owners, ask questions and post comments, and the operations team will be present during the franchisee’s first week of store opening. “Last year the company set records with
“Last year the company set records with licenses awarded and 2014 looks to even stronger.” licenses awarded and 2014 looks to even stronger,” says Schaefers. Identifying the top 25 markets in which Meineke would thrive, 50,000 registered vehicles are required per store. Noted in this list are Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston. Hosting “Building Our Brand Together” road shows in markets with a demand, Meineke has made these events two-part days. Dedicating the morning to presenting new prospects with a detailed presentation, the afternoon is dedicated to existing franchisees. “We invite franchisees within the market to show them where we want to expand, and give them the first opportunity at growth,” explains Schaefers. Meineke’s strategy of meeting with new and visiting existing franchisees in demanding markets has assisted in doubling the company’s sales efforts over the last two years. Setting the brand apart from its competition, Meineke is different on two levels. On the franchise side the company’s focus on transparency with where the company stands and how they plan on growing is key. On the consumer
side Meineke’s dedication to educating the consumer is the differentiating
factor for the brand. “Our ‘Drive a Little Smarter’ campaign educates customers
at the store level about why their vehicle needs to be serviced. This builds trust in the automotive space, which will
eventually create long term benefits for our franchisees,” explains Schaefers.
With 40 years of experience in an
industry that is continuing to thrive, the automotive space is a terrific area that
provides a simple-to-follow playbook that Veterans can use to leverage their skills
and succeed. “With franchising you’re not reinventing the wheel,” says Schaefers, adding, “Franchising is on a strong
rebound from the lull in 2008, and it’s in a good spot now from both an opportunity and financial perspective. Overall it’s a great time to become a franchisee.” For more information: Website: www.meinekefranchise.com
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L ive 2 B H ealthy ® Senior Fitness
Live 2 B Healthy
Looks to Veter ans “The decision process allowed for a great deal of research and planning; it allowed me to demonstrate the potential for success to myself as well as to the company.” Working with residents of all shapes and ability levels, the Live 2 B Healthy® Senior Fitness Team has witnessed miraculous social and physical benefits for elder care residents. We’re proud to bring senior fitness services to a full range of senior residential facilities, allowing them to support a healthier lifestyle for residents. Live 2 B Healthy® Senior Fitness has also taken a strong interest in supporting Veterans interested in the Senior Fitness franchise model. Interviewing Veterans who are separating from the Military, who want to give back to their communities, and who have a commitment to helping seniors, management has determined that retired Veterans could be a great fit for this low overhead, high profit margin opportunity. Not only is the franchise organization offering a great incentive to Veterans which is 10 percent off the initial franchise fee, but they have also partnered with Veterans Business Services who provides
an additional incentive to help Veterans work towards their franchise ownership dreams. Take for example, Air Force Master Sergeant Mark D. Templeton, Regional Owner for Live 2 B Healthy® Senior Fitness, Southwest Houston. Templeton believes that Live 2 B Healthy® Senior Fitness has a mission and vision that is closely aligned with his passion for senior fitness, and that with the right mindset, the franchise offers a realistic opportunity to grow a great business. “My
21 years of service experience has been very beneficial when it came to building the business from the organizational skills I learned to set up the business; to the communication skills I learned to network and market my business; and to the confidence in setting and achieving my business goals,” says Templeton. “Unlike other franchise opportunities, I was not rushed to make a decision. The decision process allowed for a great deal of research and planning; it allowed me to demonstrate the potential for success to myself as well as to the company.” Live 2 B Healthy® Senior Fitness invites all Veterans who are interested in a unique opportunity to learn more about the franchise. For more information: Website: www.veteransbusinessservices.us/ product-item/live-2-b-healthy-senior-fitness/
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H ome Fra nchise C oncepts
In-Depth with Home Franchise Concepts Retired Air Force Veteran Rob Chick is no stranger to risk. As a member of the well-respected “Wild Weasels,” Chick spent over a decade baiting enemy missile sites in order to reveal their covert locations. But when the time came to transition into the civilian workforce, Chick was apprehensive about his future and concerned about the odds of survival in a very competitive business world.
“It can be a rough road,” said Chick. “Even with their incredibly high levels of life experience and training, I’ve seen many successful men and women in uniform struggle to find the right opportunities in the civilian sector after military retirement.” Rob’s wife, Christina, spent two decades working in Air Force Intelligence as a Chinese linguist and software specialist. She too wondered how she could parlay her military career into a lifelong dream of owning a business.
