Franchises Offer Vets Tools for Job Creation
Will Kosnitch was a sergeant in the U.S. Army with three tours of Iraq under his belt, a specialty as a Black Hawk mechanic, and a plan to make the military his career.
Until a bad back got in the way.
With a medical discharge in the works, Kosnitch, 35, was panicked at the prospect of looking for a job.
“I had been in Army almost 12 years; it’s hard to know anything else,” he told CNBC.com. “At first I thought I’d look for jobs working on aircraft, something I have experience in.”
Kosnitch considered opening a bar or restaurant. “I wanted to be my own boss. I had worked hard in the Army, moving from private to sergeant; I didn’t want to go back to the bottom rung on the ladder.”
Then he saw an ad for Snap-on Tools, the Kenosha, Wis., company that operates 4,200 franchises worldwide — and suddenly it all came together.
“We used Snap-on in the Army, so I knew Snap-on’s reputation in the field,” he said. “And before the Army, I was an auto mechanic. Then I saw the deal they were giving veterans, and it was a no-brainer.”
The total investment necessary to begin operation of a Snap-on standard franchise will range from $146,783 to $295,796, including inventory, according to Snap-on. The Veterans Discount provides a $20,000 discount on the initial inventory.
Kosnitch was released from the Army last July. By October, he was in his wife’s hometown of Clarksville, Tenn., driving a truck full of Snap-on tools and introducing himself to customers on his route.
Snap-on Tools is one of several franchises that have been offering financial discounts and special training for veterans who are looking to transition back to civilian life.
“The franchise industry has committed to hire as employees, and recruit as owners 75,000 veterans and their spouses by 2014," said Matthew Haller, senior director of communications for the International Franchise Association.
Since January 2011, 2,007 veterans have been brought into franchises across 43 companies in its VetFran Enduring Opportunity initiative, among them Bach to Rocks, a music education program; The UPS Store; Meineke; and Sportsclips, a hair-cutting salon.
Snap-on has a secret weapon in its recruiting arsenal: Jon Rucker, a retired Air Force veteran who, as regional director of recruiting in the Atlanta area, knows a thing or two about selling a business.
As the military program manager for Snap-on, Rucker is dedicated to finding the men and women who are passionate about the product. While the common refrain about veterans is that they are a good fit for franchises because they are trained to follow a system of rules, it goes beyond that for Snap-on, said Rucker.
“There’s something inherently cool about tools,” said Rucker. “And in the military, if someone worked on a tank in the middle of the desert, it was quite possible they were using a Snap-on tool. Our world knows Snap-on.”