Restaurant chain Popeyes, for example, says it is waiving its $30,000 franchise fee and reducing for the first year its annual royalty charge from 5% to 2%. But Greg Vojnovic, vice president of development, says the company requires that veterans assemble at least $250,000 for start-up expenses and prefers some experience in restaurant management. The requirement may be part of the reason that the initiative, started 15 months ago, had not yet led to a veteran opening a franchise, Vojnovic says.
The financing requirements are less demanding for smaller operations such as the UPS Stores, which require $60,000 to $100,000 in cash, says Tim Davis, UPS Stores president.
They company offered 10 fee-free franchises to veterans late last year, filled that commitment and is offering 10 more, he says.
"The thing that the veteran really brings (is) … they know how to lead. They've developed an appreciation for quality and excellence that's really been instilled in them. That's really what franchising is about," Davis says.
Ferdinand, a member of the Air National Guard, says working with UPS reminds him very much of the military, from the international operations, to the camaraderie between store operators, to everyone wearing the same uniform.
"There's nothing better than working for yourself and making money for yourself … having something stable for my kids," says Ferdinand, who is married and the father of three.
UPS is helping him negotiate the lease in a strip mall location not far from his home, and he hopes to pull together start-up costs by borrowing against his retirement or obtaining a loan with the help of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Price, a member of the Texas Army National Guard who did a tour in Iraq from 2009 to 2010, was studying business as an undergraduate at Wayland Baptist University in Lubbock when he began researching small-business opportunities. His research led him to the WIN program.
With assistance from the Small Business Association, he acquired a $50,000 bank loan for start-up costs, including the purchase of a new GMC Terrain that will carry the WIN Home Inspection logo.
Just recently, Price passed the Texas state licensing exam for home inspection. He hopes to earn more than $100,000 a year.
"I didn't wake up (thinking), 'I really want to do home inspections,' " he said. "But I thought it was interesting. I figured I'd be pretty good at it."