“U.S. Veterans deserve a chance to experience the American Dream, and we are excited to be able to help them achieve it.” After exploring and researching franchise opportunities through VetFran, an organization that connects franchise companies to those transitioning out of the armed forces, the Chicks explored a franchise business ownership opportunity with Budget Blinds® because of its history of supporting Veterans and veteran-related causes. Budget Blinds is part of the Home Franchise Concepts family of brands and specializes in window treatments for the home. One year later, Budget Blinds franchise ownership has proven to be an ideal niche for this Veteran couple, offering a team-based environment based on proven systems and standard operating procedures familiar to most U.S. Veterans. Former military members make excellent leaders because they have experience collaborating with others to both set and achieve goals. This makes them ideal candidates for running successful franchise businesses. In addition to Budget Blinds®, Home Franchise Concepts also owns its sister company Tailored Living®, a national leader in home organization. U.S. Navy Veteran and Tailored Living franchisee, Derek Harris, experienced first-hand how easily his skills translated from the battlefield to the business field. “Tailored Living really complements the handson attitude I gained as an Engineering Laboratory Technician,” explained Harris. “I’ve been able to carry over my military work ethic into my day to day business activities, which has helped me make a successful transition to the civilian workforce.” Home Franchise Concepts has long supported Veteran related causes, garnering accolades from Military Times and Franchise Business Review throughout the years. But after hearing many similar stories from over 50 Veteran
franchisees regarding the need for greater
financial support to help former service
Franchise Concepts wanted to take on a
of its team of leaders and entrepreneurs.
assistance transitioning Vets, Home
more active role in helping Veterans and their families achieve success through
business ownership. On Veteran’s Day
2013, the company launched the Million
Dollar Franchise Event, a program that set out with both a passionate mission and an aggressive goal: to provide $1,000,000 in
members and their spouses become a part The Million Dollar Franchise Event offers significant franchise fee discounts for its Budget Blinds® (up to 40 percent) and Tailored Living® home improvement
franchises. This means military Veterans, or spouses of military Veterans, can
purchase a Budget Blinds® franchise for
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H ome Fra nchise C oncepts
“Former military members make excellent leaders because they have experience collaborating with others to both set and achieve goals.” $39,950 ($74,950 non-discounted price), or a Tailored Living® franchise for $44,950 ($49,950 non-discounted price). The program aims to make entrepreneurs of at least 30 Veterans. “The Million Dollar Franchise Event is the least we can do to support the men and women who have selflessly risked their lives to protect our freedoms,” said Chad Hallock, CEO of Home Franchise Concepts. “U.S. Veterans deserve a chance to experience the American Dream, and we are excited to be able to help them achieve it.” The program is already gaining attention in the Veteran community, recently welcoming Ohio-based Andy Birge. After a prestigious 20-year career in the United States Air Force, Birge wanted to leverage his military training and experience by starting his own business. “I was drawn to Budget Blinds for its notable reputation for providing exceptional team-based support,” he said. “Not only did they assist me financially, but the training they’ve provided so far has really boosted my confidence in being able to grow this business beyond my initial expectations.” Home Franchise Concepts provides two weeks of intensive training at its Orange, CA headquarters, giving new franchisees
the foundation to build a successful business. But the support and training does not end there. Franchisees have access to business coaches, marketing experts, and ongoing public relations to support their business’ goals and longevity. Each new franchisee receives four weeks of one-on-one business coaching, which provides all the assistance needed for them to transition from training to the running of their business. This includes setting up office systems, accounting processes, vendor accounts, and creating and implementing a local marketing plan. Business coaches also evaluate inhome consultations, helping to improve communication and identification of customer needs. Once the initial training phase is completed, Budget Blinds franchisees then have access to ongoing business coaching for extra guidance towards their long-term goals. Many of the company’s current Veteran franchisees are also taking part in a new Veteran franchise-owner mentoring program called Vets4Vets. Under the program, new Veteran franchisees are paired with existing Veteran franchise owners to help get their business off the ground. Home Franchise Concepts is proud to offer
two very different business models under one roof. Tailored Living provides whole home organization solutions, from spacesaving closet design to complete garage renovations that include the capability of installing specialty car themed accessories. With the help of their state-ofthe-art 3D design software D’Vinci, which helps customers visualize each project, the Tailored Living brand offers franchisees an exciting hands-on business, ideal for design-minded Veterans. Budget Blinds provides homeowners with window treatments and room accessories, from drapes and plantation shutters, to pillows and rugs. Requiring no inventory storage, Budget Blinds appeals to Veterans seeking a low overhead business model with the option of operating as a homebased business; according to a 2007 U.S. Census Study, this represents about 55 percent of Veteran franchise business models. The Budget Blinds franchise model is also designed to help franchisees gain more from their business’ success; franchisees pay a low monthly fixed fee instead of profit sharing based on percentage of sales. Budget Blinds was founded in 1992, and currently boasts over 850 franchises serving nearly 4,000 cities across the United States and Canada. With the help of its Million Dollar Franchise Event, the company hopes to add at least 30 new Veteran franchisees that will bring their military experience and work ethic to the team. For more information: www.BB4Vets.com www.TL4Vets.com.
