More than 2,000 veterans have taken a path to business ownership through the International Franchise Association’s Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, known as VetFran. Matco Tools and UPS Store franchises lead the list of veteran-owned franchises.
“This Veterans Day, IFA is proud to join with all Americans by pausing to honor its military veterans," said IFA Chairman Ken Walker, chairman and CEO of Driven Brands. “In this time of economic uncertainty, IFA encourages veterans seeking the American dream of starting their own small business to consider owning a franchise business and taking advantage of the financial incentives offered by participating member companies in the VetFran program.”
The program links veterans with participating companies through its web site and offers comprehensive information designed to aid prospective small-business franchisees in investigating a franchise before purchasing. Typically, discounts off the initial franchise fee can lower up-front costs by thousands of dollars.
VetFran was created by the late Don Dwyer Sr., founder of The Dwyer Group, to honor those who have honorably served our country. Dwyer understood that the skills learned through military service translated well into owning and running a franchise business. VetFran is a voluntary effort of IFA member-companies that is designed to encourage franchise ownership by offering financial incentives to honorably discharged veterans.
VetFran was re-established following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Since then, nearly 400 IFA-member franchise systems have volunteered to offer financial incentives to help honorably discharged veterans become franchise small-business owners. The participating companies and the discounts they offer can be viewed at www.franchise.org under “Franchises for Veterans.”
VetFran receives no government funding but is officially endorsed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise, which helps promote small-business ownership for veterans and named IFA a “Champion of Veterans Enterprise” in 2003. The award-winning program was also recently tapped by the American Society of Association Executives to receive its Award of Excellence for creating an “outstanding program which has resulted in a significant benefit to American society.”
Earlier this year, IFA formed a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve to help broaden employment opportunities for reservists by including franchise ownership as a career option and funneling veteran franchise prospects toward VetFran.
Congress is also recognizing the benefits of franchise ownership for veterans. The IFA-backed Help Veterans Own Franchises Act (H.R. 2672) would increase the level of business ownership by America’s military veterans. The bill was introduced last year by Reps. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and currently has 45 co-sponsors. The legislation would provide a tax credit for franchise businesses that offer qualified veterans a discounted initial franchise fee. It also provides a tax credit to the veterans who choose to purchase a franchise and open a business in their local community. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced a companion bill (S. 3818) in the Senate earlier this year.
More veteran-owned franchises are soon to open. During the most recent survey of participating companies, IFA learned that more than 200 franchise agreements were in various stages of negotiation to acquire a franchise using the VetFran discounts.
The Top 10 Franchises Popular with Veterans are Matco Tools, The UPS Store, Sports Clips, Dunkin’ Donuts, CruiseOne, Meineke Car Care Centers, WIN Home Inspection, Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning, Mr. Handyman, Snap on Tools.