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Jim Mingey, Veterans Business Services
A New “Collaboration” for Veterans in Franchising
The Advent of a Social Enterprise Franchising will now be a central activity to help drive income growth for a new social enterprise aimed at Veteran entrepreneurship. The social enterprise is called Veteranscorp.org. A distinguishing feature of a social enterprise from a typical nonprofit is that it derives its capital from earned income rather than donations. For Veteranscorp.org income will be delivered from three complementary sources: franchising transactions, entrepreneurial education courses, and small business incubation systems. These components all have leverage aspects that will help Veterans implement their franchise business plans.
To accomplish its goals, Veteranscorp.org is partnering with three Veteran businesses focused on Veteran entrepreneurship. Veteran Business Services, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOB) will lead the collaboration. VBS currently focuses facilitating the Veteran franchises but also develops custom marketing programs for franchisors. The second collaborating partner is VETtoCEO, which provides free state of the art online entrepreneurial courses. VETtoCEO is also linked to GUST, an online investment source for both Veteran entrepreneurs and Angel investors. The collaboration’s third partner is Vet-Tech, a nonprofit incubation vehicle based in the Silicon Valley, which offers Veterans a comprehensive network of advisors for any startup, including innovative franchise concepts. Veteranscorp believes the collaboration of these three entities will provide a new holistic service
model, offering multiple on and off support ramps tailored to a Veterans’ business plan. In franchising, especially concept development, being able to use multiple resources simultaneously and in a custom fashion will offer a Veteran many advantages. These will include assessing or improving franchise concept strengths; obtaining the best values and best financing in franchising for Veterans; and perfecting franchise business plans with a best-in-class free entrepreneurial training. The collaboration’s holistic goals just might turn out be greater than the sum of its partners strengths. So what is unique about the Veteranscorp collaboration? For starters the VBS lead partner has already connected the collaboration to the Veterans Opportunity Fund (VOF), a venture capital fund exclusively for Veterans that was originally proposed
“It will take a “village” approach to fill a variety of Veteran entrepreneurs’ needs, so the Veteranscorp collaboration will be nurturing an army of volunteers.” by VBS. The $30 million fund is now reviewing franchising business plans. Although VOF is a national fund, it will initially focus its attention on the Mid-Atlantic region. The Veteranscorp collaborative partners will be able to “feed” opportunities to VOF. However, the ideas and business plans will need to be ready for prime time and also meet requirements for the targeted venture returns. The next unique feature is that VETtoCEO not only offers state-of-the art entrepreneurial courses but also additional access to capital for the Veteranscorp Collaboration. VETtoCEO has an ongoing relationship with GUST, an entrepreneur and angel investor matching service. The VETtoCEO system will allow a Veteran to post their franchises business plan to GUST after completion of the VETtoCEO entrepreneurial course. The GUST system will permit special tracking for Veteran deals branded by the collaboration. VBS also works with VETtoCEO to jointly access ‘immersive technologies’ available at the Veterans Administration to transitioning Veterans. Collaborating in this manner will help transitioning Veterans accelerate their business plans in a virtual setting whether they’re stationed in the U.S. or abroad. Sometimes after initial support Veterans are left to their own devices. With the Veteranscorp model they’ll have the option to remain in the collaboration ecosystem to continue to incubate and improve as
many iterations of the Veteran’s business opportunity as he/she needs. An incubation aspect of the collaboration is provided by Vet-Tech. Although many believe that the Silicon Valley miracle can’t be duplicated, don’t tell that to Bow Rodgers at Vet-Tech, who have developed a unique Veterans initiative that was literally plugged into the famous Plug and Play incubator in Silicon Valley. Vet-Tech provides the collaboration both virtual and hands on incubation services for Veteran business ideas. Just as importantly the Vet-Tech model is replicable, immediately offers the collaboration access to Silicon Valley, and offers many professional service ‘guides’ led by young and old Veterans alike. Services and capital are of course always necessary but not necessarily paramount. Just as important is having a knowledgeable guide to help explain the applicability and timeliness of possible resources for a Veteran’s priorities. It will take a “village” approach to fill a variety of Veteran entrepreneurs’ needs, so the Veteranscorp collaboration will be nurturing an army of volunteers. If you’re a knowledgeable small businessperson who wants to get involved with the Collaboration, please visit: www. veteranscorp.org. To accomplish its mission VBS requires a steady hand who relates well to Veterans. VBS’ Founder and Managing Director, Jim Mingey, is a decorated Vietnam Veteran raised from a proud military background. An entrepreneur
for more than 35 years, Jim can relate on a personal level to the needs of the Veteran small businessperson, and possesses the practical knowledge to implement his experience in today’s market. Jim participated in the EBV Program at Purdue University, is a mentor at American Corporate Partners, developed the first approved franchise training program for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program at Veterans Administration, and was instrumental in forming the first equity fund in the United States exclusively for Veteran owned small businesses and franchises: The Veterans Opportunity Fund. Jim intends to keep on ‘advocating’ for Veterans in franchising. For further information on the Veteranscorp Collaboration and its Partners go to: www.Veteranscorp.org www.VeteransBusinessServices.us www.VETtoCEO.org www.Vet-TECH.org VOF Business Plan review requests can be sent Chris College of TEDCO Capital Partners at email@example.com
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Prop er t y M a nag ement I nc.
Property Management Inc. Recognizes Veter an Fr anchise Superstar “The great thing about PMI is that they do not tell me how to run my business, but they do provide me the support and systems that I need to ensure my success.” Property Management Inc. (PMI), an international property management franchise company, has found that the Veteran community has been a great resource for new office owners. One of those successful Veteran franchisees is Mike Hansen, PMI of Central Kentucky. After opening his doors March 1, 2013, Hansen was able to add nearly 100 doors including residential, commercial and multi-family properties to his portfolio, organize branch offices in the remote areas around Lexington, KY, and assemble a staff of property managers. “We have found that our Veteran franchisees have a great work ethic, are well disciplined and are goal oriented.
They know how to implement systems and monitor success,” said Steve Hart, PMI President. “Mike is one of our superstar franchisees and a true leader.” Hansen is an U.S. Army Veteran who retired as staff sergeant (SSG) in February 2013, after an honorable discharge due to injuries received during a combat deployment rendered in Afghanistan. These injuries left him ineligible to continue serving. “When I began researching opportunities post-military, I decided I wanted to do something in the Real Estate industry. I was not, however, interested in just buying/ selling real estate due to the economic factors,” said Hansen. “I quickly realized that I could perform professional real estate management and buy and sell if I owned my own company. After speaking with several franchisors, I decided on PMI because of their expertise in the commercial market, which is where my interest lies.” “After starting my initial operations, I quickly realized the potential after becoming more familiar with what my competitors were not able to do in the
property management industry. Being a part of the PMI family has allowed me to offer my clients and tenants services that just aren’t offered by most other companies, which makes it very easy to sell our services,” he explains. “The great thing about PMI is that they do not tell me how to run my business, but they do provide me the support and systems that I need to ensure my success. Purchasing a PMI franchise is the best professional decision that I have ever made and for the first time in many years, the thought of where I will be in the future is very exciting to me!” For more information: Website: www.propertymanagementinc. com/
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Zoomin G roomin ®
Becomes Sponsor for Pets for Vets Zoomin Groomin®, a mobile pet grooming service, decided after working with Veterans in the franchise industry that they wanted to give back in some way. With the help of Veterans Business Services, it was able to find an organization that not only relates to pets but also supports Veterans. Zoomin Groomin® was able to develop a sponsorship with Pets for Vets, which is a national organization that pair’s shelter animals to match the owner’s personality, with Veterans who have returned with emotional and physical injuries and need help transitioning back to civilian life. Professional trainers rehabilitate the pets and work with them to fit the Veteran’s
lifestyle. These rescued ‘pet companions’ help to heal the emotional wounds of brave, returning soldiers. As a sponsor for Pets for Vets, Zoomin Groomin® franchisees in proximity to local chapters will provide their services for rescued pets being placed: • Provide discounts to the trainer at a reduced rate of 50 percent off of the standard price • Provide an on-going 10 percent discount per visit for the Veteran ‘pet parent’ for the life of the pet Zoomin Groomin® and Veterans Business Services work together to provide incentives for Veterans interested in starting a franchise. Zoomin Groomin® provides 20 percent off of the franchise fee for honorable discharged Veterans and VBS provides 20 percent of the franchise placement fee to help support their ongoing business.
Zoomin Groomin® is a national franchise mobile pet grooming and pet care company providing quality mobile grooming service, a dog walking friend, or caring pet sitter. Our Zoomin Groomin® franchisees service many communities throughout the United States. Zoomin Groomin® is the select method for mobile pet grooming and home pet care services because we offer reliable, convenient, and quality services for your pet. Our mobile grooming vans come to you, allowing you and your pets to stay in the comfort of your own home. Zoomin Groomin® mobile pet grooming services provide safety and comfort for your family and pet. Rest easy knowing your pet is in the hands of our highly trained mobile pet groomers, dog walkers, or sitters. For more information: Website: www.veteransbusinessservices. us/product-item/zoomin-groomin/)
“These rescued ‘pet companions’ help to heal the emotional wounds of brave, returning soldiers.”